The internet, email, and cell phones have enhanced our lives in many ways, but they have also filled our brains with more information than ever before, creating an epidemic of infobesity.
For many of us, the new tools of the information age have an addictive quality that can stress our brains and limit our success in other areas of our lives. We may not even realize that our lives are centered more on technology than participating in real life.
Whether you feel addicted or are just trying your best to keep up with the world, this mass of information coming into your brain can impact your life with:
- Indecision or poor decisions
- Tiredness or exhaustion
- Feeling scattered or overwhelmed
- Lethargy or lack of motivation
- Diminished quality of life and relationships
- Lack of participation in the real world
- Lower confidence and self-esteem
Fortunately, you do not have to go into the woods and live off the grid to reduce the impact information overload and technology have on your life. There are steps you can take now to reduce the level of infobesity you are experiencing.
Filter Information Carefully: Focus on what is important to you instead of whatever catches your interest in the moment. Choose high quality information as your brain is more challenged by inconsistencies and poorly worded material. Seek the simple, direct input your brain prefers. Avoid duplicate content by choosing one source for each thing you are interested in instead of following several.
Single Task: While many pride themselves in their ability to multi-task, when broken down multi-tasking is simply shifting back and forth between single tasks. Whenever possible, give your brain a break by focusing for longer periods on one item at a time.
Clear Clutter in Your Work Space: Even though you may not be aware of it, your brain is constantly processing information about your surroundings. Clearing your space and carefully choosing what is in your line of vision can allow your brain to process less unnecessary information and focus more fully.
Take Information Breaks: Breaks are important for both physical and mental energy. You will come back refreshed and be more effective than if you did not take a time out.
Pull the Plug: Taking an even more dramatic break from information for an hour, day, or more can refresh your mind and allow you to bring your technology use back into perspective. These quiet times are excellent opportunities to reconnect with yourself and the people you care about. You may find that your inspiration and creativity come alive again when you make room for them and when you return to the information world, you will feel clearer about how you want to use technology in your life.
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