How to cope with information overload

How to cope with information overload
Dealing with information overload isn’t easy, because it requires changing the way you live and work. It takes hard work and discipline, but it can be done. Here are several things that you can do at work to break free from the shackles of information overload.
  • Alter your work routines. It’s very easy to become a victim of your routines. The insatiable need for more information is one of them.
  • Plan your day and prioritize your time. This is often an impossible goal, for many people. But it’s an important first step that can help you focus your energy on what’s most important.
  • Cut your phone time. The average worker would be shocked if he knew how much time is wasted on the phone. And a relatively small amount of time is spent on important calls. A Reuters survey said that 20 percent of all voice-mail time is spent fumbling through menus.
  • Manage e-mail. Respond only to important e-mails. Get rid of all junk e-mails. Simply respond by indicating your wish to be removed from the mailing list, and make sure you have a good spam filter.
  • Monitor your Internet time. Most of us waste hours on the Internet. It’s very easy to get lost and distracted when searching for something. Stay focused so that your Internet searches are targeted. It wouldn’t be wasting time to learn Boolean search terms. This will narrow your searches, and cut your Internet time dramatically.
  • De-clutter your desk. Regardless of where it comes from, the average worker is still drowning in paper–most of which he doesn’t need. Look around your desk and office, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you discover that a healthy percentage of the paper that’s been piling up can be trashed, and the rest can be filed for future use. Ideally, your desk should be clear. It should contain only what is pertinent to what you are working on at the moment or during the next couple of days. If you tend to let things pile up, it’s a wonderfully cleansing feeling to see only what’s important at the moment in front of you.
  • At home, try to disconnect from the office. If possible, try not to take work home. For most career builders, work becomes an obsession–and it’s often not necessary to take work home. For many compulsive overachievers, it’s hard to disconnect from the office and its routines and change your rhythms so you can focus your energy and attention on fulfilling non-work related routines.
  • Pursue a hobby, sport or interest–anything that’s not work-related.
  • Shut off your cell phone or Blackberry when you get home. If your job doesn’t demand that you be on call 24 hours a day, make it a rule to shut off your cell phone or Blackberry at a certain hour, say, 7 or 8 p.m.


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