The information age is well and truly upon us. 2020 has seen a myriad of events take place and for the first time in history, we are turning to each other for information as opposed to mass media outlets. This has some amazing benefits; we can now be right on the pulse and there is less censorship of marginalised voices and amplification of current injustices.
However, the constant barrage of information can lead to us feeling fatigued and overwhelmed. Our brain is not primed to handle the amount of information we now receive on a minute by minute basis and so to operate as effectively as possible we need to find ways to manage the messages we receive.
Here are my top tips for managing information overload:
- Change your consumption
We are on the socials more than ever particularly due to spending the last few months in lockdown. In the initial period, I found myself binging online. I wanted to know everything that was happening as it happened and there was so much to read and listen to. It was only when my dreams began to involve images of my feed did I realise I'd gone too far. Try setting yourself a time limit for your browsing e.g. 10 minutes three times a day. Turn off notifications and ensure you end your day with something positive and uplifting such as a nice (phone-free) bath, a good book or some meditation.
2. Maintain your boundaries:
You have probably found that many people in your network are talking about the pandemic and Black Lives Matter frequently. It is vital to be aware of the impact that others can have on us both positive and negative. If a person or group gives your information that you do not want to hear, there is nothing wrong with disengaging and asking the person to refrain. If someone you follow continuously posts things that you find triggering take steps to unfriend, unfollow or mute.
3. Ditch info FOMO
We've been hit with a long list of lives to listen to, podcasts to follow, books to read and videos to watch. Every day, our what's apps and social feeds are filled with the next piece of information. Being informed is a beautiful thing but mental fatigue is not. Please be aware that you do not have to watch everything. If you feel like you're consuming too much material, choose one or two pieces of content to focus on per week (e.g. one documentary and one podcast). Make time for fun media and pleasurable time offline. If you feel like things have spiralled to an unmanageable level feel free to take a complete information block out for a few days too.