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How To Be Smarter In The Age Of Information Overload

How To Be Smarter In The Age Of Information Overload

We live in the digital age, where we can access huge swathes of information with the single click of a button. Given the fact that access to these data-sets is unrestricted, however, we are often exposed to an information overload whenever we research a specific subject or search query online. This can not only be mentally exhausting, but it also confuses and fragments our thinking over time.

To negate this, you will need to be selective when browsing an overload of information and adopt skills that will enable you to think with greater purpose and clarity.

How to think Smarter in the Age of Information Overload

With this in mind, how exactly can begin to think smarter and become more selective in the age of information overload? Here are some ideas:

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1. Maintain a clear Objective when looking for information Online

This is the first and arguably most important point, as without a clear objective when browsing online you will quickly become overwhelmed by excessive and often conflicting information. By maintaining a big picture in your mind at all times and determining precisely what you are looking for in the first place, you can cope with even the most significant of data-sets.

This is where mind maps can prove exceptionally useful, as they provide a visual representation of your thoughts and individual thinking processes. Try this before you begin to search for data, and keep in mind at all times while surfing online.

2. Do not give Attention to all the Information you review

This is another important point, especially when confronted with vast or conflicting data-sets. If you were to believe everything that you were to read on a specific topic, you would find it almost impossible to arrive at any firm conclusions or make an informed decision.

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It is particularly true on popular or widely discussed topics, which often divide opinion and elicit strong emotions. When confronted with such information, you must strive to identify and evaluate the most relevant data and apply your findings to your own, personal circumstances, while also keeping a primary objective in mind.

3. Keep Integrating Data to Avoid Gaps in Knowledge

When drawing data from different sources, it can be hard to maintain a consistent flow or thought process. This is why so many people use comprehensive comparison sites and resources when shopping for home insurance, as these pages combine huge swathes of information within a single location.

This makes it far easier to process data, no matter how much information is included. If you cannot access such resources, you must instead focus on integrating data in an organised and practical manner, helping to avoid any gaps in knowledge and more importantly understanding.

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4. Maintain an Open and Objective Mind when Processing Information

We have already touched on the importance of being selective when browsing data, but it is also important that you are objective. While you will need to determine a clear objective when reading information, people also tend to seek out data that relates to a specific belief system or values they they hold dear.

This creates bias and can cloud the subconscious mind, so you must maintain and open and objective outlook when browsing online. If you can search for information beyond your subjective, you will achieve far greater knowledge and use this to execute more informed decisions.

5. Give your Brain Regular Breaks to Avoid Information Overload

In many ways, processing data online is similar to working or completing tasks on a computer. The glare from the screen and the focus required to complete these tasks can cause mental fatigue over time, however, overwhelming your thought processes and making it extremely difficult to achieve your goals.

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This is why it is important to take regular breaks from the screen, as this enables you to refresh the mind and maintain your mental sharpness. The Pomodoro Technique of operating can help you to implement this strategy, as it encourages you to work in intense segments of 25 minutes before enjoying five minutes downtime (and then repeating this process).

6. Structure the Information you receive to Read Less and Think deeper

Information overload has encouraged numerous scientific studies, with the majority finding that the structure of the information we receive is extremely impactful. The successful structuring and integration of data helps us to process information and identify critical details, enabling us to build knowledge successfully.

In addition to being able to structure the data that you process to provide clarity, you can also prioritise websites that require you to click-through to access different data-sets. This website detailing the history of the Wimbledon tennis tournament offers a relevant case in point, as it is clearly separated into different categories and allows users to click-through to access data on players, facts and records.

This forces your brain to process small pieces of data and sub-headings before choosing which sections to explore further, enabling you to access and structure information in a knowledgeable manner.

Hopefully, these steps will help you think smarter and not harder when processing information online. This should ensure that you avoid the pitfalls of information overload and tech your brain to be more selective when reviewing data.

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Last Updated on December 2, 2019

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

10 Powerful Ways to Stop Worrying and Start Living Today

Plato knew that the body and mind are intimately linked. And in the late 1800s, the Mayo brothers, famous physicians, estimated that over half of all hospital beds are filled with people suffering from frustration, anxiety, worry and despair. Causes of worry are everywhere, in our relationships and our jobs, so it’s key we find ways to take charge of the stress.

In his classic book How to Stop Worrying and Start Living, Dale Carnegie offers tools to ditch excessive worrying that help you make a worry-free environment for your private and professional life.

