Information overload has become a fact of life in the business world.  You know, that feeling of being inundated with so much information that filtering through it seems impossible, making a decision from it even more so. Have you ever felt paralyzed by so much content that you don’t even know where to start?

You’re not alone. The average person spends two hours a day searching and gathering information, according to a McKinsey report. That’s a quarter of the average work day lost to an activity that isn’t contributing any real value. (It’s the analysis or our interaction with that information, not the hunting and gathering, that contributes the value).

Information overload comes from too much data. It can be physical or digital. Dealing with the separate concerns of employees, colleagues, bosses or clients who are all knocking on your door? That’s information overload. Two hundred emails, with 20 flagged urgent? Information overload.

The average person spends two hours a day searching and gathering information.

With the arrival of 2018, here are three easy resolutions for you to implement in order to prevent the side-effects caused by information overload:

  1. Build your tech stack. Harness technology to help prioritize the important data. For example, an application like ai works as data analytics assistant, utilizing artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities to filter through business data and pull out only the specific, relevant information you need. Simply type in a question and get an immediate answer. Another great tech strategy  is to use on-line content curation tools to filter your information sources to focus only on the high-quality information you need. Apps like Flipboard allow you to create your own magazine, pulling stories that fit your interests from across the web.
  2. Keep your virtual and physical spaces clutter-free. You wouldn’t return from a Costco run to an already loaded fridge and pantry, would you? The same goes for information: ensure your virtual and physical spaces are able to receive new inputs. One of the easiest ways to start to change your work space is to spend the last 10 minutes of your workday readying your desk and digital devices for the next day.Then you won’t have to start your day with yesterday’s mess. Starting out with a workspace prepared for the day ahead will have a powerful effect on your mind-set and productivity.
  3. Take the time to unplug occasionally. Edit your notification settings and stop checking your email every time you hear a ding – in fact, go even further and only open your email a few (four of five) times a day. Set aside blocks of uninterrupted time in your calendar for work, creating or thinking. According to some studies, employees spend only 12 per cent of their day in contemplative thinking and reflecting, yet this time is necessary for innovation, new ideas, and continuous improvement – building blocks for a better business. Schedule regular breaks away from your computer – this gives your brain a breather and can help you regain perspective. Plus, the quiet time can help you zero in on making better decisions both for your business and your wellbeing.

Now go forward and win that war on information overload. Your business, your health and your social relationships will be the better.

Cherine Hlady

Author Cherine Hlady

Cherine Hlady is a freelance writer, editor and communications strategist. She develops and edits content – across a variety of print and digital mediums – for clients primarily in the high tech, government and not-for-profit sectors. She lives in Calgary, Alberta with her husband and two young children.

More posts by Cherine Hlady