For all the benefits that have been gained by the advancements of technology, it also has a dark-side that can be attributed to it, information overload. The new 24/7 reality that has become prominent in our culture has had damaging effects on our health and mental well-being. Here are several techniques to help take control of information instead of letting it take control of you.
1. Organize Your Inbox
The first step for coping with information overload is to organize and classify the emails that arrive in your inbox. Many of the mail programs today allow you to filter emails into specific folders to help you stay organized. By applying rules to your inbox, you automatically move the most important messages into separate folders, making it easier to locate them when you need them.
2. Set Aside Time for Review
An efficient way to manage information overload is to schedule a block of time during your day to review all the new information you've accumulated over the previous 24 hours. Set aside 30 minutes a day to review emails, documents, and phone calls. Rather than switching between different platforms throughout the day, try to get as much of your information reviewing done in a single sitting, so you have the rest of the day to work on essential tasks.
3. Turn off Personal Distractions
While it may not be reasonable for you to turn off your email notifications while at work, it does make sense to turn off distractions from your personal life that can interrupt your workflow. Put your smartphone away while you're at your desk, so you aren't tempted to send texts or check your personal email or browse your social media sites throughout the day.
4. Stop Multitasking
A recent study found that it can take you up to 20 minutes to regain your focus after being distracted. This means you should try your hardest to avoid multitasking. Learning how to cope with information overload is more about self-control than anything else. You need to learn how to manage yourself and avoid the temptation to work on more than one task at a time.
5. Keep Track of How You Spend Your Time
Throughout the week, keep a list of the activities you’ve been doing and how much time you spend on them. When you take the time to monitor the amount of time you spend on each task you can figure out where you’re wasting time and then reorganize your day to increase your productivity.
These steps will help you cope if you are struggling with information overload. Learning to deal with the abundance of information in the world will help you clear your mind and increase your productivity.