These are the top 10 tips to grab worry by the horns and wrestle it to the ground:

1. Make Your Decision and Never Look Back

Have you ever made a decision in life only to second-guess it afterwards? Of course you have! It’s hard not to wonder whether you’ve done the right thing and whether there might still be time to take another path.

But keep this in mind: you’ve already made your decision, so act decisively on it and dismiss all your anxiety about it.

Don’t stop to hesitate, to reconsider, or to retrace your steps. Once you’ve chosen a course of action, stick to it and never waver.

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2. Live for Today, Package Things up in “Day-Tight Compartments”

You know that feeling: tossing, turning and worrying over something that happened or something that might, well into the wee hours. To avoid this pointless worrying, you need “day-tight compartments”. Much as a ship has different watertight compartments, your own “day-tight” ones are a way to limit your attention to the present day.

The rule is simple: whatever happened in the past or might happen in the future must not intrude upon today. Everything else has to wait its turn for tomorrow’s box or stay stuck in the past.

3. Embrace the Worst-Case Scenario and Strategize to Offset It

If you’re worried about something, ask yourself: “What’s the worst thing that could happen?” Could you lose your job? Be jailed? Get killed?

Whatever the “worst” might be, it’s probably not so world-ending. You could probably even bounce back from it!

If, for example, you lose your job, you could always find another. Once you accept the worst-case scenario and get thinking about contingency plans, you’ll feel calmer.

4. Put a Lid on Your Worrying

Sometimes we stress endlessly about negative experiences when just walking away from them would serve us far better.

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To make squashing that worry easier, try this strategy, straight from stock traders: it’s called the “stop-loss” order, where shares are bought at a certain price, and then their price development is observed. If things go badly and the share price hits a certain point, they are sold off immediately. This stops the loss from increasing further.

In the same manner, you can put a stop-loss order on things that cause you stress and grief.

5. Fake It ‘Til You Make It – Happiness, That Is

We can’t directly influence how we feel, but we can nudge ourselves to change through how we think and act.

If you’re feeling sad or low, slap a big grin on your face and whistle a chipper tune. You’ll find it impossible to be blue when acting cheerful. But you don’t necessarily need to act outwardly happy; you can simply think happier thoughts instead.

Marcus Aurelius summed it up aptly:

“Our life is what our thoughts make it.”

6. Give for the Joy of Giving

When we perform acts of kindness, we often do so with the expectation of gratitude. But harboring such expectations will probably leave you disappointed.

One person well aware of this fact was the lawyer Samuel Leibowitz. Over the course of his career, Leibowitz saved 78 people from going to the electric chair. Guess how many thanked him? None.

So stop expecting gratitude when you’re kind to someone. Instead, take joy from the act yourself.

7. Dump Envy – Enjoy Being Uniquely You

Your genes are completely unique. Even if someone had the same parents as you, the likelihood of someone identical to you being born is just one in 300,000 billion.

Despite this amazing fact, many of us long to be someone else, thinking the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. But living your life this way is pointless. Embrace your uniqueness and get comfortable with who you really are: How to Be True to Yourself and Live the Life You Want

8. Haters Will Hate — It Just Means You’re Doing It Right

When you’re criticized, it often means you’re accomplishing something noteworthy. In fact, let’s take it a step further and consider this: the more you’re criticized, the more influential and important a person you likely are.

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So the next time somebody talks you down, don’t let it get to you. Take it as a compliment!

9. Chill Out! Learn to Rest Before You Get Tired

Scientists agree that emotions are the most common cause of fatigue. And it works the other way around, too: fatigue produces more worries and negative emotions.

It should be clear, therefore, that you’ve got to relax regularly before you feel tired. Otherwise, worries and fatigue will accumulate on top of each other.

It’s impossible to worry when you are relaxed, and regular rest helps you maintain your ability to work effectively.

10. Get Organized and Enjoy Your Work

There are few greater sources of misery in life than having to work, day in, day out, in a job you despise. It would make sense then that you shouldn’t pick a job you hate, or even just dislike doing.

But say you already have a job. How can you make it more enjoyable and worry-free? One way is to stay organized: a desk full of unanswered mails and memos is sure to breed worries.

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Better yet, rethink about the job you’re doing: What to Do When You Hate Your Job but Want a Successful Career

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Featured photo credit: Tyler Nix via unsplash.com

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