Thursday, December 13, 2012

The ONE Step Secret To Reducing Information Overload

For years there has been a lot of information floating around that offers tips on how to effectively reduce information overload.  There has been so much published about the subject that I would posit that all the checklists aimed at reducing information overload are actually contributing to it.

I believe there is ONE fundamental principle that, when embraced, truly helps us reduce most of the information overload that we experience.

In order to demonstrate this principle, I would like to ask that you humor me with the following experiment.

When you click on the sample phonebook page shown below, you will be presented with a larger image of that page.

I want you to look for Becky Carter on the phonebook page, look at the last digit in her phone number, close the page and return to this blog.

Ready? Click on the image to get started.


Welcome back!








Now … tell me the profession of the person immediately preceding Becky Carter.

In fairness, MOST of you did see the other person.  You had to in order to zero in on Becky.

However …..

Many of you will protest that my question is not a fair one since you were asked to look for different information.

Most will not even recall seeing a profession listed for the previous person.

A lot of you will not even remember the name of the person listed before Becky.

And, unfortunately, some of you have now forgotten the last digit in Becky’s number.

It turns out that Barbara Carter, the name prior to Becky, is an MD.

There are official physiology and neurology-based explanations for what just happened here but complex explanations are not important for now.

Here’s what is important.

When I gave you a specific task, seeking a specific piece of information, you zeroed in on that piece of information and ignored all the other superfluous pieces of information around it.

By the same token, when our Life has specific tasks, wired around purpose, intention and goals, we automatically enable appropriate levels of filtering and discernment, tossing out or ignoring the information that doesn’t meet our needs in moving towards our Life goals.

So “10 steps to this” or “15 steps to that” are all fine when it comes to information overload.

However, once you know where you are going in Life and how you intend to get there, you will find that filtering out fluff is a lot easier and comes much more naturally to you than using the complex processes the “experts” would have you believe you need.

So the next time you are feeling overloaded with information, ask yourself this question instead of seeking out another checklist.

How do I know that my personal or professional goals are defined specifically enough to enable me to be more focused and more discerning?

This question is often far more difficult to answer than the candy-coated, it’s-all-so-easy checklists.

However, being able to answer this question is much more important and will reveal volumes about how you let in so much noise …..

…. and why.

In service and servanthood,


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