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.
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.
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.
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.
A nice way to fall out of the trap of consuming too much information is to schedule your information input. Don’t allow yourself to consume content on the fly. If you see an interesting article on Facebook, or stumble upon a funny looking video on YouTube, make a conscious decision to consume it. And instead of consuming it right away, put it into “tomorrow’s folder”. That way, you know that tomorrow, whatever else comes your way, you’ll have to consume these first, and then progress to what else is on the list for the following day.
This is how I started to refine my bookmarks and saves, and read through a boatload of content, without distracting myself with viral pieces. And it is how I want my readers to consume my content, if they can practice discipline when it comes to content consumption. Judge the content with a simple question – if tomorrow this is the only thing that I can read, will it be worthwhile? If yes, it goes on the waiting list.
And then, once tomorrow comes, make sure to read carefully and read through. One example is my lengthy article on the Hard boiled egg diet – people obviously find it online via social shares and come to have a glance. The frustrating thing is that nobody spends more than a couple of minutes on the page. I don’t mind, but the article is several thousand words long. Therefore, I get a ton of questions in the comment section below, even though most of them are answered in the body of the article.
Now imagine someone who strives to lose weight, and dismisses this diet because he doesn’t have enough of an attention span to read through a well-researched article. Most of his reading time for the day was spent from one rabbit hole to another, clicking though feeds on Twitter and Facebook.
Question the source of the information
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.
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