Did this ever happen to you? I was working on writing an article and saw a message come across my computer from a colleague. When I went to look for it in my email folder, I could not find it. Next, I went to Facebook, Facebook Messenger, LinkedIn, and Twitter and could not find the message. Where could it be? I realized there was one more place to look – in my text message! There is was….I read it and addressed it.
Thinking about this made me realize – how much information I receive every day and the various places that it comes from. It was clear to me that we are in the information age and it is causing information overload. The barrage of information coming at me is causing me to make mistakes, be less productive and to stress over my workload. I realized that I needed to do some things to change this.
In this week’s post, I would like to provide a few tips that I have started to implement to help me manage the information coming at me so I can be better organized, more productive and less stressed.
- Write things down: Writing things down that are floating round in my head allows me to clear my mind. I keep a pretty pink notebook by my side. When I think of something, I write it down. I look at my projects and add tasks that I need to compete. Each night, I review my list of things to do before I go to bed so I am prepared for the next day. Doing this lets my mind rest so I can get a good night sleep.
- Look at your tasks and prioritize them in importance. When I wake up, I take about 45 minutes to an hour to plow through the items I wrote down and address tasks that will take two minutes or less. Once this is done, I look at what is still on the list and prioritize the items I feel are most important and start to tackle them. Putting a timeline on various tasks helps me to be better organized and address issues that are most important when I am fresh.
- Spend only as much time on decisions, tasks, and activities as they are worth. Many of us spend far too much time on decisions, tasks, and activities. I have learned when setting a project up to list the things I need to begin this task. This helps me limit the time I spend on each task. Preparation is important as it allows me to know what I have to do upfront. Preparation also helps prevent interruptions once I am involved in a project.
- List similar projects together: If one of your projects is to pay bills, gather all your bills together and pay them all at once. This allows you to finish the project in an organized and timely manner. If you have a deadline to write an article, focus on that task and don’t let other projects distract you. Completing each task before you start another is a way of keeping you focused and allows you to use your mental resources efficiently.
- Don’t Multitask: Studies show that switching between tasks actually can make you feel exhausted, disoriented and anxious. In contrast, once you are engaged and focused, the central executive mode function in our brain uses less energy which allows you to be more efficient and less stressed.
- Take Break, listen to music: Excepts say that people who take a 15-minute break every couple of hours are much more efficient. Taking a break gives the brain a chance to hit the reset button in a part of the brain called the insula. So taking a break can help you recharge. Also, listening to music has been found to increase productivity and creativity. Find a channel or a CD of the music you like and put it on to see if this works for you.
- Say No. We all have to know our limits and when it is time to say NO.
What do you do to stay productive, efficient and manage information overload? Please share your tips in the comment section so we all can learn! Thanks in advance for your comments! Have a good week.