October 20th is Information Overload Day

Memory Overload

The new research explained in Scientific American states that neurons in the human brain continually connect to create much more storage capacity in the human brain. The story continues, “increasing the brain’s memory storage capacity to something closer to around 2.5 petabytes (or a million gigabytes). For comparison, if your brain worked like a digital video recorder in a television, 2.5 petabytes would be enough to hold three million hours of TV shows. You would have to leave the TV running continuously for more than 300 years to use up all that 

storage.Why is this important? The human brain can focus on working memory, anywhere from 4 to 7 items. Finally, further research states that we are presented with approximately 74 gigabytes of information each day, the equivalent of watching 16 movies. So what does this have to do with anything? Plenty! Wednesday, October 20th, is officially Information Overload Day. One of the things I enjoy in my work is creating processes for clients to organize and manage information. There are so many ways to make your interaction with information more smooth and effective.

Nationaltoday.com had the following interesting stats on Information Overload Day:

  • Two billion websites – As of January 2019, the internet contained over two billion websites.
  • Scientific research – Every year, more than 1.8 million scientific research papers are published.
  • Average time on Facebook – On average, Facebook users spend 19.5 hours on the app every month.
  • Articles in thousands – In one week, the BBC and “The New York Times” published more than 10,000 articles.
  • Friend recommendations – According to Carat, 33% of millennials rely on social media recommendations from friends instead of looking online themselves.

Here are some suggestions to stay on top of your information and max out your daily effectiveness.

  • Limit how often you stay active in email. A good suggestion is only to check email five times per day. When not in email, keep it closed with notifications off
  • When you are in email, handle those you can in 2 minutes or less, and have a way to capture emails that will take longer to process. (Reach out if you’d like to learn about my custom methodology for managing email on my contact page here.)
  • Avoid social media for the day. You really can do this!
  • Create a process for managing how you handle and sort all incoming information. (Hint, Evernote is excellent at this)

It’s clear that the flow of information will not decrease anytime soon and will increase exponentially. The best way to cope with information overload is to create processes that will keep you on top of the information and truly understand what is essential and what isn’t.

I’d love to hear what your experience with Information Overload Day was. Message me with the hashtag #InformationOverloadDay

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