Do You Suffer From Information Overload?

Do you ever feel surrounded by tons of information that you think you don’t have time to consume? I guess everyone remembers that feeling when you are glancing at your RSS reader and say to yourself: “Jeez, that’s really interesting, all that new development tools and useful refactoring patterns, but I don’t really have time for that, I need to finish my project, cause the deadline is coming”. In addition, there are also very interesting things that go around us, including Facebook updates from your friends, new photos from your Flickr pals and fresh tweets from your mates. In contrast to that serious news on software development, we always tend to read updates from our friends, moreover we become addicted to that kind of news, so we are constantly checking our e-mails, reply to instant messages and so on. In the mean time we still have to work and have normal rest away from the computer :)!

That’s crazy, I must say. We have so many different things that are meant to make our life easier, but we don’t work less, we don’t have have to absorb less amount of information, in fact that amount increases.

I don’t imply that services like Twitter are bad and only make us addicts, nope. I just think that we should use them smartly in a way that lets us get a benefit from using them, not to become their brainless slaves. There are already dozens of articles and discussion on this matter on the Net, for instance, there is an article on Wikipedia on information overload that defines it as:

Information overload refers to an excess amount of information being provided, making processing and absorbing tasks very difficult sue to excessive seemingly irrelevant information[1]. As the world globalizes, more people use the internet to conduct their own research [2] and produce and consume in increasing quantities[3][4]. As of 2007 there were over 108 million websites[5]. Users are active [6]editors[7] in the Digital and Information Age [8]. As we are dependant on access to information,[citation needed][9][10] we are overloaded by a large constant flow of information.

It’s pretty clear, I think. We do really have more information sources and information itself that we can absorb. And information becomes a distracting factor that prevents us from being productive and even puts a stress on us. Sure, we must avoid that and use information sources wisely in a way that enables us to work more efficiently.

Mike Borozdin (Twitter)
5 February 2009

The opinions expressed herein are my own personal opinions and do not represent my employer's view in any way. My personal thoughts tend to change, hence the articles in this blog might not provide an accurate reflection of my present standpoint.

© Mike Borozdin