I need a more organized mind!
I am a self-professed dingbat. My dingbat-ed-ness has been getting worse.
Age? Maybe. But it comes and goes and on some days I am sharp as a tack.
Allergies? Big factor. On those days when every count on every measure is skyrocketing, my brain gets super foggy.
I love my brain. It’s my favorite place to hang out. But it doesn’t always cooperate when stuff needs to get done.
I KNOW I’m not the only one who struggles with this.
A big part of the issue is that moms, by nature, are multi-taskers. If you have raised small children, you have perfected multi-tasking to a high art. By necessity, most mamas can balance 4 or 5 tasks at the same time on those days when she is firing on all cylinders.
What about those days when the cylinders are clogged? Lack of sleep, too many activities, too many distractions coupled with a plain old bad day and our brains can feel like oatmeal.
My kids are older so I am gaining some perspective on this. I used to point with pride at the fact that I could get so much done. Now, I realize how detrimental it is to my brain and my relationships to multi-task.
Why? It’s a problem of attention shift. We think we are shifting our attention from item to item to item and doing it flawlessly. The reality is that each time the attention shifts, the brain has to adjust. Those adjustments take energy and deplete our overall energy and attentiveness.
In my case, my brain is disorganized because of information overload and I simply have to learn to deal with it.
What Are the Symptoms of Information Overload?
Information overload is a problem that a large number of us face every single day. This is one of the biggest concerns of the modern, digital age and it that can have a devastating effect on our health and on our mood.
Despite this though, many of wouldn’t describe ourselves as suffering from the condition, quite simply because we don’t really know what it is.
How do you know if you’re really suffering from information overload or if it’s just regular old ‘stress’?
Let’s take a look at specifically what information overload really is, what the main symptoms are and how it might be affecting your life.
Information overload, also known as ‘information fatigue’, basically describes a situation where you begin to feel weighed down by the huge amount of data that you’re forced to deal with on a daily basis.
The most obvious source of this information is all our technology. At any time you might be looking at multiple different screens at once, you might be waiting for notifications from your smart device and you might be listening to music. That’s a lot of different data streams, all of which require concentration and a shifting of concentration from thing to thing, and all of which can create at least a small amount of stress.
The Signs and Symptoms
The main signs and symptoms of information overload are similar to general stress.
What happens is that each time you’re focused on your computer screen, or you’re jolted awake by some kind of notification, this causes an elevation in stress hormones. At the same time, it requires mental energy, which of course is a finite resource.
Over time, this can then cause you to feel tired and ‘burned out’. You might also find though that you start to get tired from focusing and decision making. This can leave you drained and make it hard for you to continue focusing and making decisions. It’s a circular thing. For me, making decisions, especially digital decisions, causes me to feel fatigued and unmotivated because I have too many digital decisions to make. Help!
This decisions fatigue can have an impact on many areas of your life.
One time, during a particularly stressful season, the lady at the grocery store said, “Paper or plastic?” and I simply couldn’t decide! That simple decision had put me into overload, making me feel overwhelmed by the simplest request. Yikes!
Are you increasingly slower to make decisions? Are you less motivated? Are you sometimes downright confused?
I’m doing some research and reshuffling in my own life and will be sharing what I’ve learned here.
Let’s do this thing!
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Clearing clutter for an organized mind
Oh, can I ever relate! Recently, I have discovered that email filters are a HUGE help here! My phone is set to notify me (silently) when an email is received in my inbox. I have set filters on my inbox so that most of my ‘sales’ email and a few other ‘themes’ go to their own folder that I check at certain times and since they never show up in my inbox, I don’t get an email alert just because “BestBuy.com” sent me an email about their upcoming sale. I have also set a certain text alert for 2-3 key people in my life. Doing this ended up naturally training me to only react immediately when the alert tones for my key people go off. If it’s my regular text alert, I now know it’s not from my kids or my spouse, so it can wait. No one has been in an accident or anything. I have turned off ALL desktop notifications, so when I sit down at my computer, I’m the one in charge of my attention and work time.
I’m not saying I’ve solved the problem, or even really tamed the monster. After all, I clicked to read this, because I was looking for wisdom or at least a sister in the thick of it with me!! I’m learning too, and I look forward to hearing more from you (when I check my ‘blogs’ folder ;>) Thanks for sharing!!