Most of us are aware that if you eat too much food you won’t be healthy. But how many people think about information in that way? We are constantly bombarded with information, especially in this internet age. I find one of the biggest barriers to having clarity in my life is information overload.
I can physically feel it in my head when I’m getting overloaded with information. If I continue to gorge on more information, my ability to think quickly erodes.
A clear mind is important to me because it plays a big part in the quality of my life. If I don’t have clarity, my decisions aren’t that great which means my life isn’t that great. I want the best life I can have, so I carefully monitor how much information I consume, just like I do with food.
I believe each of us has a different capacity for information just like each of us has a different capacity for food. I know some thin people who can eat way more than I can. If they ate as little as I do, they’d wilt.
So there’s not a hard and fast rule for how much information to take in. My husband reads a lot. He’s a walking encyclopedia. You can ask him nearly any factual question, and he’ll know the answer. I’m the complete opposite. I typically take 4 years to read a non-fiction book. I read a little, then think about it and play with the concepts for a week, or even a month, and then go back for a little more.
My husband’s approach to information isn’t better than mine, and mine isn’t better than his. They’re just different because each of us processes and uses our information differently.
If I want to be clear headed, I need to consume just the right amount of information for me. I’m especially careful about this when I’m about to do something that takes a lot of clear thinking—making an important decision, taking a class, teaching a class, or writing an article—I make sure that I don’t overload my mind with too much information so I can clearly do what I’m set out to do.
How do you tell when you’re on information overload? And what do you do when you hit that point?