Thursday, August 22, 2013

Is it possible to get too much information? SkyPlanner found a good deal of information that proves that it is.

You’re reading an article on a website and you get distracted by an image in the sidebar that’s accompanied by a catchy headline, and you end up clicking on it even though you’re not finished reading the article. Before you know it, you’re six articles or photo galleries removed from what you were originally interested in reading with no idea how you got there. That is a common example of the dreaded notion of “information overload.”

SkyPlanner Salesforce salesforce.com force.com
While the ability to gain new information easily has gradually increased since Johannes Gutenburg created the West's version of the printing press, the notion that a person can actually overload on information has only really become an epidemic in the past few decades. While the human brain can handle millions of subconscious sensory stimulations at the same time, the rapid evolution of modern information technology has greatly outpaced the ability of the human body to evolve to be able to process simultaneous written and verbal information. Things such as widespread access to lightning fast internet connections, the low cost of duplicating information (through emails, social media, etc.) which means information gets to everyone instead of those who will benefit from it.

All of this has caused the modern person to believe they NEED to have all the information they can get, even if it means they really don’t retain nearly as much as they think they do.
The solutions to counter information overload are simple. Learning to differentiate between information you need to know versus that which you would like to know is a good start; as is concentrating on a few reliable sources of information on the subject instead of every source available. And while “multi-tasking” and “being connected” are common buzzwords thrown around these days it is important to be able to single-task and become disconnected (that is, shut off your phone and stop checking emails) until what needs to be done is done.

Below is a great TED Talk (we love those here at SkyPlanner) by Barry Schwartz. While Schwartz speaks on freedom of choice, SkyPlanner believes the same principles can be applied to having access to more information than we know what to do with. Just make sure to close your email and throw your mouse in the corner before you start watching.