Dealing with Information Overload

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Are you suffering from an over-abundance of great information, and not enough time to absorb and apply it all? If so, read on to find out how I’m dealing with my own info-overload; perhaps my solution can help you too!

In the past few months, I’ve discovered several new, free, e-learning opportunities to advance my business, design, and marketing skills. Unfortunately, this resulted in so many great resources flooding my inbox, Twitter feed, and bookmarks, that I didn’t have enough time to read, watch, and listen to all of them!

In fact, I had enough material to be a full-time student for a week:

  • 4 one-hour webinars to watch
  • 3 short (30 minutes or less) videos to watch
  • About a dozen blogs to read
  • Two free e-books to read
  • At least 10 emails and articles to read
  • Plus time to apply everything that I would learn from all of the above
  • And several worksheets and ideas from past videos and webinars that I still need to finish or follow up on

So what is busy person to do?
My solution: I’m only taking advantage of learning opportunities that will help me reach my current business goals, and ditching the rest.

You can do the same by following these steps:

  1. First, ask “What am I trying to accomplish (e.g.: business goals)?”
  2. Then, once you’ve clarified your goals, figure out what areas you need the most help with, in order to reach those goals.
  3. When you’ve identified what you actually need to learn or brush up on, you can weed out the material that you DON’T need, and use only what you DO need.
    • Taking into account the skills and knowledge you already possess, get rid of any e-learning items that would be redundant (you already know most of it anyway, so just delete or unsubscribe).
    • Of the remaining items, ask yourself “Which of these will truly help me to get where I want to be, and which are just fluff (such as a five-minute video that only provides basic info)?” Your answers should tell you which ones to trash, and which ones to keep.
    • Add the items you chose to keep to your to-do list, starting with the most helpful (or most relevant or important). Read/watch/listen to one item at a time, and apply what you learned from it before moving on to the next one.
    • Refrain from adding or subscribing to any new feeds, blogs, or emails until you’ve taken advantage of the material you already have. If you run across a new opportunity that’s so fantastic you can’t pass it up, then delete or unsubscribe from something else to make room for it.

This system has enabled me to break free of the information overload, and I hope it helps you too! Feel free to leave questions or comments below!

And, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO ARE ACTUALLY LACKING IN FREE E-LEARNING RESOURCES, here are some of my favorites:
Passive Panda – how to earn more money, time and freedom
The Online Freedom Blog – make more money with your online business
Daily Worth – money management tips (geared towards women)
Create Hype – marketing tips for creative women entrepreneurs
Duct Tape Marketing – small business marketing
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) – thrice daily emails listing media/reporters/writers looking for sources; great way to get free publicity!

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About Barbara Austin

As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!

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