There are some days when my head seems like it is going to explode. And, where did the time go, but I didn’t seem to accomplish much. There is just so much information out there and I feel like I need to take it all in. Where do you even begin?
Have you ever felt like this? You are not alone. After all, we are living in the information age. But, like all good things, too much can be dangerous. David Lewis of the International Stress Management Association coined the phrase “information fatigue syndrome.” The extreme amounts of data and information we are exposed to today comes with a cost, both physically and mentally. Our stress level has increased and our physical health has declined because we have become so sedentary. As a matter of fact, sitting is considered to be the new smoking.
I often find it impossible to get through all of my emails, read the news in various formats, read the blogs I follow, watch the news, get through the snail mail, post and respond to friends on social media, and I do need to get some work done. As a result, I feel guilty and stressed when I am unable to get it all done.
I have found that to make all of this more manageable, it’s all about setting priorities and creating systems or habits. The first step in the process is to decide what information is truly important. Make a list. When I did this I found things at the top of my important list that I spent too little time on, because I was spending so much time and mental energy on unimportant “stuff.” So make your list, it will be helpful.
Now its time to explore strategies and habits that may be helpful. All may not work for you, but even instituting a few can make a big difference.
- One of the first things I did was cancel my subscription to the newspaper. The cost of our local paper continued to increase and I found little or nothing in it that I couldn’t access either online or through local TV. Since I subscribed, I felt an obligation to read it even if I didn’t have the time.
- Unsubscribe to email lists. Look at the emails you receive on a regular basis. Many are from retailers where you have made a purchase or newsletters you subscribe to. Evaluate, then hit the unsubscribe link at the bottom of the email. When I did this, I unsubscribed to about half and haven’t missed them a bit. This needs to be done regularly because somehow your emails will to grow again.
- Scan through your emails and just hit delete on those you do not need to read. Do this each time you open your email before you begin to read.
- Limit your magazine subscriptions. As a family we used to subscribe to five or six different magazines. Today that number is one. If we happen to want a particular issue of a magazine for some reason, we pick it up in the store.
- Limit TV. Is there a better use of that time?
- Limit time on social media. Check your feeds twice a day, generally that is enough. If you spend more time than that you either have a lot of extra time on your hands or you are procrastinating from something else you should be doing.
- If you have an administrative assistant at work, let him or her serve as a filter for you and protect you from the unimportant.
- Just because you receive a catalog in the mail or an ad online doesn’t mean you need to look at it or read through it. Unsubscribe to them if you no longer want to receive them. This will save you time and money in the long run.
- Limit your responses to emails where possible. Be courteous, but brief. A wordy response will result in a wordy response from the recipient. Also, hitting “reply to all” encourages others to do the same and the emails never end.
- Replace bad or unwanted habits with good ones. Go for a walk instead of checking social media. Give the money you were spending on the newspaper to your favorite charity. Behavior change is easier when you don’t just eliminate a habit, but replace it with something else.
I hope you have found this helpful. The important thing is to spend your time and energy on the important things.The important thing is to spend your time and energy on the important things. ~ Vernon Delpesce Click To Tweet