What is Information Overload?
You’ve decided that you want to quit your job and start your own business. Now what? The first step most people take is the to gather information. You’ve most likely never started a business before and aren’t sure where to start. Being the wise, knowledge seeker you are (I’m certain of this. You wouldn’t be reading this right now if you weren’t), you go to the library, bookstore or Amazon and pick up every book you can about how to start a business. You talk to everyone you know that owns a business, you listen to 30 different podcasts about how to start a business and you watch hours of Youtube videos. And at the end of the day you have information overload, feel unequipped and are fearful that this idea of starting a business will never work.
You’re operating on information overload.
What to do about it
So what do you do when you’ve got information overload? First, go back to the sources. Who are you listening to and why are you listening to them? When I say listen I mean that you’ve gather information. So that listening may have come from a book, a podcast or your dry cleaner. You’ve gotten information and you’re trying to turn into knowledge.
1. Consider the source
Examine who that information is coming from. Look at that person’s track record. Ask these questions:
- Are they doing what you’d like to do?
- Are they actually running a profitable self-sustaining business?
- How long have they been a business owner?
- Do they run a profitable business that is providing them with freedom or are they chained to their business 24/7?
Before taking information in examine the source. Only after you’ve determined that the source is reputable, should you proceed to follow that direction or guidance.
2. Does it resonate?
Secondly, think about whether or not the information resonates with you. When you are taking in the information, are you learning a new idea, or are your concepts being confirmed? When information pulls at your heart strings or it really hits home, it is information that you’ll have the capacity to capitalize on. If you’re receiving information and it either makes no sense to you or you are instantly bored, move on. Even if it’s the best information in the world you’re either not ready to receive it or it’s just bad info.
3. Consider the delivery
Think about the delivery of the information. Is it information that you can consume in a manner that allows you to think. We aren’t taking in the information just for the sake of taking it in. We’re reading, listening and exploring for the sake of knowledge. The goal is to learn. According to Dan Miller author of 48 Days to the Work You Love, about 15% of the knowledge you have will be obsolete within 10 years. 15%! That’s a lot. Technology and our world is changing so quickly that you have to be a constant learner to continue to be prosperous and successful. You should always have that learning mentality. Your ability to learn will give you power.
4. Do something with it
Next, you have to apply what you learn. If you don’t take action, all the knowledge in the world won’t help you. You must take action. Create a system to filter the information that you’re receiving. I use spiral bound notebooks. I write all my aha moments in a notebook so that I can reference them later. I also underline and write notes like crazy in books.
When I come across something I love, I capture that information. If I’m driving and listening to a podcast, I pause the podcast go to the voice recorder and note the information that I’ve learned. Next, I integrate this information into my world. I make signs or notes around the house. I create affirmations and I set goals for my business. By having a system in place I’m able to filter the information and take action. Actions lead to results. Without action you can learn everything there is to know and nothing will change in your day to day life.
Finally, I create accountability. If I’ve gained the knowledge, I’ve captured the knowledge and I’ve put it on my to do list I need to just do it. I need to have someone telling me day in and day out that I must do what I’ve said I will do. Creating accountability can be difficult at times, so it’s important to surround yourself with people who will hold you too it. People that you can share your entrepreneurial passions with. There is a ton of information out there and when you’re feeling overwhelmed by the information that you’re consuming the answer isn’t to just stop consuming, it’s to process that information effectively.