Dealing With Information Overload
We all have times when we feel as if there is too much to do and not enough time to get it done. But, how does that explain those people who are super-productive and seem to get so much more done than the average person?
The best way to explain it is that they’ve learned how to focus on what’s most important to them at the time. They’ve taught themselves to block out all the noise that comes from the internet, social media and email that leads to confusion and overwhelm.
- Determine what’s important
When it comes to achieving any type of goal it’s important to prioritize and learn how to say no to habitual time wasters. Let’s face it there are some things that we do daily that may seem important but they don’t really propel us towards our goals. We’re all guilty of this from time to time, but if you want to be successful it’s important to determine what’s most important, so you can focus.
To help avoid this, sit down and make a list of your daily tasks. Divide that list in to two categories. What will help you reach your goal and what won’t. After you have your list prioritize the tasks according to importance. Of course, you’ll have things on your list that you must do like laundry and errands that won’t necessarily help you reach your goals, but by prioritizing the goal oriented tasks you’ll gain greater focus and clarity.
- Schedule everything
Once you know what’s important, use a good calendar to schedule everything, including leisure time. Spontaneity is nice, but we don’t always have time for it and while it may not sound romantic to schedule date night with your spouse at least it will ensure that it happens. Just make sure when you’re scheduling things to be realistic about your time, so you don’t overbook yourself.
- Say no
You probably have a lot of people, family, friends, your co-workers asking you to do all sorts of things to help them and while being kind and helpful are wonderful traits that will serve you well in life at some point there must be a line drawn. If the things they want help with are keeping you from reaching your goals and they are perfectly capable of doing them themselves then (for you) they are time wasters.
Realize that it’s OK to say no to things that just don’t align with your goals. It’s even okay if people think you’re a horrible person for saying no, but most of the time they won’t, especially if they care about you. They’ll either get used to it and find someone else to do it or better yet do it themselves.
- Turn off the TV
It’s amazing how much time TV can suck from your life, not to mention how much information it floods into your system. Talk about too much, now that we have Netflix, Amazon, and other streaming technology, anything we want to watch is available on demand. Binge watching is becoming an all too common thing and it can steal your whole day.
Try limiting your TV (show watching) time to a certain time of day. Better yet, only watch it if you can combine it with physical activity to help you stay healthy. Save the binge-watching for when you’re on vacation or sick in bed.
- Get offline
This is a tough one, because the Internet can be an important tool for business. Many of us, myself included run a full-time business online so it’s impossible to stay offline. However, we can limit the things we do online as we discussed in a previous lesson.
Start by tracking your time online. Be brutally honest with yourself and determine how much time you’re actually working and how much time you’re surfing from one website to the next or scrolling through Facebook under the guise work or research. Find out how much time you’re wasting, then set a limit.
- Automate daily tasks
With ever changing technology there are so many tasks that can be automated. The more things you can set on autopilot the more time you’ll have to focus on reaching your goals.
For example, if you’re an Amazon Prime member, you can get many household items like paper products, cleaners and even food that you use regularly auto shipped to you, which will save you a trip to the grocery store. There are also many stores that allow you to shop online like Sam’s Club and Best Buy. They will get your order ready so all you have to do is pull in for pick up. Check your local stores to see if they offer it.
- Hire help
I know what you may be thinking why hire someone to do things that I can just as easily do myself? A lot of things such as yard work, housework, and even cooking can be done by someone else. If you don’t like doing it and you can pay someone else, it will give you more time to focus on the tasks that will help you achieve your goals.
By taking the time to organize your life in a way that helps you avoid information overload it will naturally free up more time in your daily schedule. At first you may find it difficult to make the changes we have discussed in this course and there will be days when you still feel overwhelmed, but if you start with small changes and work towards eliminating excess information you’ll soon find that you’ll have more time to on focus on reaching your goals and be that much closer to achieving real success.