I don’t know about you, but the more I live and work in the online world, the more easily I become fragmented and less often am I able to be really focused on any one task. I call this IOD or
‘Information Overload Disorder’.
This is a problem on many levels. Although I am constantly scanning everything from email communications, blog posts, voice mail’s, videos and more to gather more information and to be ‘on top of things’, I am actually losing effectiveness with my daily work.
This becomes a downhill spiral as I begin to feel guilty over not being as productive as I can be, which results in my not being very effective – which turns into me questioning whether or not I am actually good at what I do. So I need to JUST STOP IT and regroup.
I have read about many strategies to overcome this – and being that I like to keep things simple – here is what works for me:
- Keep 90 minutes each day for absolute, no-nonsense, un-distracted focus. This idea is not my own, and is outlined in HBR’s blog post “A 90-Minute Plan for Personal Effectiveness“. This is a smart, sensible strategy where you shut down all opportunities for interruption and focus on a single task each day.
- At the beginning of each week, decide in advance the top 3-5 things you should accomplish that will make the most impact for your organization, your projects, etc., and make them a priority – and get them done.
- Continuously reassess how you are spending your time. It’s really important to spend your time wisely – like money. Walk away from low-impact things that suck up your time – even if they might frustrate others. You can always get them done (and apologize) later.
- Never underestimate the need for “down time”. For me, this means daily 1 hour walks (preferably in the woods) to clear my head and open up some ‘space’ to get the ideas flowing. Not to mention the extra oxygen to the brain really helps!
- Remind yourself that you can’t do everything – and let it go. Wasted energy means that you won’t be using it on creativity and ideas when you need them.
If you have any unique or special strategies – please do share!