Fast and Furious Information
We live in an age of technology, fast and furious information and constant data streams. But it does have a negative side too: Information Overload.
Too much information, hitting us from all angles, can be very stressful. You need to form a strategy to deal with it and ensure that it does not steal your valuable time and energy.
We are hit from all sides with lots of information every day in our business, often it’s difficult to keep up, but we need to, to ensure that we complete our daily tasks and run our business smoothly and effectively. We also need to be able to do this in a timely manner. Can you effectively manage all the information that hits you daily? Do you get distracted easily? Does it make you feel that you are drowning in a sea of data and irrelevant information?
So much information means that we have little or no time to reflect before acting. It can prevent us from making sound judgements or increase errors in our communication when we feel that an immediate answer is needed. As we strive to deal with the many small interruptions every day, it is possible to feel as though we are not coping (and we are possibly not).
Take your time…
The importance of reserving chunks of time for reflection every day is very important. It helps us plan our responses and workload better, rather than operate with the usual knee jerk reaction. We are often pulled into another persons’ sense of urgency with quick fire email bursts, the other person wanting an answer NOW. We do our best to respond quickly but we work against ourselves and set an unrealistic expectation for all future email response times. Coupled to the challenges of constant telephone calls, texts, blogs arriving in our inboxes, tweets, e-newsletters, social network updates and more – PHEW! No wonder we have little time to do any proper work!
To manage Information overload there needs to be a combination of focusing, filtering, and forgetting.
Focus: Take a quick look at the relentless barrage of information that pours in? Managing it may mean switching off the input. Shut down e-mail by closing browser tabs, switch of your phone calls so that they go automatically to your voice mail. Let your virtual assistant or team member know that you are in a focused working business session (with yourself) and are not to be disturbed.
Filter: Of course, turning everything off just means that your inbox will be twice as big when you switch it back on again!
You cannot read everything. The things that you need to address first are the important tasks that matter, the things you really need to make a decision on. The rest can wait. Do not get caught in the trap of reading an email and then marking it as ‘un-read’. You will handle this twice or even three times before taking action.
Forget: Our brain needs downtime to process new information input – this is a critical element of learning and thinking creatively.
Information overload needs acknowledging, addressing and planning.
Do not let the fast world that we live in, get you down or stop you from running an efficient and successful business. Make sure you put aside time to plan your business growth without distractions.
Be mindful not to keep checking your emails, constantly looking at your phone for calls or texts (put your phone in your bag or another room), only switch on your social media platforms when you are actually ready to post for your business. Become aware when your time is being hijacked (either voluntarily or by mistake)!
Learn to become disciplined, streamlined (and resistant) to Information Overload.