Have you ever gone on the internet to do some research on a travel destination and looked up – hours later, hair disheveled, still in your pajamas – realizing you haven’t really found out anything relevant about your trip?
Information overload was the topic at a recent workshop by organizing expert Judith Kolberg, author of Organizing in the Era of Endless.
Judith pointed out that external limits have changed. It used to be that getting information meant that you had to go to a library or business during their operating hours. Or you had to call friends on the phone during socially acceptable hours.
With 24/7 access to the internet, email and texting the external boundaries to socializing and information exchange have largely disappeared. Wikipedia even has an extensive entry about information overload.
More than ever it’s up to each person to set his or her own boundaries to prevent information overload. Here are some of tips from Judith:
- Make your search well rounded and then STOP. This might include:
- Talk to 3 or 4 friends in-the-know
- Refer to three authoritative blogs or podcasts
- Watch a few choice YouTube videos
- Conduct a time-limited internet search
- Set a time limit for your research and spend time in proportion to the importance of the research project you’re on.
- Use alarms to remind yourself of your limits.
- Learn how to search more efficiently. Go to http://www.google.com/insidesearch/tipstricks/basics.html to brush up.
Remember, since there is no end to the amount of information, points of view, perspectives, arguments, “facts” and claims you can gather from others, at some point, you need to draw your own conclusion, formulate an opinion, or make a decision.