Idea Processing Challenge – Information Overload

By SCN Blog Contributor (c) Sylvia Henderson, Springboard Training. All rights reserved.

So much information; so little ability to process and focus on the best ideas. Do you find that you can get more information than ever, yet are overwhelmed with the amount of information you get? What do you do with it all?

You can research facts, find stories, get statistics, read news (fake or reliable), receive emergency notices, learn about people and places, study the past, and discover things you didn’t even know you needed to discover…all within minutes

using a mobile device you can carry almost anywhere. Information is available to you 24:7 and cares little whether it is 1:00am or the biggest holiday of the year.

Yet how do you focus on one idea and tune-out the input that doesn’t serve you?

“Information Overload” is a term borne of the Internet age back when the Baby Boomer generation first became inundated with technology and the access to information that technology enabled. The term means that you try unsuccessfully to deal with more information than you are able to process for making sensible decisions.

Your experience with information overload might include:

  • Receiving too many e-mails, texts, and other incoming messages;
  • Checking tweets, posts, and updates pushed to you every few minutes;
  • Reacting to frequent alerts and notifications; and
  • Researching fifteen different approaches to an idea – or analysis paralysis – without doing anything to implement the idea.

The result is that you either delay making decisions, or that you make wrong decisions.

Information overload contributes to you poorly processing ideas, not thinking critically about which ideas to focus on, and making wrong – or no – decisions that affect how – or even if – you take action on ideas. This is of concern to individual entrepreneurs as well as leaders and staff in organizations.

Data increasingly drives ideas and decisions that guide business progress. People who can synthesize the vast amounts of information at their disposal and key-in on what is important to move the organization towards its mission are ever more important. An irony is that people who overload themselves with information think they’re being productive when the REVERSE is true.

So, with this information about information overload, how do you draw the line between too much and not enough information? How do you keep from getting caught in “analysis paralysis”?

Here are three ways you can be an effective information processor and focus on your “money ideas”

  1. Be discerning with the information you take in. Evaluate your sources and limit the number of experts you choose to follow. Dig deeper to determine whether the information you base your decisions and actions on is factual, truthful, and balanced.
  2. Use tools that help you distill, visualize, and organize the information you take in. Recording, visual, and organizing tools abound based on your preference for written hard-copy or accessible-anywhere cloud-based platforms. The important thing is that you USE these tools consistently and effectively.
  3. Use the power of a group to challenge your research, conclusions, and plans of action. Idea MindTeam™ mastermind group members practice “calling you on your stuff”. They give you diverse perspectives that help you synthesize information to get clarity and focus for the ideas you intend to implement.

In the book, “Hidden Figures”, author Margo Shatterly tells of African-American women mathematicians at NASA who helped the USA rule the space race in the 1950’s and 1960’s. The 2017 Academy Award-winning movie by the same name brought their history to popular consciousness. In both we learn that these women were called computers – humans who calculated, or processed, vast amounts of mathematical data before machines took over the task.

You can use a similar computer analogy today for processing the information that you take in. In order to be clear about an idea you want to work on, synthesize the details that support your idea to narrow your focus on what you really need to make your idea a reality. Use the information you take in to focus on your implementation strategy and be accountable for transforming your ideas to action.

BONUS: Watch the video that compliments this article at https://youtu.be/41BzZHn_xjs.

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