Avoid Information Overload

Information overload occurs when we receive more info than our brain can process. Even if it is good information, too much of a good thing just is not good anymore—it’s bad. Whether you’re an info addict or a Zen advocate, information overload affects us all.

This excerpt is from an article I read on ThinkSimpleNow.com about the cost of overfeeding the information appetite.

  • Productivity Loss. In the face of too much information, we can easily get lost in the details. We waste time focusing on unimportant information and lose sight of our goal and purpose.
  • Mind Clutter. The noise created by media and other sources of information clutters our minds and takes away from our inner peace.
  • Lack of Time. Rich or poor, young or old, we all have the same limited amount of time in a day. And instead of spending a good chunk of my day filtering through incoming information, I’d rather spend the energy on bringing more enjoyment and fulfillment into my life.
  • Lack of Personal Refection. I find that if I am constantly consuming information, then I forget to connect with myself (and others). I realize that valuable personal refection comes when we create a “space” for it in our lives. If there is always noise, then we won’t have the mental capacity to reflect within.
  • Stress & Anxiety. Information inflow creates the illusion that we have more tasks to fill our lives than we have time for. Often, we might suddenly feel nervous without understanding why. Every piece of information carries with it energy which demands our time. Even if we consciously ignore it, a part of us saw that data and recorded it within our subconscious.

Life is overwhelming enough as it is. Your church or organization shouldn’t be piling more on top of an already mounting problem, especially when people are looking for answers that will make a difference. If you want to be a credible source for those answers, here are ways you should be looking to help reduce that load.

  • Stick to the facts. Don’t over-sell, over-explain or over-control. Just provide the information someone needs to self-sort and self-decide. People don’t need a page on the philosophy of each ministry, activity or event. They do need to know who it’s for, what it is, when it happens and how to get there or sign up.
  • Stick to the point. Start with the end in mind before you’re about to do something. If you know the purpose behind your letter, brochure, meeting, etc., it makes it easier for you to stay on track and focused. Otherwise, it’s hard to recognize your own excess. Do you want people to show up or respond? What are you asking them to do? If you can’t answer that question easily, they won’t be able to either.
  • Consider the crowd. Does your announcement (bulletin or verbal) apply to everyone or just a handful of people? If it’s not affecting the masses, it’s just going to land like dead weight. Don’t punish the crowd to keep a few people happy (even if they are the most vocal). Find a way to deliver your news in appropriate venues.
  • Don’t intrude. Unless they’ve asked for it, people welcome unsolicited emails as much as a door-to-door salesperson during family dinner. Respect personal space, and put information in a place easy for people to find when they want it.

According to a Fast Company magazine article, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states unequivocally that 80% of our medical expenditures are now stress-related. Marketers have responded with superficial, tranquility promises: happiness in a perfume, peace in a lotion, focus in a drink, euphoria in a bubble bath, sex in a lip gloss, etc. Our response should be less complex, more authentic and, ultimately, life-giving. Don’t you agree? It’s as simple as dialing back the volume.

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kem@churchleaders.com'
Kem is the Communications Director at Granger Community Church. Kem leads worskshops, speaks at conferences and blogs about finding ways to remove the barriers that keep people from connecting with Christ. Kem is also the author "Less Clutter. Less Noise."