Shutting Down Information Overload To Combat Content Obesity

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As information has become more readily available and widespread over recent years, content obesity has no doubt increased. Perhaps your business would greatly benefit from you going on an information diet to shut down information overload.

When you consume information with the intention of taking action in your business, you should only consume content that aligns with your goals and where you are in your business right now - not a year from now and not even next quarter. You must allow time for content to resonate then execute on what you learned. If you continuously just consume content without soaking it in and acting on it, you become content obese which creates stagnation in your business. You face information overload in which you become so overwhelmed by the mass amount of information you’re consuming that you lose track of what you had wanted to accomplish and fail to take action. Too much information pushes you into perpetual learning mode instead of action taking mode which is where you need to be to grow your business.

Consuming loads of content can make you feel like you’re accomplishing a lot simply because you’re doing something, but it doesn’t mean you’re being productive. It just means you’re busy. If you regularly listen to a podcast or read a blog that doesn’t align with your goals, no matter how great the content is, it will just derail you off your path to success.

You need to be selective as to what content you consume, especially because most of it goes in one ear and out the other. Research on the Forgetting Curve shows that in general, people forget an average of 70 percent of new information 24 hours after learning it and within a week, 90 percent. So not only are you likely spending too much of your valuable time devouring information like it’s going out of style, but you’re not even remembering most of it long enough to take action on it.

Be super discerning and savvy as to who you are letting between your ears including the courses you buy, classes you take, seminars and conferences you attend, books you reading, and podcasts you listen to. If the content you’re consuming doesn’t fundamentally align with the direction you want your business to go, you’ll wind up with a hodgepodge of conflicting ideas and recommendations. You might think bringing together pieces from every expert on a subject will create a seamless flow and growth in your business, but that is not usually the case. Some puzzle pieces will be missing; others won’t fit together. Trying it all instead of being discerning with the information you take in it will leave you confused and failing to act.

One great way to cut down on information overload is to seek out quality instead of quantity information. That means if you want to learn about time blocking, don’t read every article you can find about time blocking. Instead, only seek out information from a trusted expert whose content is consistently good and read their article on time blocking two or three times. Your mind is in a different, intermittently distracted place each time you read, so you will likely retain different information each go-around.

Try implementing the information you retained after the first read, then go back and read it again. You may understand the recommendations on a higher level now that you’ve tried them. Perhaps you had missed a step or tip needed to implement the strategy seamlessly the first time you read the article. There’s a lot of power in acting on the information you learn, going back to see where there might have been some gaps, then taking action again. The same principle applies to listening to podcasts and consuming any kind of actionable content.

When carefully selecting your content, remember to consume only information that you want to use in your business right now and not let the fear of missing out or FOMO steer you off course. If any marketing instills a fear in you to act now or buy now otherwise you’ll miss out, ask yourself if it is just a well-done marketing ploy you should walk away from because you wouldn’t have time to follow through right now anyway. If the timing is not right, any great product or service is just a distraction and would not serve your business.

Also, be careful not to let shiny object syndrome entice you to go off on tangents and distract you from the bigger picture of accomplishing your overarching goals. If you try every expertly marketed workshop, webinar, course, and podcast on a broad topic like entrepreneurship, you’ll never stop chasing that carrot and walk away with little retained information. You must narrow your focus and not let shiny objects distract you. If pursuing an interesting topic or great idea you stumble upon was not already in your 90-day plan, in most cases you should table it for next quarter and revisit the topic or idea then. You must have discipline and trust that when the timing is right for your business, the information will still be there.

As an entrepreneur, you’ve no doubt adopted a DIY mentality after being forced to take on many roles and undertake numerous specialized tasks such as bookkeeping and marketing. At the end of the day, you must be discerning as to what information you even need. While it’s important to have basic knowledge about every category of your business so you can make intelligent decisions, don’t spend your valuable time becoming an expert at everything. Determine how much you actually need to know before wasting time acquiring unnecessary info. You only need to know what’s necessary to run your core business. For other areas, delegate tasks and projects and align yourself with experts who will hold your hand and teach you the Cliff’s Notes as needed.

Be conscious of if you have a predilection for binging on courses. As a business owner on a quest for greatness, you possess a thirst for knowledge which can get out of hand if you’re not careful. Don’t buy every course you come across that promises to help grow your business. Having all those courses in your arsenal to refer to if and when needed may help you feel more confident but finding desired information among a ton of courses when needed would be like finding a needle in a haystack. The same goes for conferences, workshops, and books.

Do seek out content that will help you overcome obstacles, provide necessary knowledge to take the next steps in your business, and motivate you to continue on your path. Entrepreneurship is not a cake walk. You will need constant motivation. Do pursue action-driven information that aligns with your goals and strategic plan. If it doesn’t align, it’s not worth your time.

Take a good look at what you are currently consuming. If you determine you’re a Contentaholic, you’re likely suffering from content obesity and need to go on a strict information diet. Otherwise, you’ll just keep drinking that giant glass of information overload complete with all of its harmful side effects including unnecessary stress, feeling overwhelmed, burnout, decline in memory, lessened uptake of new, valuable information, productivity loss, and failing to grow your business or achieve your goals. Take action and Shut. It. Down. so you and your business can prosper.

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Amber De La Garza

About the author

Amber De La Garza is The Productivity Specialist! Amber helps small business owners maximize profits, reduce stress, and make time for what matters most by improving their time management and elevating their productivity! Amber is a sought after coach, trainer, speaker, writer, host of the Small Business Straight Talk Podcast, and creator of Leverage Lab®.

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