Doing research is nothing new for most freelancers, particularly those who craft high-quality content. After all, one needs to make sure that what he or she puts out there for everyone to read is annotated from reliable sources.
One of the downsides though of being an awesome researcher is you get to be a victim of information overload every so often.
Between Twitter conversations and constant email access, getting stuck with information overload could seriously hamper your productivity and the quality of your work.
So before you say “these online readings are not distractions, I’m researching for an article which is due tomorrow!”, below is an outline of tips to stop information overload from cutting short your attention span, distracting you from work, and taking control of your life.
Have a plan of what your day should be like when you’re online.
Map out your activities for the day first thing in the morning rather than directly submerge yourself to the endless stream of information online.
Consider making a list of the top 3 tasks you should complete that day. If checking forums and reading your feeds is an essential part of your job, you can include these tasks in your time map right after you complete the tasks in your to-do list.
Allow your feeds to overload.
Most of us would feel compelled to do something about tons of must-reads in one’s RSS feeds as it updates every day. This is one classic example of the Internet controlling your life. By and large, you alone should be able to decide when to actually review the contents of your feed, as well as how many and how long.
Ignore the unread portion if you must, skip some parts, or better yet, unsubscribe!
Have your own “insert number of minutes here” reading block.
Although reading is a very important activity in itself, learn to block certain periods for reading which will work for you — it could be early in the morning, at lunch time, or while commuting. During this period, absorb everything you can.
During your reading block, filter information that you are not proving to be useful anymore.
Get yourself off from mailing lists, unsubscribe from newsletters, or stop following blogs. Keep in mind that not everything you read online has positive value.
Drop out from forums.
Online forums and communities are essential to updating yourself with trends in your industry, seek suggestions, or learn from people’s experiences.
However, if you find yourself hanging out in these forums most of the day, checking messages and threads, you may have to put a halt to such online habit.
Learn to leave and drop out when the forum doesn’t contribute to your development and work anymore.
Stick to one news source.
Usually, news channels and sites have the same sets of news every day, although presented differently to make them look as if they’re more substantial, catchy and worth reading.
Consider sticking to just one news source or better yet, stop reading the news.
So, are you ready to pull the plug out of information overload? If not, what’s holding you back? We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below!