Avoiding Online Information Overload

Avoiding Online Information Overload
About the Author

Reid Goldsborough is a syndicated columnist and author of the book Straight Talk About the Information Superhighway. He can be reached at reidgoldsborough@gmail.com or reidgold.com. 

As easy as it is to access information these days with your smartphone, tablet, or personal computer, it's equally easy to get swamped by it. Here are 10 tips for dealing with the glut of information: 

  • Periodically reevaluate your information sources to determine whether there are valuable new ones you should add and outmoded ones you should drop.
  • Filter the info-wheat from the into-chaff. With email, for instance, you can set up filters to automatically direct important messages into folders where they'll get your immediate attention.
  • Consider setting aside one or two times a day to check for new email messages rather than feeling compelled to check every few minutes. If people need to get in touch with you in a hurry, they can call, text, or stop by.
  • If you're searching for information on the web, save time by learning the advanced search procedures.
  • Don't forward joke or other irrelevant messages to those who might not have the time for them. Cc your own messages thoughtfully.
  • Keep your email messages to one screen when possible, and use an informative subject line. Use other technologies instead of email, such as the telephone, when you expect a lot of back-and-forths - it will be a lot quicker.
  • Selectively respond to email, and match the length of your response to how eager you are to converse. A short, polite response indicates you've received the other person's message but need to move on.
  • If you're involved in creating web pages, try to keep each page to a screen or two, and put the most important information up front. Break up pages with informative subheads so readers can get the gist of what you're saying with a quick scan.
  • When creating business documents, use executive summaries when possible. Choose clear, concise language to communicate, not bureaucratise to impress and confound.
  • Avoid time-wasting temptations. Surfing the web can be both valuable and the ultimate information timesink, with ever more intriguing but ever less relevant links beckoning you on.



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