Spouse, parent, employee, business owner, entrepreneur, friend, volunteer. How many roles do you play? And how much information comes along with each of those roles?
Alerts, news articles, checklists, emails, junk mail, bills, phone calls, text messages, meeting invites, fliers, forms…all of it “must do now!” and “read immediately!”
We live in a day and age of ever expanding information flooding into our lives from every direction. It’s an overload on the best of days and beyond daunting on the worst of days. FOMO is a real thing.
What if there were steps we could take to defeat information overload?
We can’t stop the flood, but we can take preventative measures to reduce our mental load, give information a place to go and decrease stress.
How to defeat information overload and reduce stress
1. Reduce the amount of information coming in
- Unsubscribe from email lists liberally.
- Add yourself to do not call lists.
- Remove yourself from physical mailing lists.
- Think about whether you really need to attend that meeting you were invited to.
2. Know when to admit defeat and start over
- Triage your email.
- Triage your digital files.
- Triage your desk and office. Do a clean sweep of paper and other clutter. Quickly put away or purge.
3. Have a clear system for information that does come in
- Organize your desk and your office.
- Set up a system to keep your email organized.
- Set up a system to keep your digital files organized.
4. Automate, automate, automate
What are you still doing manually that can be automated? There are social media schedulers, budgeting apps (my favorite), online bill pay, automatic email sorting rules, and more.
For what you can’t automate, what can you delegate to another human? What are you doing that someone else could or should be doing? What can you assign to someone else or hire to be done for you?
RELATED: Do you really need to do that?
6. Stop doing things
In addition to delegation, what are you doing that simply doesn’t need to be done? There’s an adage that the amount of work will always expand to the number of hands available to do the work. One of the reasons companies restructure and reorganize is often to identify work being done that isn’t critical. Maybe it was critical at one point, and the business has shifted. Maybe there was always a better way to do the work, but there wasn’t a compelling reason to change the status quo.
RELATED: How hard is it for you to say no?
Unless you move to the middle of nowhere and become a hermit, you won’t ever fully stem the tide of information. I haven’t. What I have learned is to use these techniques to make the inflow manageable. You can too. Pick one way to reduce information overload and get started today. When you’ve made progress, move on to the next. You can live a calmer, peaceful life!
To make it easier to defeat information overload, you can now download a PDF checklist to print, review, and come back anytime you need a refresher. Enter your email address below and get started now!