Monday, June 8, 2015

Overeating at the Intellectual Buffet

The phrase ‘information overload’ used to imply something active. It happened as a result of searching out information and consequently consuming too much, and feeling swamped. Today, ‘information overload’ has somewhat different connotations, precisely because technology allows us to be continually connected.

We’re constantly being bombarded with emails and text messages and there’s also the added distraction of social media, websites and video. We don’t necessarily have to search for it; information just comes to us. ‘Distraction’ is somewhat of an understatement for some who find that the constant barrage of information from these different sources can be difficult to manage, particularly in the workplace.

In keeping with the concept, there’s no shortage of advice on the internet if you do a Google search for ‘information overload’. These sources will tell you how to manage it and how to take control of it for your own good. (I’m a morning person….and I was fascinated to learn I am not alone.)

Fast Company suggests making big decisions first thing in the morning, to maximize your brain’s resources (which become depleted over the course of a day that involves several small decisions). Quartz and Forbes refer to it as ‘eating the frog’, referencing Oscar-winning producer Jake Eberts. Partly it’s about making big decisions at the start of the day, and partly it’s about tackling things that you might otherwise avoid first, so they’re not hanging over you for the rest of the day.

Another common piece of advice is to self-manage. It takes discipline to deal with distractions and focus, and it starts with you. To quote former CEO of Caesars Entertainment Gary Loveman, “You have to guard against the danger of overeating at an interesting intellectual buffet.”

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