More than 70% of American professionals are overwhelmed by information and 40% said they were near a ‘breaking point’ according to a 2008 study.
We are pummeled by information all day long. It’s no wonder we often return home at the end of the day tired and with little energy for friends and family.
Information overload is a tremendous brain drain. Research studies indicate that the USA wastes hundreds of billions of dollars in the time people spend processing information rather than creating.
How do we stop the information overload? How do we redevelop our creative energies? Here are some simple yet effective tips.
1) Focus your energies. Do you know what your professional and
personal goals are? Do you know what strategies you will use to achieve them?
Do you have a timeline? Answering “Yes!” to these three questions will allow
you to focus your activities on creating the life you want. . . . Wait – this sounds counter intuitive. If we’re trying to be creative, why would we write a script? The answer is simple – once you’ve committed your intentions towards a goal, it is easier to say no to the millions of bytes of information (and funny videos) that don’t get you closer to where you want to be.
2) Harness technology. Sites like Hootsutie, Social Oomph, Media
Funnl, TweetDeck, and Threadsy can help focus social media energies by
streamlining multiple accounts. . . . But don’t lose track of the important people!
It’s smart to separate friends from acquaintances. This will help ensure you stay
up to date on your friends’ lives and never miss a birthday.
3) Take a walk. Studies show that when we spend time in nature, our memory improves and we think more effectively. If you find it difficult to fit
exercise into your daily routine, try getting up 20 minutes earlier or taking a
stroll during lunch. The trick is to get exercise – preferably in nature – on your
calendar before the rest of the world places demands upon your precious time. When I am working at a computer all day, a brisk walk every couple of hours is an amazing rejuvenator.
4) Invite a friend over for dinner. When we spend large amounts of
time online, our brains’ capacity for reasoning is exercised but important qualities like empathy are left underdeveloped. Literally. This has been proven by neuroscience. Sharing a meal with a friend is a great way to nourish our bodies and our souls.
5) Take a break. Yohaku literally translated means ‘white space.’ It is a Japanese term which refers to areas intentionally left open as an invitation for the observer to enter. It is a space of contemplation and of rejuvenation. According to Diane Dreher, author of the Tao of Womanhood, a Yohaku
break might be just the thing we need to manage information overload. A Yohaku break might include reading a good book under a tree, cooking a healthy meal, allowing plenty of time between meetings, or spending time with a loved one at home and without commitments. It doesn’t matter what constitutes a Yohaku break for you so long as you take one. Regularly.
At our core we are creative beings. If it isn’t harnessed, information overload can jeopardize our creativity. However, when our values are in alignment with our actions, it becomes easier and easier to whittle down the information overload and create the experiences in life we want.
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