The third week passed and I knew it would bring some controversial topics and new perspectives on what can cause information overload and how to reduce it.
Once we recognize the existence of information overload and we attribute to it several unpleasant consequences like stress, lack of focus, time waste, low productivity, miscommunication, bad collaboration…, we cannot avoid to focus on some good practices to reduce it. And so we go with e-mail best practices, appropriate tools to be used, hints and tips about how to cooperate together more fruitfully or automated business solutions to save our time.
What I think is that in all of this we miss the main source of it, the core generator of information that’s our mind.
Our minds are the ones evaluating a reply to an e-mail, are the ones deciding what to say in a conversation and how to prioritize our tasks. We do all of this everyday during our working journey and we clash with other minds in the need to collaborate to produce fruitful things together.
If these minds though are not aware of their actions and consequences, if they are not enough mindful about information overload then we first will produce it for others and for ourselves: all those e-mails we send, all those meetings we take part with our minds elsewhere, all those conversations we miss because we look into our devices and all those relationships we don’t grow because we just think about the final goal instead of the way how this goal is achieved.
The good news is that we can train our minds, pretty much as we are doing with out bodies in the gym, to pay more attention to what we do so that we can be more focused, more collaborative, better communicators, handle better our time and eventually do all of this optimizing the information flow.
First of all a healthy daily practice (discussed on Day 16-17), few minutes are enough, closing our eyes, paying attention on our senses, on our breath, on the thoughts arising. You can watch ThePresentShow to get more informations about it or download any mindfulness app like Headspace or Smiling Mind or Calm.
Such practice helps to tune our minds more often into an awareness state (meta awareness), awareness of us living in the present rather than wandering in past of future thoughts not relevant to what we are doing in that moment.
Then it’s important to bring this awareness into our everyday working life, learning to think before sending any of our messages (day 18) so to choose the most appropriate channel to improve collaboration and avoid future possible overload. We should identify when we need to STOP (day 19), if we are doing two things at the same time, or if we cannot handle a coming request, focusing on one single task we will do it better and often we don’t notice until late when we were doing something and thinking about something else.
Self information overload is also cause of stress, we identify it particularly when we feel busy (day 21) and we cannot focus, we cannot sleep, and we do anything much less efficiently. Yet we linger in that feeling without seeing that in reality it’s just in our minds and by doing one task after another we will progress anyway regardless on how many of these task are awaiting for us on the line.
To avoid busyness just pay attention to it and you will find it’s not there really.
Another good practice to prevent it is to avoid automation (day 20), reminders, notifications, anything that prevents you to think, plan and clearly organize your time.
Write down your todo list, make sure you switch off all your notifications and then come back to them when you have time for them. You are in the control, be mindful about that control and they will not overload you.
Mindfulness is not the only answer, it’s however a very good solution, a great and simple training, and healthy practice for our minds.
All simply just by learning to pay attention.
Thanks a lot for watching the third week, you can find here all the playlist http://bit.ly/iorglivemonth
Looking forward for the final one that start tomorrow about open business.