Do you ever stop to think about how lucky you are to be alive during this period of history? We have access to all of the information we could ever want and most of it is free. But as with all good things, more isn’t necessarily better.
Information overload is something that I have always struggled with, even before the internet. I love research. When I was in school, I often found myself pulling all-nighters to finish papers because I spent all of my time researching.
As I grew older and wiser, I learned that this is how I’m wired. In a previous post I shared that I’m a C personality type within the DISC model. Information drives my decisions. This can be good and bad. Mama Says Namaste says this – “Cs can be extremely sensitive to criticism, so in an effort to avoid it, they can take perfectionism to an extreme and deal with ‘paralysis by analysis.’”
It is very easy for me to get sucked into doing research and never take action. I’ve had to learn to limit my research time and force myself to act. Over the years I’ve developed some great tactics to move past analysis paralysis.
8 Ways to Avoid Information Overload
1 – Admit That You’ll Never Know it All
Say it with me, “I’ll never know it all.” And that’s okay. Take any given subject and I assure you that someone knows more than you. On that note, you know more than someone else. The awesome thing is that we’re all connected and can help and learn from each other.
2 – Prioritize what’s Important Right Now
I want to know how to do everything better. I want to write the best book, give the best speech, grow the best tomatoes, bike the fastest mile, flip my house, travel the world, make a billion dollars, and end poverty. That’s just my short list.
My inclination is to read everything I can get my hands on in each of these categories. I’ve had to train myself to focus just on what I’m doing RIGHT NOW! It’s been a struggle, but I’ve learned to get very clear on what my priorities are so that I know where to focus.
3 – Limit Your Time
I want to read every email in my inbox. I want to read more tweets. I want to sit on my patio and read books all day long. I could do that if I wanted to but I doubt that was the reason I was put on this earth. So, I limit my time.
I plan each day the night before and decide how much time I will spend on each activity. Since it’s easy to get carried away, I often set a timer on my phone when I begin the activity. I admit that I sometimes go over by 5 minutes, but that’s better than the 5 hours it could have been.
4 – File it Away
Having a Read Later folder in my email is a life saver. It’s not forcing me to say no, it’s putting it on the back burner for later. I also do this with articles I want to reference later by using the Evernote Web Clipper. Let’s not forget all of those awesome eBooks and PDFs, like this one. I have folders on my desktop for all of my big goals and when I come across something I find useful, I file it away for tip number 2.
5 – Set Relevant and Measurable Goals
When I’m planning my day, I also set measurable goals. This helps me stay on task. I can’t spend the whole day learning how to give a TED Talk if I have three blog posts to write.
6 – Find an Accountability Partner
Find someone to share your big bold goals with and chat often about how you’re doing. For me, this person is my husband Jer. This is great for two reasons. We have all of the same goals and we’re perfect opposites. While I like to wait until I have ALL of the information to act, Jer wants to make decisions and go. It’s not always easy to be patient with the other’s tendencies, but when we’re in balance, great things happen.
If you can find room in your budget, think about hiring a coach. A good coach will be honest with you and help you achieve your goals more quickly. A coach isn’t emotionally tied to the outcome as a spouse or family member may be. Coaches are a great way to ensure you’re moving forward.
7 – Maximize Your Time
In this information age, educational content is available in all forms. You can read, watch videos, listen to audiobooks, and much more. Where can you add this information to what you’re already doing? Can you read a book during your train ride to the office? Could you watch TED Talks while on the elliptical at the gym? Have you thought about listening to podcasts while cooking and cleaning? All of these are great ways to maximize your time.
8 – Take Action
As I mentioned in the beginning, this can be difficult for me. I want to make sure that I have the right information so I can make the best decision. I have also learned that taking action is the best way to learn.
This blog is a great example. You could spend a lifetime reading everything out there about how to have the best blog. But here’s the thing, no matter how much you read, you’re
probably going to suck at first. At the end of the day, you’re not going to improve until you take action.
There you have it. Eight tried and true tips to avoid analysis paralysis. I learned the hard way so you don’t have to.
As with all of my posts, don’t be afraid to start small. All of the changes I made happened over many years. Give yourself grace and celebrate your small wins.
What tips help you avoid getting sucked down the proverbial rabbit hole?
Please share in the comments below.