Broker Check

Information Overload

April 29, 2020

It was just six weeks ago and we were planning out our second quarter. Things with the world were running along at a pretty good clip. It would all change on March 15th when our governor announced closure of all schools. Less than a week later and all non-essential businesses were closed as well.

Since that time, there has been a rush of information. Not only are we facing updates from every single business that we have ever given our email address to, but also every business wants to prepare us for all that we are facing. Information, bullet points, charts, and graphs are abundant. Add in the additional hours spent in webinars, video conferences, and on conference calls and it is hours of information being thrown at us.

Information is not a bad thing, in general. Learning all that we need to know in order to keep our businesses, families, and communities safe is a good thing. The problem comes when we start seeing the information fatigue. Have you been sitting in a webinar and suddenly it’s two hours later and you are not quite sure what you were listening to? Have you started working on a project and that notification goes off for a call that you’re scheduled to be on, but you swore you had two hours until that call.  “Time blindness” can happen when you aren’t aware of the passage of time. This can happen because you are invested in an activity and do not notice the passage of time. It can also happen when your mind and body are overwhelmed with all the information they are trying to process. Add in the stress of the unknown or a worldwide pandemic, and it is not unusual that you’d have some kind of time slipping going on.

How do you address this when there is still so much information coming out? With the current every day, every hour, news all the time world around us, it can be hard to keep on top of everything. Instead, choose what you want to stay informed on and set a specific time

Our office administrator, Kat, uses a morning news routine on her home assistant app to get the news bites of the morning. After that, she says that she won’t read the news pages unless it is with a timer running. The rabbit hole of information runs deep and fast, and too many hours can be lost tracking news story after news story. Small timed bites work better for me so that I don’t feel overwhelmed or get lost in chasing one more story during my day.

Tracking your time using timers, alarms or setting your computer or phone with do not disturb during work hours can also assist in keeping time blindness at bay. Schedule time for when you will process email. Not just read, but process it. Set a specific amount of time and sort through it. Handle email as quickly as possible. If it will take more than a minute to respond or handle an email, then schedule it to be part of your day. No more time, that is exactly your response to the email. Explain that your day is booked and list a time when you can get back to the sender.

More junk mail than you can shake a stick at? Unsubscribe! Scroll down and get those subscriptions off your page. You don’t need to be subscribed to every single email newsletter from every provider you’ve spoken with. If they have information you’re seeking, you can always visit their website.  Being mindful, present, and aware of how the information is flowing in can help to not only mind your time, but can also assist in sorting through the mass of information that is out there.

Using those external cues, clocks, alarms, timers, reminders, etc. can assist in keeping time working for you, and not against you. We certainly are not perfect at minding our time. There is always room for improvement. Times of change and stress can be overwhelming, and they can also allow for us to reassess our priorities and how we manage our resources to meet all of the demands in our day.