The trick to managing information overload

Such true words when it comes to the digital media.

People have become overwhelmed by the wealth of information and the speed of communication that exists on the internet. I have come across many people who ask me how to manage the information & communication flow on the internet so that it becomes an effective use of time rather than a stressful waste of time.

I don’t think that I have all the answers by any means but here are a few principles/technologies that I use to manage/filter the information that I am expected to consume each day.

  1. I use Google Reader to keep track of the blog I like reading – This saves me time because I am not distracted by advertising and additional ‘interesting’ articles by visiting the actual website. Google Reader allows me to subscribe to blogs and consume their content without wasting time on being distracted/redirected to other content
  2. I don’t push any email or social media updates to my phone - By constantly being interrupted by email and social media alerts I find I am always in a state of urgency to reply even thought the people on the other end do not expect an immediate reply. I find mobile email user amusing when they reply to my emails telling me that they received my email and will reply later as they are in a meeting. No one actually needs to be on their email 24hrs a day. They only need to ensure that they answer all their email. There is a difference!
  3. I use a content filter - There is a dark side to the internet and I got tired of bumping into it. Yes I know I am over 18 and can consume that sort of media but I just don’t want to. Pornography and violence don’t add anything good into my life and therefore I opted in for a content filter that would warn me of “the dark side.” Keeping my internet experience more enjoyable.
  4. Unsubscribe from facebook emails - you don’t need an email every time someone tags you in a photo. When you login to Facebook again you will be notified that someone tagged/poked/emailed or posted to a message. Fit your social media life on your schedule.

If you have any other technologies or ideas on how to filter your content I would love to hear from you. (Please comment… Thanks)

  • http://www.embertonfitness.co.za Pete

    Great post Mike!

    Good point about the facebook notifications. I just went and turned them off.

    I have been constantly finding good blogs and articles that I want to read, so I bookmark them and come back to them at a later date. However, they seem to just pile up and not get read. It is too easy to become overwhelmed by the amount of quality information.

    • http://www.mikesaunders.co.za Mike Saunders

      Thanks for the comment Pete! Enjoy the new found freedom.

  • http://www.redsweetpea.co.za Eleanor

    Something I find very helpful is email filters. I apply rules, and auto-post out of my Inbox to folders for certain email addresses, and diarise a time when I will look at the contents of those folders. That way I always get to the emails, but at a date and time that I choose.

  • http://www.2010nw.co.za 2010nw.co.za

    …another great article Mike, though more could really be said about most current email systems, more especially Google’s filtering settings!

  • http://www.mikesaunders.co.za Mike Saunders

    Hi Elenor and 2010nw.co.za

    Thanks for the comments. I agree that email filters can be a great help. Thanks for adding the idea to the list.

    I think I will write a post in 2011 sometime about a few filtering ideas that people can implement.

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  • http://www.mikesaunders.co.za Mike Saunders

    Hi there

    Just wanted to connect you guys to an extension of this artile on TomorrowToday’s Blog where I also write weekly about digital technology and its impact on business.

    http://www.tomorrowtoday.co.za/2011/02/16/its-not-information-overload-its-filture-failure/

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