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Reducing Information Overload (Part 3 of 4 Part Series)

To continue my series on better managing your day and work, today I am focusing on information overload. I’m sure you can relate. If you missed the prior parts of this series, you can read part 1 here and part 2 here.

There’s just too much information out there! In fact, information processing accounts for half the gross national product—and most of it ends up on paper that someone has to read. You don’t have to fall prey to information overload. You just have to be more selective about the information you choose to take in. Here are five steps to becoming a picky information consumer.

Step 1: Don’t read everything that comes to you. You simply can’t absorb everything you think you need to know. Once you admit that, you’ll be better able to prioritize, delegate or ignore the information that comes your way.

Step 2: Assess your information sources. Take some time to decide which action, Web site, report or professional association information that isn’t of the highest quality.

Step 3: Scan for information. When you open a publication, look through the table of contents first. Scan for topics and article summaries. Choose only articles or reports that you need to read. Don’t waste your time on information just because it’s mildly interesting to you. Stick to what’s important.

Step 4: Use your highlighter. Once you commit to reading an article, underline any information you want to refer to later. Throw out any article or report where you haven’t highlighted any passages.

Step 5:  Be an example. If you don’t want to get bogged down by long e-mails or voice messages, keep your own short. Let others know that they should keep their information as concise as possible—and mention it to them nicely when they don’t.

Wishing you great success applying these steps this week!

Joan Burge

This blog was created from our Monday Motivators series. Monday Motivators is a weekly note offering practical ways to create a new mindset, change behaviors, develop positive relationships and thrive in the workplace with energy, effectiveness, and excellence.

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2 thoughts on “Reducing Information Overload (Part 3 of 4 Part Series)”

  1. Linda A. Orlando, CAP

    Joan,

    Thank you for sharing. I am guilty of information overload. I spend a lot of time reading books and blogs, attending classes and listening to webinars but don’t use what I learned. I am overwhelmed with all the information that I have become paralyzed and don’t know which way to turn.

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