There’s a lot of noise out there – no doubt about it! As a women’s business coach, I believe it’s vitally important for female entrepreneurs to learn how to prevent and manage information overload before they find themselves drowning in information.
I stumbled upon a study recently that claimed more information has been created in the past ten years than in all of human history before that. In all of human history! This is staggering to me in terms of the sheer volume – infact, I can’t even imagine it. No wonder we feel like we’re drowning.
When we’re running our own show, it’s not uncommon for the online world to be interweaved in our daily lives, particularly those of us with primarily online businesses. It’s where we do our business development and networking, it’s our office space and in the time of lockdown, it’s where we have our Friday night cocktails with the girls. As much as it can be a tool for connection, it can also be incredibly overwhelming, confusing and distracting.
There’s emails constantly pinging, Instagram notifications lighting up your phone like a Christmas tree, there’s that (dreaded!) LinkedIn sponsored messaging feature and then someone inexplicably tags you in a Facebook post, and then you suddenly have a stream of notifications that don’t even apply to you. Then there’s What’s App, text messages, phone calls, lions and tigers and bears, oh my!
So what can be the result of drowning in a sea of information? My clients tell me they feel as though they’re lacking in focus, they experience high distractibility and as everything competes for their attention they slip into Struggle Street rather than Flow Town. Things just feel tougher and less seamless.
There is another way. Yes, we live in the age of the information superhighway but we don’t have to be a slave to it. Make it a slave to you.
You’re in control of how you manage your time, so a great move is to set time limits on how you interact with information. This might look like scheduling your social media engagement time, or better yet, outsource it if possible! A client recently told her inbox to metaphorically nick off by scheduling a once a day check in, in the late afternoon before it has a chance to run her day. She added an out of office message informing people of this, as well as adding a sentence or two to her signature block and she has received nothing but positive feedback about this. In fact, she’s inspired some people who email her to do the same.
Another strategy to minimise the constant ding, ding, ding to your attention is to simply turn off notifications. Go into each app on your phone that is preset for notifications and Turn. Them. Off.
Do you really need to access emails on your phone? The potential for doubling up is omnipresent – you’re walking the dog and you’re notified of a new email, which you quickly scan only to reread it again when you get home, and then reread it again later when you’re in your inbox, and then reread it when you’re ready to respond. What a waste of time and, equally important, mental energy.
It’s no secret that multi-tasking is not the time saving, organisational hack that we were led to believe for so long. Studies have proven that the opposite is the result of multitasking. If you’re a multitasker, have a think about having a break from it- maybe not across all areas of your life, I’m not asking you to go completely cold turkey! If you’re writing a blog post, for example, use your full screen and write your full first draft without dipping in and out of the internet for ‘research.’ You can fill any gaps in your content later.
Information overwhelm is real, and it can be debilitating both personally and professionally. I have a ton of resources to support your business growth that don’t add to the overwhelm – rather they show a path through. You can find them here, or perhaps you’d prefer a discovery session with me to see how I can help you reenergise your business and life a life you love. Just reach out.
To your success…