Information Overwhelm

Posted by SimplifyMe on February 2, 2012 in Organizing, Simplify |

Technology is the wave of the future, but sometimes this wave is so powerful that it’s easy to feel like you’re drowning in the sea of information. Emails, blogs, newsletters, TV, mail, Facebook, Twitter. – all theses different things bombard you with information on a daily, and sometimes hourly basis.

Having a computer is a must these days. It’s necessary for work, and you can find out just about any information you want from a computer. You can pick were to eat, where to go on vacation, buy a car, make new friends, electronically stalk someone, and meet your future spouse. Computer’s are amazing! I could not have written this blog without one. However, they are also the cause of a LOT of stress. These magnificent machines can certainly cause problems – that spouse you met online is now ‘chatting’ with someone else, your bank account has been hacked, your directions sent you to an abandoned warehouse instead of the fabulous new restaurant you were going to, your vacation confirmation got lost and you are now stuck at the flea dip motel, next door to the Scranton, PA thumb wrestling team on their way to regional’s.

The mail also keeps coming, no matter where you move or how hard you try to run from it! And, unfortunately, in this computer age, it doesn’t all consist of love letters and postcards from fun far-away places. It’s mostly junk and bills!

Ahhh/Ugh, information!

So the choices to combat the information overload are to move to a cave with no Wifi, where even the bravest of mail carriers does not dare to tread, or learn to manage it, so it doesn’t manage you! Luckily, I’ve got some tips to help with the latter!

Mail – When the mail comes, spend 10 minutes sorting it right then and there! Sort the mail into 3 main categories: 1. Disposal (Trash/recycle/shred), 2. File, 3. Action (anything you need to do something else with). All items in pile #1 can be disposed of immediately. Items in pile #2 can be put aside (like in a small basket marked ‘to be filed’) and those items can be filed, on a weekly or even monthly basis, depending on the amount. Items in pile #3 can be further sorted into individual categories like pay, read, respond, etc. This really should only take 10 minutes, unless you are a very important person who receives tons of mail daily (like the President or Justin Bieber). Each category in your action pile should then be followed up on to complete the actions. This way you don’t need to dig your bills out of a stack of pizza menus and credit card applications, and your lights won’t get shut off for failure to pay the bill because you didn’t know where it was! Also, a way to have less unwanted mail is to sign up with a service like DMAChoice. They help you decrease the amount of direct marketing you receive, so you have less junk to wade through and throw away.

Email – I get at least 50 emails daily…45 of which are things I don’t need to look at. To start getting less of those, each time an email comes in that you don’t want, take a second to go to the bottom and hit the ‘unsubscribe’ button. You may have to do this for a lot of emails, but it will be worth it when your inbox is no longer cluttered with ways to decrease your debt and increase your hair line. Also, the same principle applies to email as paper mail. Take ten minutes to sort it. Set up email folders like, “Upcoming Events”, “Read/Review”, and “Follow up”. When emails come in either, 1. Delete them, 2. File them, 3. Act on them. This way your inbox won’t build up like soap scum in your bath tub, getting to the point where it’s just gross!

The bottom line is that it’s manageable if you manage it in little bits, before it gets out of hand and causes a breakdown (electronic or literal).

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