How to Handle Information Overdose

Over the past few decades, the price of information has dropped very quickly.

Book prices have dropped as eBooks have gained in popularity. Magazines are going out of business and switching to online versions with free articles. Pricey encyclopedia sets have been replaced with the free Wikipedia. Many people get their news from social media now. You don’t have to turn on the news anymore – the news will find you (whether you want it to, or not).

In one manner, this is great, since all the information you could ever want is just a Google search away. And if you can’t find it there, there is probably an expert out there who can answer your question.

But can too much information be a bad thing?

There is a term called information paralysis that suggests that if we have too much information in front of us, it affects our ability to make a decision and move on ahead. This is especially the case when you’re given conflicting advice or too many options to choose from.

So what do we do in such cases?

Know what you want

In order to find answers and solutions, it is important to know exactly what it is that you’re looking for, and to be as specific as you can. If you were looking for ways to make money for example, you would have a lot of answers to choose from. How to make money online would be a better question, but it’s still too vague. The more specific your question is, the more direct of an answer you can hope to get in return.

Avoid Distractions

Thanks to information overdose, it’s very easy to find additional information outside of what you are looking for, or receive answers to problems you don’t have, that can distract you from your main focus. Where possible, eliminate distractions like social media, and file away information from unrelated subjects, that you can consume at a different time.

Exercise Due Diligence

It’s very easy to start a blog these days, which means it’s also easy for anyone to claim to be an expert on any subject. If you’re going to take advice from someone, check the credentials and source of the advice. Also compare your situation to that of the advice given. A lot of answers to problems start with “It depends”.

Following these steps is crucial to help you manage and – more importantly – benefit from the vast amounts of information that are available to you. Use information to increase your productivity rather than paralyze it!


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