How to deal with information overload

Information overload graphic on tablet

Information Overload is a Big Challenge for Solopreneurs

Because solopreneurs are jack-of-all-trades, we are more vulnerable to information overload than most. We’re not just keeping up with information in our area of specialty. We’re also trying to optimize our social media profiles, figure out Facebook advertising, keep our accounting up-to-date, and make sure nobody hacks our websites. It is exhausting.

Stress. Stress. And more stress.

The current world situation has added additional stress. Domestically we are dealing with quickly rising prices, especially in terms of energy. On the international front, it is horrifying to see the war in Ukraine unfold with Putin’s disregard for the life of the Ukrainian people and his own citizens.

A recent survey conducted by the American Psychological Association confirmed that Americans are very stressed. According to this study, “these more recent findings were alarming, with more adults rating inflation and issues related to the invasion of Ukraine as stressors than any other issue asked about since the Stress in AmericaTM survey began in 2007. Top sources of stress were the rise in prices of everyday items due to inflation (e.g., gas prices, energy bills, grocery costs, etc.) (87%), followed by supply chain issues (81%) and global uncertainty (81%).”(Source)

So how do we keep up with the stress of too much information, in addition to everything else?

Information Changes Too Quickly For Anyone to “Keep Up”

According to the Buckminster Fuller’s Knowledge Doubling Curve, knowldge is increasing at an alarming rate.

  • In 1900, knowledge doubled every century.
  • In 1945, knowledge doubled every 25 years.
  • In 1982, knowledge doubled every 12 or 13 months.
  • In 2020, IBM predicted knowledge would double every 11 or 12 hours.

Information overload is compounded by the belief we should immediately respond to texts or emails – including during evenings and weekends. Emails alert us to sales that expire at midnight. There’s a lot of pressure and little time to consider a response.

How to Deal with Information Overload

  1. Accept that you can’t know it all anymore. The days of knowing “everything” about a subject are gone. To be successful in 2022, you must be able to research relevant information and apply what you’ve learned.
  2. Determine your goals. Focus on what you need to know – right now – to move forward in your life and business.
  3. Minimize the information. Unsubscribe from every email list that is not currently serving your needs. (You can re-subscribe at any time!) Reduce the frequency of emails from daily to weekly. Check your bank balance or social media stats weekly instead of daily. Receive your news in a daily (or weekly) digest instead of breaking news.
  4. Create a structure for dealing with information. Limit social media check-ins to three times per day. Schedule 30 minutes per day for learning. Skip the daily news conferences and read about them on a website (or watch a local news show in the evening). Scan your email at 5:00 PM and delete everything that is not relevant.
  5. Consider the timing. Information is easiest to absorb when you are rested, relaxed, centered and well-fed. Schedule your learning time when you are alert and have minimal interruptions.
  6. Embrace “Just in Time” learning. This is learning that is based on your specific and immediate needs. Do you need to update your LinkedIn profile? Don’t sit through a 12-hour course on how to use LinkedIn. Instead, find a 5-minute YouTube video or blog post that explains how to optimize your LinkedIn profile.
  7. Embrace technology. Use Evernote to keep track of valuable information. Use ToDoist to stay organized. Employ news aggregators (such as Digg) to keep track of the news. Use a News Feed Eradicator to replace your daily news feed with an inspirational quote.
  8. Hire an expert. We do not need to do everything ourselves. Find somebody to handle subjects that you can’t (or don’t want to) keep up with. Let your CPA handle payroll bailouts and your webmaster handle website updates. Hire a subject matter expert to help set up your Pinterest account or organize your desktop.
  9. Choose trusted sources. Select news sites and subject matter experts to follow – and then ignore everyone else. I get most of my national news from CNN or NPR. I rely on SEMRush and Yoast for information on Search Engine Optimization.

Related Blog Posts

How to deal with information overload
Scroll to top