Overcoming Information Overload & FOMO

Like a lot of you, I have grown up on the internet. Information is way easier to find and consume but my struggle throughout adulthood has not only been in processing this information but also in keeping hold of it in my head for the purpose of eventually putting it to use. I followed a very common pattern of storing information:

  • Bookmarks
  • Read Later (Apps like Pocket & Instapaper)
  • Note Taking (Evernote, OneNote)
  • Kindle Highlights

All I had been doing was collecting information out of the sheer fear of missing out. I wanted to learn the latest trends in technology, read the best books that are out there, Watch the latest videos on Youtube, read the hottest new blogpost, the list keeps going on. I kept collecting, out of Fear Of Missing Out but also in the hope that one day there will be this one article, one book or one fine piece of information that will give me the key insight to making a difference in my life. But I could never really get through more than half the stuff that I had stored. I reached a point where looking at my Read later list was an instant cause of overwhelming. The list of books I had under ‘To-Read’ would instantly make me choke with the thought that I was falling behind and there is so much to catch up on. I was stuck with this ‘hustle mentality’ and the race to stay up to date.

Amongst many other things, The internet is an infinity pool. These pools are information portals and the resources never deplete but we can dip back into them whenever we want. There is no such thing as ‘catching up’ with all that is out there, it’s an endless cycle. Consuming content is one thing, It is almost as if we need an extension of our brain to be able to keep hold of this information. Eventually, it dawned on me, I have been collecting all of this information but have never spent time distilling and sharing my learning. Neither I spend any time reflecting on the learning. Hence, all I was left was for that magic moment to happen where one day I make this great discovery without ever putting any effort in focusing on the existing knowledge I had.

I realized I had to make some changes to get out of this constant restlessness in my mind. I took the following steps to overcome this feeling:

  • I stopped mindlessly consuming content. Instead, I switched to a more concious approach of carefully chosing what I read
  • Limiting the use of Social Media apps on my phone
  • Storing new information only when it resonates with me strongly
  • Starting this blog – so I can share my learning and learn from the experiences of others who find themselves in a similar situation

There is new information and discovery every day, but there is only so much time on our hands to go through it all. Instead of always ‘hustling’ for new information, I have begun switching my focus to only dig deep about a few things that matter most to me. This small change has brought me some amazing results. In a small period of time I have managed to:

  • be more productive
  • quell the restless feeling – it’s been a liberation!
  • Find the ONE THING that I love doing and caring about

As I embark on this journey of liberation from information overload, I tend to use this blog to capture my journey and hopefully make some new friends with whom my thoughts resonate.