Information overload.

July 22, 2011 at 2:33 pm Leave a comment

I’m an information junkie.  This fact was made clear to me a few days ago, when Brad was digging around in my email inbox for a message he had sent me from his work account.  He looked up from his searching to declare:

“You get a TON of email.”

Yes, yes, I do.  Over the years I’ve gotten signed up – purposely in some cases, inadvertently in others – for a multitude of electronic newsletters and sales announcements and coupons.  I get emails from people selling everything from clothing and beauty products to organizational systems and gardening supplies.  My inbox is blasted with updates from blogs I follow and publications I find interesting.

The same is true of my Facebook home page.  One of the best ways to get coupons is to like a retailer’s page and then print a coupon when they’re announced.  It’s also a good method for finding out about special promotions and deals.

Lately, though, I’ve been feeling bogged down by all the input.  My Facebook page just feels cluttered and congested, and I miss updates from people I’m truly interested in.  This past Monday alone I received 90 emails – 6 from people actually in my life, and the other 83 from someone wanting to sell me something.

I thought this information was beneficial.  I thought I was saving money by knowing when the best deals were.  I thought I was educating myself by staying informed of new technologies and reading new articles from experts.

Turns out, all this information is hindering me more than it’s helping.  I have a stack of magazines waiting to be read.  I have email that needs a response and coupons that need to be printed.  And the knowledge that these things are hanging out on my to-do list and waiting for attention is hanging over my head like a cloud.  It’s weighing me down, man.

As a result, this week’s project has been to cut down on the extraneous information.  I’m going about it in a multi-step process:

1. L iberal use of the unsubscribe button.  Bogged down in junk mail?  All marketers are required to have a way to opt out of their mailings, both through snail mail and email.  I went through my inbox and unsubscribed from as many emails as I can.  If I’m truly interested in a retailer, I know where to find them on the web.

2.  VERY liberal use of the hide feature on my Facebook home page.  I’m using it for all the retailers whose frequent announcements are just electronic clutter.  If I’m looking for a specific coupon, I know how to use Google.

3.  Paring down my magazine subscriptions.  This is more of a long-term thing.  I get way too many magazines, and they all tend to say the same thing.  As each one comes up for renewal, I’m REALLY considering if I want to continue to receive it.  And the ones I do want to continue, I’m switching over to a digital subscription, to be delivered to my tablet.  Not only does it cut down on the physical clutter, but it also helps the planet.

Got any other suggestions for what I can do to cut down on the outside “noise”?

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Entry filed under: Life in general.

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