The terms Burnout and Information Overload have become synonymous with the demands of the modern-day, post-pandemic workplace.
Of course, this is a conundrum. The same workplace that’s making so many of us feel drained and uninspired also requires us to bring our A-game to get ahead.
It begs the question:
How can we meet the demands of the times we’re living in if we’re operating at a fraction of what we’re capable of?
The Problem of Information Overload and Burnout is Widespread
As we can see in the chart below, the problem of burnout is real and people are looking for solutions.
We can see the number of Google searches for “how to deal with burn out” was already rising before the events of 2020, and then only got worse as the pandemic progressed.
Though it might feel like this problem is here to stay, with the right strategies, burnout can be overcome.
Here are my 4 tips to beating information overload and getting back a sense of clarity.
If your computer isn’t working properly, what do you do?
Do you ‘suck it up’ and keep working, or do you just hit restart?
Most people will restart their computer without batting an eye. But why not do the same for your mind?
While the extent that you can do this will depend on your situation, there are many ways, big and small, that we can hit our own ‘restart button’ that will have us feeling refreshed and reinvigorated.
If you only have a minute, you might try:
- Taking 5 deep breaths
- Closing your eyes and counting to 10
If you have a bit more time:
- Go for a walk
- Get some exercise
- Spend some time in nature
2. Put your Workspace in Order
It’s been said that our external environment often reflects our internal state. If our mindset is chaotic or in a state of flux from being under the pump at work we’ll often find that our environment follows suit.
Our desks become a mess of papers and files, or we keep way too many browser tabs or windows open that we can’t keep track of what we’re doing.
The beauty of this reflection is that it works both ways. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’ll find that stopping what you’re doing and tidying up has a positive effect on your mental state, giving you more headspace to focus and think clearly.
3. Get it Out of Your Head and Onto Paper
Your brain can only keep track of so many things at once.
If we store everything we need to know and keep track of in our brain, it can lead to information overload.
Remember, we have not evolved to deal with the amount of information modern life demands of us. To keep on top of everything we need to do, we need to effectively outsource our memory to an external source.
This can be things like:
- Scheduling software
- An organizer or planner
- To-Do Lists
The key is to de-burden yourself from information overload, leaving you with more headspace and clarity.
4. Mind Your Smartphone Use
If you think of your information diet like you would the food you consume, how much junk information are you consuming?
How many ‘empty calories’ are you using up on social media, news, or instant messaging instead of the important stuff?
Being in control of your smartphone use can make a huge difference in how we feel on a daily basis, and how much focus and energy we can give to the things that are important in our lives.