People who have been around the Web for a while know how difficult it can be to keep up with the sites you read, your friends on Facebook or Twitter, and the productive things you know you should be doing all at the same time. Here are some simple ways to get started.
Photo by David Joyce
If you find yourself overwhelmed by the number of blogs, websites and emails you have to read, the things your friends and colleagues are saying in IMs or on social networks, the amount of work you have to do, and the time you have to get through it all, you're suffering from information overload. Thankfully, there are some easy ways to stem the tide of data that you're drowning under, and it doesn't take much time.
First of all, if you're not using an RSS reader for your favourite sites, try one. They'll help you filter out the things you don't want to see and then visit the articles and topics you want to read more about or comment on. The same is true with your social networks: instead of visiting multiple services, try to find a client or app that will let you check and manage multiples at the same time.
When it comes to email, we're huge fans of using Gmail to manage everything. Check out our guide on how to Consolidate Your Email Accounts and Stop Being an Email Hoarder. Finally, stop multitasking. Flipping back and forth between social networks and your inbox is already a productivity killer, and most of us who think we're good at it actually aren't. Once you have the basics down, you can move on to more difficult techniques.
For example, when it comes to your email, as long as you're using Gmail to manage multiple addresses, start making use of mail filters, labels and Gmail's Priority Inbox feature to make sure only the important items make their way to your eyes. With social networks, find an app (like some of our favourite Twitter clients) that allows you to filter out the people and posts you don't want to see.
Finally, the blog Work Awesome suggests a great idea: disconnect often. You can spend a lot of time trimming the volume of information you absorb, and you can do everything possible to minimise it so you only see and deal with the things that are important, but many of us are still drinking from a fire hose. What are some of your favourite methods for dealing with information overload?
5 Tips for Managing Information Overload [WorkAwesome]