Information overload refers to a situation where an individual is faced with an overwhelming amount of information that exceeds their capacity to process and manage. This phenomenon is ubiquitous in our society due the availability of large amounts of data to which we are exposed every day. Easy access to information, despite its benefits, may generate stress, anxiety, leading to difficulties in decision-making, reduced productivity, and a decrease in overall well-being. Therefore, it’s essential to establish effective strategies for organizing, filtering, and prioritizing information.
Apart from the techniques discussed elsewhere in this blog such as goal setting, effective time management, learning strategies, and self-discipline, here are four questions to ask yourself to find out whether you are a victim of information overload.
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1) Are you always on the lookout for recent information?
Explanation: If you are constantly digesting information, this could mean you are information bloated. Effective learning happens when you take the time to reflect, review, and revise. Don’t let your willingness to learn cause you to take in information excessively. As an effective learner, you aren’t passively absorbing information, but you are actively involved in your own learning.
The best answer to this question would be no.
2) In the past three months, have you taken any constructive actions with the knowledge gained? If so, what is it?
Explanation: Knowledge should always lead to action. It doesn’t have to be instrumental; any small action will do. Did you read a book about diet? You don’t have to change your diet completely, but a commitment to eat a little less sugar is a meaningful action that will improve your health.
Best answer: Yes and…
3) Do you take in information indiscriminately? Or do you carefully choose what information to consume?
Explanation: With so much information out there, it’s hard to choose which one to focus on. You need to be selective. You may not know how to manage how much information you take in, but with experience, you will learn to get information that truly matters.
Best answer: I carefully choose what kind of information I consume.
4) Based on what you have learned from the 70:20:10 framework; How would you rate yourself? Which learning aspect is dominant?
What are you going to do to prevent “information overload?”
For example: Write a summary of each book you read or an educational video you watch or help a friend each time you learn something that helped you.
I hope these four questions help you uncover whether you are consuming too much information. Please share your ideas with us in the comments section.