Thursday, July 15, 2010

10 Tips for Managing Information Overload

Yesterday at the BLC conference I presented on how to manage information overload. Together we looked at the symptoms, diagnosis and treatment for this all to prevalent problem. Here is a list of 10 things you can do to keep your Online life under control.
1. Have compassion for yourself - We are all works in progress, don't be too hard on yourself if you don't know everything. No one can know everything. It is OK Not to know.

2. Measure - There are many tools that you can use to measure your use computer use. They run in the background and will give you data on the sites you visit, the applications you use and how much time you spend on each tool.

3. Set goals
- Before you open up a browser consider what you are hoping to accomplish.

4. Triage
- Filter on the way in, not on the way out. Look through your email and create filters so that not everything comes in to your inbox. For example, if you are CCd on an email you probably don't have to look at it immediately. Filter those messages into a separate file to look at later. Also check out Howard Rheingold's resources on mindful infotention.

5. Ask a Librarian
- Don't overlook the human resources in your own building.

6. Don't check email until lunch
- If you are the fastest responder to a problem, you will get all the problems. If you wait to respond, they may figure out their own answers.

7. Be effective, not just efficient
- Being efficient is doing things right, being effective is doing the right things. Make sure you are doing the right things right.

8. Use a productivity tool
- Applications like Evernote and Remember the Milk can help you to keep track of all your tasks and information. You can learn about other productivity tools here.

9. Mark as read
- Don't be afraid to go through your reader and mark everything as read. Start fresh. If it is important it will come back up to the top.

10. Take time outs
- Explore the Pomodoro technique which suggests you use a timer and set it for 25 minutes of work time and then take a 5 minute break. And, during the work time you keep track of your distractions and take a look at when they occur and what they are.
Do you have a good strategy for managing your information overload? Have you tried something on this list that has worked for you? Please leave a comment and share it with us.

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