Thursday, January 07, 2016

The Answer to Information Overload


Interesting podcast this morning:  Note to Self featured famed neuroscientist Daniel Levitin speaking about how to get through the day in an organized fashion in this era of data overload.  He pointed out that since we are getting inputs from 384 different sources at once it's literally impossible to keep everything in our heads at once.  The host, who I really like (Manoush Zomorodi) began the segment with a brain frying rant about all of the things she was trying to hold in her head at once and how it was driving her absolutely crazy on a continual basis.

MANOUSH.  PLEASE consider a planner.  Maybe even a Hobonichi.  I cannot stress enough how this simple stack of paper helps me:

- prioritize
- not miss details
- keep track of appointments
- keep track of commitments
- keep track of to-do items
- CALM myself down about all of the above and not have that frazzled/overloaded/panicky feeling about "whatdoineedtobedoingrightnow!?!?"

It doesn't require batteries.  I do not have to switch from app to app.  I do not have to (as Levitin suggests) open up multiple email accounts for things of different priority (this idea did not appeal to me at all).  I can write things down on a longer-range to do list, to be dealt with later.  I can plan out my top priorities for the day.  I can store fun memories to potentially refer to later, or brilliant (or even non-brilliant!) ideas.  I can fit in everything from meal plans to play dates to work deadlines in this one place -- important, because if I were using separate apps or electronic calendars it is so easy to accidentally schedule things at overlapping time periods.

I can honestly say that since using this thing -- with its daily / weekly / monthly layouts and tons of space for me to plan / analyze / track list to my heart's content -- I am so much more peaceful about what I need to be doing and ought to be doing at any given moment.  It is because of my planner that I can relax at the end of the day because everything essential has been dealt with (or is on the docket for when I need to address it).

I realize the answer to The Age of Information Overload cannot possibly be this simple . . . or this technologically unsophisticated.

But maybe for me it is.