too muchToo much of anything is not good, information included.  Gone were the days when we went to great length to seek knowledge and information.  We simply did not have enough then so libraries have become the favourite hang-outs of geeks and knowledge- seekers. To many, “Sorry, but the book you want is still out on loan” was very disappointing news then.

How time flies! With the fast evolvement of technology in this cyber age, any information we need, or do not need, now comes to us with a light touch on a computer button. So much so that we now suffer from information glut.

Actually, the problem is not so much the thousands of information that flood the internet each day but the kinds of the information we get. After weeding out the useless and downright brainless articles, comments, blogs, etc., we are still left with a considerable amount of interesting information that we feel we have to read — and this is when the problem comes.

Too much information is paralyzing. It actually stops us from doing anything else. Collecting and hoarding information becomes an obsession and makes us feel we have to take in all the good and interesting topics or we will miss out in life. Unfortunately, when we search the internet, the worth-keeping information just keeps coming in.  We sometimes have no time to read the whole articles.  Merely seeing the interesting titles make them save them for future reading—which never comes. I know, because I am one of these information-hoarders. My 500gb- external memory is all used up with saved articles I never find time to read!

I am glad this obsession is not without solution.  Let me share them with you.

too muchSet a goal. Define what we really want to achieve in a year’s time.  For example, if our goal is to put our own website, decide who our target audience will be and what do we hope to offer them. If we choose to cater to dog lovers, all the information we should gather must only on dogs (breeds of dogs, how to care for them, about dog training, diseases and cure of dog diseases, etc).  In the course of our research, we should ignore all other information, interesting they may seem, that have nothing to do with dogs.

too muchConcentrate only on the vital information.  Following the example mentioned regarding targeting dog lovers, we may notice that this niche on dogs covers a wide range of topics.  We should choose only one or two topics to specialize on. If we plan to talk on dog diseases, let us keep only information about causes, types of diseases, cures, and prevention of these canine maladies.  We must discard others information that may concern dogs but not their diseases. This way, we prevent information overdose on dogs. We should not give in to the temptation of keeping other information for future reference. Chances are, we will never use them but in case we do,we can always start a separate search for them later on — but NOT now.

too muchPractice self-control.  Sometimes, on the course of your research, we may come across some information that is really interesting.  We may be tempted to continue reading it despite the fact it is not relevant to the particular topic we are working on. Let us not justify our indulgence by deluding ourselves that it is part of our learning experience and, therefore, helps in our personal growth — it may be so but not NOW. Giving in to the temptation once will not stop us from doing it again.  Soon, we end up straying too far from our original topic. We not only suffer from another useless information glut, but we also fail to reach our goal.

too muchTreating new information.  When we receive or come across new interesting information, we can ask ourselves:

  1. Does it have anything to do with the goal we set to achieve? If not, skip it. We do not need it. By merely reading the title, this is easy to decide on. We should not continue reading the entire article.
  2. Do we have an immediate need for the information? If we think we may use it a few months from now, skip it.  That need may never come. This will just feed our glut for information.

Information overload can be a real problem.  By sticking to the above tips I am sharing with you, I hope they can, too, may help you overcome this obsession (it really is an obsession) of hoarding information which are not really of use to you. This problem can adversely affect your productivity and overall performance. Believe me, I know because I was once an information glutton myself.