What Is Information Overload (and How You Deal With It?)

Have you ever read or taken in so much information that you suddenly feel your brain malfunctioning? It sounds hypothetical but, it actually does happen, and it has a name: information overload. What exactly is it, and how can you overcome it?

What’s Information Overload?

Information overload is when you’re exposed to an excessive amount of information, and your brain isn’t capable of processing it. Every second and moment of the day, your brain is constantly taking in and processing information—from the things you see and hear to the things you smell and feel. 

All of these things you experience are information that your brain needs to process. However, despite how incredible your brain is at processing many things at once, it has a limit. The more complex information you take in at once, the more susceptible your brain is to panicking and freezing up. 

Information overload makes it difficult for you to make decisions and can lead you to feel overwhelmed, stressed, and stuck

How to Not Become a Victim of Information Overload

How can you avoid info overload? There are a few tactics you can try. 

For starters, don’t be afraid to ignore information if you need to. No, this doesn’t mean ignoring important work mail. This means knowing how to filter out the essential information to the unnecessary one. And don’t feel guilty when you don’t consume every ounce of information!

Also, you don’t need every piece of information in order to take action. Try to picture what the worst-case scenario will be and once you see that it’s not as bad as you think, take action. 

Filtering out the information you receive is crucial. Not just mentally but also the information you may receive through your emails or messages. Create folders or filters in your email and phone to help you with this. 

Don’t feel pressured to respond or read certain information. Set them aside and read it once you’ve unwinded or at a quieter time of the day.

And one last tip. Instead of reading things word-by-word, learn how to skim, especially with the not-so-important stuff. Most of the information you receive contains key points. Pinpoint what they are and focus on those instead of every piece of content.

How to Prevent Causing Information Overload for Others

If you’re a designer of a website or other type of content, there are ways you can create your content without worrying if your users will fall victim to info overload. 

For example, even if you’ve got tons of information you want to include in your content, remember to keep it simple and relevant. Think about what you want your users or readers to know and balance out the information. Keep it straight to the point to make it easier for the reader to learn and put it into action. 

Put These Tips into Practice!

As you’ve seen, information overload is a problem and can get in the way of your performance. Yet, by following these tips, you’ll learn how to prevent it from happening and how to manage it properly. 

To continue learning about similar topics, check out the rest of our blog!

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