What To Do With Information Overload

One struggle I’ve witnessed consistently with leaders – including this one – is we drown in information overload. There are more good ideas than we can ever implement.

We are constantly fed new information we can’t effectively analyze and implement. Whether from books, podcasts, conferences or what we come up with in the shower we just don’t know what to do with all the stuff in our heads. In fact, many times we fail to accomplish as much as we could simply because we have more information than we can adequately process.

Does this sound like your world?

  • You have a million ideas
  • You have so many opportunities before you
  • You don’t lack for information
  • Your desk is covered with tiny notes or stacks of notes to yourself
  • You have various notebooks full of ideas

But,

  • You are struggling to remember things
  • You can’t keep up with all the ideas coming at you
  • You see the note again and wish you’d seen it earlier – too late now
  • You sometimes forget what the note means when you see it again
  • You fail to act more than you cease the opportunity

Here’s a quick tip:

Process the information.

Get a system now. The more organized the information – the less stress you’ll feel – and the more useful the information will be to you later.

Here are a few ideas: 

Make a checklist of information in Excel

Go “old school” with a paper folder system

Learn Evernote

Find the best iPad app for information processing

Get training in Google docs

Those are just a few suggestions. There are so many others. I am by no means an expert on which system to use. I personally use the Notes app on my phone, iPad and laptop, because it quickly syncs with iCloud and then I transfer the information (if it’s worth keeping) into a more permanent Evernote system.

It really doesn’t matter as much what system you use as long as you find something which works for you. Developing and learning a system for processing information is a key to being effective in a world of mass information.

Here’s my suggestion. If you implement it then it will be worth your time reading this post. Invest some time setting up your method of handling information. If you’re like me that’s a laborsome process. It seems so unproductive for people wired to get things done. Get some help if you need it. But, the better the system the better you’ll be as a leader. The right system to process information can dramatically improve your leadership capacity.

Don’t let information overwhelm you. Become excellent at handling large loads of information.

The better you learn to process information, the better you’ll be at making information work for you.

There are certainly people reading this post who are better wired to process information than I am.

How do you process information?

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18 thoughts on “What To Do With Information Overload

  1. Totally me. Typically post anything that can be public as what I'm thinking about on Facebook, grab paper and pen and write, or document it as a list in a spreadsheet or on a checklist. Love how you think! Can definitely be overwhelming at times too but great.
    Twitter: tijuanabecky

  2. Getting Things Done by David Allen all the way! Paper, Evernote, Moleskine, whatever you like, you get to choose the tools. Great system to handle the hundreds if not thousands of bits of input coming our way. Easy read or audio.

  3. I have a main personal journal that EVERYTHING goes into. I file that journal by month. This is in this journal! LOL! Every thought God purposefully processes is typed in this journal. I have found that God speaks through everything and everyone, so I don’t compartmentalize HIM. I try to make my life a “Constant Conversation” with God. Everything goes into this journal: Constant Conversation With God. I copy it, paste it and then process it with God. I listen and write and then I prayer process it. Lord, what can I learn from this? Holy Spirit speak to my heart? Where can I apply it? How can I share it? How do You want me to use this wisdom? Weekly, I take pieces out of this journal and put them in my online Word Press blog, this is very informal genuine writing. Monthly I glean songs, quotes, pieces to write out of this journal and file them to either share with others or write a piece for my website that God has spoken to me as an exhortation. I am constantly listening, learning, writing and sharing and it is all done with and for God. He is not compartmentalized, I am always available to His Holy Spirit to be led and taught. He is in my all, even though the information I am learning about is a temporary focus, He is an always focus. I find having a Constant Focus of HIM, levels out the mediatic mania of too much information! AWE-GOD!
    Twitter: kmac4him

  4. I struggle with information overload, but one of the things I am focusing on is trying to go deeper in limited areas instead of going wide.

    As far as collecting information and keeping me on track I have been using Action Method Online and it has worked, but this week have started using Trello and see huge benefits with that online "to-do" action system.

    • I've used the Action Method some, but switched to Evernote from that. It was good though. I also, depending on the busyness of the season, use “Things”
      Twitter: Ronedmondson

  5. Timely topic with very practical steps, Ron.

    One of the things I do with Twitter is to put sources of good content into a "list" and use an app like Hootsuite to create a column just for that "list". There's no reason why I have to be the only one to come up with content when there are so many others (like you, btw) are generating it as well.