I know REALTORS can relate to information overload with having to process something like 192 pieces of paperwork from listing agreement to closing documents. But any kind of overwhelming feeling with information is true across all fields of business today and even into our personal lives with 400 channels to choose from with your satellite TV provider to how many songs can you stuff into your iPOD. The speed with which information is coming at us these days is certainly overwhelming and not slowing down at all. So how do we sanely manage all this? There certainly isn't one answer, or even an ability to truly be able to do it. But here are a few thoughts to bring some peace and order back into your life.
Email: Delete early, and delete often garbage email. Learn to scan subject lines to open the most important ones sooner rather than lately. Write brief replies only to the sender. Create PST folders to move mail into categories. Read email throughout the day, not allowing it to build up. Check your Blackberry or PDA for urgent messages and text back quick replies.
News: read online, read print, whatever works best and fastest for you. Bookmark all your favorite sites. Learn to scan headlines and read first sentences of paragraphs. Subscribe to a handful of your favorite blogs via RSS feeds.
Social Networks: Be selective with Active Rain, LinkedIn, MySpace, Facebook, Tweeter, etc. You don't have to belong to all of them. Who has the time?
Time block: Allocate time for work, exercise, volunteering, YOUR personal time, entertainment, family, church. Don't give all your time to information overload and checking email till 2 a.m. in the morning
Remember the 48 hour rule: Act on something in 48 hours or it will never get done, or know you have let that one slip by which is ok too.
Disconnect and unplug "occasionally" for a sanity break: It may be a half day or full day or on vacation. But know it all will be there in an overwhelming sense when you get back. But this idea is good for you. Refresh and re-charge.
Multitask well: Learn that it is "ok" to be triple or quadruple booked at the same time, and then you pick the priority "one" based on what you value. Be comfortable in being overbooked. Everyone else is too.
Time: It all is about time. You only have so much in a day. Balance things out and don't let the information overload freak you out. Laugh about it, and discuss it with your co-workers. Mess up your hair and scream. The sun will still come up tomorrow. Who knows? Maybe you will feel like fishing in the morning and you'll leave your cell phone back in the car at the boat ramp. Or throw it in the water. Above all, enjoy your life!!