Too Much Information – Its Impact On Our Lives and How To Deal With it

Often times we are under the false impression that consuming more information on daily basis would indeed improve our quality of life, change its course, make a profound difference.

Too much information cannot hinder improvement in any way, right? It only encourages it.

how to deal with too much information

Being under this erroneous impression the bigger part of my life, I find it hard to answer this question, but now giving it a second thought, that’s a no.

And while you are for sure not perpetrating a crime trying to digest more and more information by the day, the thing is that you are unknowingly sabotaging your improvement to an extent.

Ever felt the frustration from all the clutter that you, yourself, deliberately made?

Ever felt like there is probably a gap in your consciousness, because the scale is unbalanced between the too much information that you swallow, and the less efficient actions that you make?

Then probably it’s time to think about how much information is too much information, and limit your intake with the intention to improve yourself, while still being able to preserve sanity.

This is something I read recently that certainly change my way of consuming imformation, it’s a useful resource for individuals and also for organizations:

What forces us to consume too much information?

Curiosity may be the first guess. And we are not that far off with that one.

The pursuit for perfection and the acceptance and approval seeking syndrome may also play a part in a way.

When you think about it we are driven by the hunger for knowledge, the hunger for learning something new (the most of us, I like to think), hence trying to desperately know everything and stay on top of things. Then it becomes a habit, an addiction even, where we try to satisfy our hunger by roaming throughout the woods of information that are available out there.

But there is another thing that I believe is responsible for this type of behavior.

too much information

You see, we are creatures of comfort, and as such we tend to delegate things quite a bit. So what I believe is that our subconscious is desperately struggling to hinder change or action by trying to preserve the status quo.

And in this self-preserving manner, it dictates us to delegate as much as we can, reading and listening one information after another, while not taking a single step forward.

This reflects on our mind in the way that we are less action oriented, and more willing to go through countless of hours just browsing for the next “awesome” information that comes along the way.

What is my suggestion and what I personally try in order to distance myself from the clutter, while being productive and trying to stay sane?

Prioritize, prioritize, prioritize.

It’s that simple when you think about it.

Truing to be everywhere all the time, and trying to meet perfection in anything we can think off, is probably what makes us reach for more information.

Try directing yourself in a way, by having a firm clue of what are the most important things in your life, as well as your biggest aspirations.

After that you are on a great way to refine your sources, choose your mental rations more carefully.

Question the source of the information

too much information-2

After limiting yourself only to the best and most authoritative sources out there, you will for sure close all the other tabs, and reduce the RSS feeds, if you will.

This will embed so much into your behavior, that you will even be compelled to an extent from allowing all the questionable information you come across to resonate within your conscious mind.

Thinking about which information to reduce will soon become yesterday’s news, as this becomes a second nature.

Try to act rather than learn

Learning is great, now don’t get me wrong, but it is worthless without implementing the knowledge gained.

For example people read about losing weight constantly, when they can achieve the results with only implementing a part of what they already know.

They know the basics but never tried them. So instead of testing as they go along, they try learning some perfect approach and formula.

Now I’m not here to tell you that such a thing doesn’t exist, but I will only say that by trying to learn all there is to know we are for sure losing precious time; time in which we could have achieved a lot. When I think about it, even a little is Ok too, when compared to nothing at all.

So what can you do even today?

For starters, definitely try and think about all the e-mails in your inbox that are still unread. Go and instantly unsubscribe and delete them.

Also delete a bigger part of your bookmarks that have been there for some time. If you never had the time to read them by now, chances are that you probably never will.

Delete even this site from your RSS feeds if you have to.

Try limiting yourself from too much information today and that type of behavior will spread like wildfire forming a habit that is there to last.

Stop reading for a while, and try implementing some of the things you already know, but never dared. Take baby steps rather than waiting for the grand plan to take place. Because chances are you will never know everything, or even then you will still do the same – look for something new and better.

Don’t be afraid to do for once, and try learning from personal experience. You will be surprised how much there is to learn. Once you stop consuming too much information, you will have a better view on the place where there was clutter before.

Image credit: FreeDigitalPhotos.net

6 opinions already. What's yours?

  1. Romy Singh

    Hello Slavko,

    I think information impact on our life in a positive way.

    The hunger of information can never be feed completely. We always have some room for more information. But the real problem is continuity. If you keep reading for hours and hours then you will feel like lazy or it’s boring, but if you read any thing or learn anything by taking breaks then it can be enjoying game as well as the changing factor to make you more successful.

    And as you said having information or knowing anything is good but implementing what you learned, what you know is more important. :) So, Take action.

    BTW, Awesome post. I loved it. And for me information can never be too much..

    Thanks. :)

    Reply
    • Slavko Desik

      Thanks Romy for dropping by and leaving a comment.
      Your view of braking information intake into chunks in order to process it better while implementing bit by bit is almost as same as mine. And yes my friend, knowledge never seams to be enough for some of us :)
      It’s as you said an enjoying game.

      Reply
  2. Stephen Guise

    Great message here, Slavko.

    This is something that used to hold me back big time! In Tim Ferriss’s book, The Four Hour Work Week, he recommends that you not consume ANY information. It’s a pretty radical suggestion, but if you have a business and goals that don’t require information, then it makes sense on that level. The big thing I have against it is that it is always helpful to consume quality information that directly benefits what you do. I’m a personal development blogger, so reading self-help books gives me new ideas.

    The biggest improvement I saw was when I limited my Facebook time. Facebook is exactly the type of information we need to avoid! It is 95% worthless.

    Cheers,
    Stephen

    Reply
  3. Slavko Desik

    I’m with you on that claim that there is a line which when crossed you are being radical. Quality information is always a hard thing to define. We can bend our criteria constantly, and still end up consuming more than we need. That’s why I recommend authoritative sources. Or at least someone who have been there longer than others.
    The Facebook thing is definitely a killer. As you said we are getting the most useless information there. It all depends on the circle of people connected with you, but even though it is consuming a big portion of your time.

    If you know that one: “Great people talk about ideas, ordinary people talk about places and events, and small people talk about other people”, you will for sure know what Facebook is doing to us.

    Btw I’m very glad to see your comment here :)

    Reply
  4. David Mariano

    Slavko – very well said. I’m curious, have you found any stats or studies on this topic? I’m trying to write a similar article and haven’t been able to find much quickly. I’m just curious if there was a benchmark study that says “taking in information for more than x minutes in a row makes people crazy” … just as an example. Thanks!

    Dave

    Reply
    • Slavko Desik

      Hi Dave,
      I cannot come up with any right now, though I’ll write you back if I do.
      I’ve started to read a lot about psychology lately, and you can definitely talk about retroactive inhibition, which is decreased ability to recall previously learned information, caused by the learning of new information. There are many variables here, usually in the lines of similar information, time frame in which the new information arrived, things like how sleep can help you avoid this etc.

      Reply

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