How can I cope with the huge amount of information coming at me every day? I feel like I'm "drinking from a fire hose."
Answer From Edward T. Creagan, M.D.
There are two concepts that might help you cope with the amount of information you receive each day through social media, online sites, email and other outlets.
- Recognize you have limited bandwidth. You have only so much capacity on your mental and emotional hard drive. You can only take in a certain amount of information at once. An overloaded hard drive can't function properly.
Practice selective listening. Learn to focus on what's important amid the flood of information and chatter. This "noise" can distort the messages that matter and can keep you from attending to what you need to do.
You can only focus on a certain number of things at one time. Consider being selective about the information you take in on social media, online sites, email and other outlets.
Try this: At the start of each day, write down three measurable and achievable tasks. This might be something as simple as washing your car or making a doctor's appointment. Then build your day around achieving these tasks.
Feb. 05, 2020
- Creagan ET (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. Nov. 29, 2017.
- Levitin DJ. Too much information, too many decisions. In: The Organized Mind. New York, N.Y.: Plume; 2014.
- Seaward BL. The sociology of stress. In: Managing Stress: Principles and Strategies for Health and Well-Being. 9th ed. Burlington, Mass.: Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2018.