Information Overload: Will It Kill Me, or Will I Survive?

I think this is going to be the first in about a 5 post series on my latest struggle – Information Overload.
Information overload
This dilema has become almost amusing (but not quite).

The problem I encounter daily is the massive volume of information I receive which I want to consume, yet there is obviously not enough time to consume it much less digest it! I don’t seem to have the skills or discipline to deal with this problem effectively. Yet!

  • Email stories I want to read (dozens of really good ones)
  • Google Reader feed
  • Tweets from people I follow and care about
  • Physical books on my “I want to read” list
  • Daily news outlets (WSJ, NYT, USA Today, etc)
  • Blogs I want to keep up with (e.g. Seth Godin)
  • And more…

The interesting thing is that I think we all know what the solution is: Triage. Pick the important stuff, and ignore the rest. Unfortunately knowing and doing are two different things. My own ambition as a goal seeking, growth pursuing, improvement focused person make me my own worst enemy.

Add to my own weakness for interesting information the skills of great marketers, copyrighters and editors to come up with titles and headlines I can’t resist. “The solution to [my most pressing problem here]”, or “The 3 keys to [the project I just started and am having trouble with]”. How can I skip THAT, or press the delete key, or bookmark it behind the 500 other things I haven’t read yet. But I can’t read it now. Damn … It!

I’m working on an image that illustrates my problem, in the hopes that seeing it will provide some insight into my own insanity, maybe help you determine if any of this applies to you, and possibly to serve as a starting point for the lofty objective of getting a handle on this. If not, maybe you can enjoy some comic relief watching me deal with my demons!

I think this is going to be similar to the alcoholic’s struggle, a ‘day at a time’ approach that means I can’t let my guard down and can’t ever consider myself free from temptation.

Check back tomorrow to see what step one will be. I wish I knew.

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