We have already written about information hygiene. Today, we will tell you more about how to filter the most important data in the endless stream of information.
Constant reading articles about how to start a business, how to get out of your comfort zone, how to learn a foreign language or write a training program does not lead to results. The reason is being overloaded with information which prevents us from being involved in something meaningful.
The Internet is definitely one of the best inventions in the history of mankind. We should be glad that we were born at the time and in the place, which offer unlimited access to this wonderful source of information.
Sometimes, however, its power and merit are confusing. And we cannot keep the abyss of information in our mind, especially if it can be reached at any time of day or night.
Our mistake is trying to learn as much as possible despite being repeatedly urged to filter the information and rid of as many thoughts as possible. We need to ignore thousands of articles, records, stories, and courses on how to change our life.
Only if we ignore them, we will be able to focus on a few sources of information, fully understand them and apply the tips that the author gives.
As soon as we plunge into the abyss of inspiring content, our desire to do something drops to zero. We cannot process information and highlight the most important facts because there is too much garbage.
Minimalistic approach to information
We need to remind ourselves of the minimalistic approach, which assumes that a useless mass of information can be discarded in order to focus on a few things that really matter.
But it works, if the selection of information is carried out regularly and strictly.
When you try to implement this plan, it turns out that adhering to the rules without exception is quite difficult. And if you are slack for some time, it will be more difficult to return to the usual regime.
We need to plan the day and think over the strategy according to our purposes. Normally, this can be done at night, so after waking up in the morning you will always know what to do. But sometimes, at the end of the day, it turns out that the results are far from the planned ones.
One of the main reasons for this is that wherever you travel online, there will always be a few people fighting for your attention.
Imagine that you are walking on the street surrounded by ten people who watch every move of yours, analyze it and try to suggest something interesting. One person invites you to the movies and offers a ticket for a movie marathon, while another one lures you with a coupon that gives a 50% discount in a clothing store. The third person is arguing loudly that you need to lose weight and then shows a new medication for weight loss and an exercise program.
In general, there is mess around. And then there are two insurance agents who claim that they have the best prices. All other companions burden us with the flow of information as well, not being interested whether we want it or not.
This is an approximate picture of how you feel visiting most sites that insert advertising in every free corner. Roughly the same thing happens to your mailbox if you want to keep track of updates on many sites. But your time is limited.
Buy an e-book
E-books offer a huge amount of valuable things for a ridiculous price. Many exciting works can be bought for a penny, if not for free. You will have no overloaded shelves – and thousands of books in your home!
But then again, everything becomes more complicated.
The paradox of choice
What do you choose? If you have a virtually unlimited choice, it is difficult to think rationally and not to allow yourself being baffled by the number of offers. Instead of opening and reading a useful book, we may open a section of discounts and download books that need to be read later on. You can even realize how counterproductive it is, but it is very, very difficult to stop.
Here are some mistakes that will eventually lead you into a trap of information overload:
- Subscribing to more newsletters than you can read.
- Saving subscriptions to the newsletters you no longer read.
- Saving interesting content for later – in fact, “later” never comes.
- Real-time news feeds in social networks.
- Too many pages, publics and people whose news you are subscribed to.
- The lack of priorities (the inability to focus on the main things).
How to filter away unnecessary items? Ask yourself:
- What one and the most important thing can I do to accomplish all other things more easily or for them to become unnecessary?
- The point is simple: focus on one important thing, and everything else will take its place. This idea is easy to apply in many areas of life and work.
- For example, you want to know more about fitness and nutrition and discover marketing techniques that will gently draw the readers of the blog.
And this is only a small part of your plans.
It is easy to lose the right impulse, jumping from one topic to another, and fail to advance in any area. Therefore, the idea of selecting the main thing is so important.
In determining the main things, act tough and rough. Otherwise, everything will seem important and necessary. But since you are not a machine that can effortlessly analyze the data, each new change of activities will lead to an information noise.
How to benefit from the Internet
Here are five key rules that one can develop for himself/herself after numerous frustrating attempts to absorb more information than one possibly can.
Start with the main thing. Find the most important task for a week, a month or a year. This may be preparing for exams, completing the book, or achieving the aims of your training.
You will miss something. It is inevitable, it should be this way. The more you give up something, the more you manage to grow. And vice versa. The less you get rid of in your life, the more you lose and the slower your advance is. But if you are focused on one topic, the small amount of content that you distinguish in the flow of knowledge brings many benefits, and the phrase “less means more” does not require any other evidence.
Identify the sources of information. Even if you find the most important thing for you, everything can turn upside down because of the attempts to gather information from too many sources. For example, if you want to learn more about entrepreneurship, select a book about business, read it, and only then move on to the next one. Subscribing to five business mailings, buying a heap of business books, and saving hundreds of commercials on how to do business only slow you down. The feeling of being permanently busy is deceptive because being busy and being efficient are different things. You need to be efficient.
Plan your learning process. Chaos is settled where there is no plan. It’s human nature. Spend 30 minutes developing the strategy, and you will not have to spend hours searching for control points.
Try to keep only one tab open in your browser and use extensions to advantage.