How to Cope With Information Overload as a Professional pt.2 - Calming Methods
Jul 19, 2016 | 5 min read
Imagine the following situation: you're in a hurry and have a lot tasks to do. The clock is ticking but your to-do list is not getting any smaller. And now you’ve realized that forgot to write down some tasks. Sounds familiar? In my previous article I shared some thoughts on how to cope with information overload. In this piece, I'd like to tell you about some mind-calming practices we all need but which we tend to forget about in our hectic lives.
You already know that the rule of “less is more” applies to information and keeping your brain healthy. You remember that you should limit the amount of information you process, keep your files neat and tidy, and work on your habits as they reduce the energy your brain needs. These tactics are very powerful, but it takes time to implement them. It’s extremely difficult to declutter your life, cut down the information intake and develop new positive habits, all at the same time. Don’t worry, I have also some simpler strategies that you can adopt right away.
20 tips on how to work and not get crazy
Split tasks into smaller ones. Keep it regular. You won’t have the feeling that you’ve been working on a task forever and you will feel that you’re making progress instead. This will keep you better organised and less overwhelmed.
Do one thing at a time. Multitasking reduces your productivity by 40%.
Avoid distractions. Work in a place with as little external stimuli as possible. Music can help, but it might consume brain’s energy, that could be used to focus on the current task. Open space is not good as well, unless everyone keeps it really quiet. Netguru allows its employees to work remotely from anywhere they want so that they can work in the best possible conditions for them.
Make sure all the files you’re responsible for are neat and tidy so no one will then bother you asking to explain something. Everyone should know where to look for if they want to find a given piece of information.
Keep your deadlines, even those tiny ones. Go through them periodically. Do the smaller things as soon as possible, otherwise they will pile up.
Social media can wait until breakfast/lunch break. If you feel a constant need to check your social media accounts, it might be a good idea to block them on all the devices you use primarily for work.
When you’re going away for longer, write that down in your calendar (e.g. Google Calendar) visible for everyone. They won’t be surprised if you don’t respond to their messages.
On company chat use visual statuses to show you’re busy/available.
Improve your workflow. Ask your colleagues, teammates what annoys them most in your workflow, your project files and tickets. Rectify those issues.
Link important files in a project channel’s tab/topic. You don’t want to be bothered 10 times by questions about the same thing.
Be precise in what you need and what you say. Fewer misunderstandings = fewer distractions = higher productivity.
Reduce the number of minor notifications. You can mute some of them with Quitter.
More breaks, but shorter. Don’t spend them in front of the screen! Walk and have a breather.