Are you a victim of information overload? Do you have trouble completing what you started?
My computer hates me, I’ve got Photoshop, Lightoom and about 50 browser windows open. I’ve started five projects in the last 10 minutes and haven’t finished any of them. I’m so overloaded with things to do, I’m getting nothing done…maybe I’ll just go play on Facebook.
Does this sound like you when you finally find the time to get your work done? As a new mom with many, many projects going on all at once (seriously you don’t even want to know) I’ve become very aware of just how precious my ‘free’ time is. It seems like there’s always spit up to wash out of something or bottles to clean so the last thing I want when I can finally sit down to work is to feel so overwhelmed I shut down.
So how do you get past the “I have to do everything right now” feeling? Personally there are a few things I do. First, I’m a list maker I sit down and write out everything I have floating around in my brain, even the random things that are someday items just to clear my head. I usually use a notepad and make little sections on the pad, one for blog ideas, one for design work I need to finish, whatever categories you need…it’s your list! By the time I’m done it’s usually a mess but at least then I’m not trying to keep a million things in the back of my mind to remember later.
Then I take my list and go through and circle a few (not more than 3 unless I know I have plenty of time or they’re easy tasks) things that I want to get done in the time I have allotted. Those are the things I start working on, doing my best to ignore everything else. If I’m working on a project and a thought creeps in then I’ll just add it to the list and continue with what I was working on, no jumping from thing to thing!
Another thing I do that some people may or may not find helpful is make sure I use an internet browser with tabs. If I’m researching something and I stumble across something interesting that I want to read I’ll save it for later by opening it in a new tab. then when I finish my task I’ll go through any opened tabs and bookmark them, being sure to organize them into folders and add tags or keywords so I can easily find them later.
I try to minimize other distractions by not opening social media sites or my email while I’m working either. If I’m writing a post and I want to share it on Facebook I’ll write and publish the post before I even log on to Facebook or Pinterest and then I’ll allow myself a certain amount of time on the site and then close out again. Sometimes I’ll even sit down and use Facebook’s new feature to schedule posts in advance, then I don’t have to think about it again and it’s one more thing off my list. For conquering email I try to implement the touch it once rule and also utilize a variety of tools to help me speed through it such as templates and Google labs. You can also set aside a specific period of time as ‘unsubscribe time’ where you go through and unsubscribe from all those e-mail lists you have no idea how you got on. Depending on how many lists you’re on that in itself could save you an hour a day!
So, in order to save yourself from suffering from information overload you can try one or all of the following:
- Make a list before you start.
- Do one thing at a time.
- Stay off social media and e-mail.
- When you are on, limit your time and use tools like templates or scheduling posts.
- Take advantage of your browsers tools like tabs and bookmarks.
And most importantly is something that everyone should remember regardless of how many things they have going on, take a little me time. Whether your idea of me time is heading out to the back yard to garden or heading off shopping it’s important to schedule things like that in. You’ll clear your head and come back ready to tackle your to do list.
When she’s not putting off the dishes to play with her adorable little boy you can find Jessica off taking photos for her business, Capture Life, or doing one of her other favorite things and sharing all she knows about life, business and photography on the Ambitious Photographer site.Project MCP: Highlights from September, Challenge #2
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