Have you ever gone to a particular website to look for a specific bit of information and 90 minutes later realized you’re somewhere else completely? And forgot to get that piece of information? Happens to me all the time. Facebook anyone? We all need some tools to avoid information overload.
Even if you do find that specific information you can keep clicking through a billion links that tell you more and more about the subject. Eventually you’ll find all that time has gone by and you haven’t really accomplished anything. Remember, it’s the doing, not the reading that counts.
What You’ll Learn
- The #1 tip for avoiding information overload
- 3 steps to implement that #1 tip
With all the great info you can find on the net about anything you want, it’s easy to get into information overload mode. For instance, this morning I needed to build some back links to one of my guitar sites. And I wasn’t feeling super inspired by blog commenting or article marketing. So I went over to this page that I’ve had in my “to read” file for awhile.
Now that is an astounding list of link building techniques. And I love to learn. And everything caught my eye. And I read for an hour. And I accomplished nothing. Ok, well, it gave me the idea to write this post at least.
But more than anything it made me feel overwhelmed. Like “Oh man, there is way too much to do to make all this work. Time for a sandwich.”
So how can you avoid information overload? One of the best tips I heard recently on Pat Flynn’s podcast is reading and learning on a “need to know” basis. In other words, if I’m not planning on marketing through infographics anytime soon, I should completely avoid reading about how to do infographics. Seems like common sense, but we all get caught up in the mysteries that lie behind the next link.
With a page like the one Kaiserthesage presents, I should just pick one of those posts (and even just one part of a post since they’re so indepth) and concentrate on accomplishing that.
And that’s really the big trick. Pick one thing and do it. When you’ve got that down, do a new one. There’s some willpower at work there. We’re all info-junkies these days. So here’s a few ways to accomplish this.
1. Use a online bookmarking site for its original intended use. We often think of these sites and linkback machines, but they were originally intended to be used as a place where you could store things you wanted to read later and categorize them. So, do that. You can also use your browsers bookmarks function or a program like Evernote. ( I loooooove Evernote)
Tip: Don’t go searching for things to bookmark. You should only be searching for what you’re going to use right now. Bookmark things that pop up when you’re looking for something else and look like they might be useful later.
2. Turn off the news and social networking stuff. If you’re going to concentrate on a topic, that should be your focus. A few times I tried one of those apps that stays open on your desktop and feeds all your social network activity into one place. Killed my productivity in minutes. Turn all that off and focus.
Tip: When you have a specific task, set a timer for 25 minutes and do nothing but that task. When you’ve hit your 25 minutes, take a 5 minute break where you can do anything you want. Then get back to it and do another 25 minutes. Lather, rinse, and repeat until you’ve accomplished the task.
3. Avoid multi-tasking. Years ago this was all the rage, but more recently it’s been proven that multi-tasking really doesn’t work. It takes extra time for your brain to re-engage on each task. And while it might feel like you’re getting more done, it’s actually taking longer.
Tip: If you’re in the middle of a task and something else occurs to you that needs to be done, make a note of it on a to-do list and get it out of your brain. That will keep it from being distracting. I use the tools at Simpleology.com to keep me on track.
That’s it. That’s really all you need. If you found this through a search, you’ve already looked at other articles that promise 10 or more tips to avoid information overload. That in itself is too much. All that other stuff is contained in these three ideas. Now, go accomplish something.