I know I have had my moments where the words are swimming around my head at a rate that feels completely out of control. My mind feels like it can no longer process any information and I need to turn it off and recharge. Sound familiar? If so, you may be suffering from information overload!
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What Is Information Overload?
Have you ever started something new – a new project, job, sport, or even a new game but it feels like your brain might explode? You’re trying to process all the new information but there is too much coming at you in not clear and concise language and the confusion elevates the stress and anxiety of tackling the newfound journey. Your mind feels like it is going to burst right out of your head!
Okay, a bit over-the-top, but this is an exaggerated symptom of information overload. Most people experience it daily from normal life due to fast access to information via the internet and a little device that might be at your fingertips from the moment you wake up to the moment you fall asleep. In fact, it is extremely common in today’s world!
Mind blown, right?
Sorry, didn’t mean to add to the information overload.
Here is an example of a scenario that caused me a few weeks on anguish:
Oh my gosh, setting my girls up for online school last year was a huge information overload! If you are in charge of teaching someone something new, please, please, please for the love of God teach them in a simple manner, do not overcomplicate and add in useless information they will never need again. We really could have done a lot better without hours upon hours of orientation that could have been replaced with a simple 30-minute walk-through video.
So, what are the symptoms, signs, effects of information overload?
Our mind is extremely powerful and can disguise a lot of things and we may not realize it is an issue until it is a lot harder to get a hold of, but don’t worry, you can do this!
Information overload can cause the following symptoms:
- Difficulty sleeping
- Making unhealthy/ poor choices
- Weight gain
- Cardiovascular issues
- And more
It is rather quite concerning when you take a deep look at what information overload does to our way of thinking. Not only can it cause physical ailments by changing sleep patterns and causing stress, but it can change the way we think about things in our day-to-day life.
Our thinking becomes influenced and we may not be able to think clearly. It can be difficult to distinguish right from wrong and we may make poor choices.
Do you ever feel like you are in a brain fog or that something you did seemed more like a dream? If you just said yes you need to help unload the information from your mind.
How to STOP information overload
There are a few things you can do to stop or at least slow down your information overload. Not every one of these ideas may work for you but if you find yourself thinking none of them will work for you, I would be inclined to say you are being resistant to wanting to try. Let your guard down a little and give one a try.
Want the tips without more information? Skip to the No More Information Overload Here section!
Tip #1 Unplug the cause of the information overload
Unplug– Sounds so simple right? But it can be hella hard! When is the last time you left your phone behind and it didn’t bother you?
Whether it be who called, texted, emailed, posted a funny tweet, beautiful image on Instagram and so on. Our phones are in our pocket and they are mini devices we turn to for everything. We trust this little tech piece to “make our lives better”
Whether it be who called, texted, emailed, posted a funny tweet, uploaded a beautiful image on Instagram and so on, our phones are in our pocket and they are mini devices we turn to for everything. We trust this little tech piece to “make our lives better.” Unfortunately, this little device is way too much information constantly at our fingertips.
If you have an iPhone you can see how many hours a day you are picking up your phone to get some more of that information. I am not sure about androids, maybe an android user can drop a comment below. Otherwise, there is an app called ScreenTime that you can download and you can even set restrictions if making the break is really hard for you.
Last year I unplugged, like hella unplugged. We had a fire in our town and lost internet, phones, and tv for weeks upon weeks, felt like it would never end. It was brutal the first few days and then it got better. Our productivity went up, our stress went down, even the kids felt the difference and we had some really great times. However, 6 weeks is a tad long to go unplugged when you run a business, haha!
Give it a try, either use the app to limit certain times of the day that you want to be undisturbed or set a limit to the time allowed. Maybe the next time you go out, leave your phone at home. Try setting some boundaries with the mobile internet that we use so very often. If you are super brave try a whole day tech-free!
BTW going social media free can do you a world of wonders, I totally understand needing your phone for emergencies, but giving a social media break can make a big impact. I once did over half a year of no Facebook!
Information overload tip #2 is to practice Mindfulness!
Mindfulness is an amazing way to help refocus our energies and unwind our minds. By living in the moment and being mindful we enable ourselves to ease stress and can easily disengage when needed. We appreciate the little things and are taking in what is happening right now.
When we do not practice mindfulness we are often looking into the future, trying to predict what will happen and missing the world around us, right here and now, in the present.
If you find yourself in an instant state of information overload you may find our steps on how to stop an anxiety attack very helpful.
Sometimes we can quickly recharge with a Mind-cation and these can be done anywhere any time. Never underestimate the power of a 15-minute mind-cation.
As we talked about earlier devices can really enable the overloading of information and distraction is incredibly easy. That is why I still prefer the good old-fashioned pen and paper planners, notebooks, journals, and trackers.
I designed a beautiful mindfulness tracker and planner that helps you stay organized and keeps you on track of how much mindfulness you are getting!
Introducing The Mindfulness Tracker & Planner
Mindfulness Tracker & Planner is a Self Care product for Personal Development. Create a Positive Mindset with this Daily Planner and tracker. This planner is filled with reminders to be grateful, to stay on task and practice self-care and acknowledge all of your hard work!
Information Overload Tip #3 Limit Multi-Tasking
I know, I know, I know. You Are busy, you have a million things to do and you need to do them all!
But Do YOU?
The answer is probably no, priorities are important here. Asking for help is essential and saying no is detrimental to your sanity.
We are all only human, and there is ony so much we can do and take on.
I get it, this one is my nemesis, I’m a do all, conquer all, perfectionist. Well, at least I was until I started working on my limiting beliefs. If this is you check out Girl, you’re moving too fast.
I had no idea all the pressures I was putting on myself were because of societal pressures I somehow let them shape my own beliefs of who I was and who I should be.
Find out if imposter syndrome is controlling you and your beliefs by looking at the 5 most common ones.
Now the reason we are focusing on multi-tasking in tip #3 for information overload is that multitasking can seem like a really good idea, and ya it can help get the most out of your time, but it can cause the brain fog to worsen, not remembering whether we completed a task and waste more time double-checking whether we did or not. We are sharing our efforts on more than one thing at a time which leads to a lack of dedication that that task may require.
That, my dear friends, is why I want you to focus on limiting the amount of multi-tasking you do.
If you feel you must multi-task some things make sure they are compatible in what part of your brain you are using so that you do not overwhelm your mind any more than you need.
For seven great burnout tips check out preventing burnout while working from home article.
No more information overload here
Normally my articles can tend to get pretty long, but the basis of the article and the advice within it is to help you from information overload so let’s end here with our three tips to preventing it and a quick overview.
Refresher on what we covered:
- Information overload is extremely common.
- Information overload can harm you physically, mentally and emotionally.
- unplugging from tech devices or limiting time can help.
- practice mindfulness and enjoy living in the moment.
- let go of imposter syndrome that has you multitasking and burning out.
I hope these tips and this article help you break free from informational overload, please remember to be patient with yourself, you have got this, take it slow.