Ever notice how we all have this need to know everything or experience a fear of missing out (FOMO) on something fun or exciting? This issue might be related to information overload, which is the exposure to or provision of too much information or data. This has become a serious issue in today’s world.
According to studies, information overload also causes behavioral issues and affects your memory and ability to learn well. Taking in so much information a day can be very stressful, especially because we only take in about half or less of the information we learn in a day. Our brain has been affected by information overload, which causes it to make decisions based on what is easiest or what we are most accustomed to.
In Philosophy of Technology class, we talked about all these things and decided that we wanted to do something about it. We heard a podcast from WNYC on information overload and signed up for a week-long challenge. Each day had a different activity to do. On day one, we had to try to not multitask all day: meaning no watching TV while doing homework, or having multiple tabs open. The purpose of this first challenge was to help us focus on one thing and not try to take everything in at once. I am used to opening ten tabs of homework assignments and trying to do them all at the same time somehow, which is one reason why this challenge was the hardest for me.
The last three challenges were easier. On day two, we had to organize the flow of our phones and delete all the unneeded apps. This challenge was to help us not have all the unneeded apps that are simply there as more information or to waste space. This challenge was one of the easiest because I already an organized phone. I put all my social media in a folder and my music in another. I then deleted all the apps I didn’t use, which gave me so much space.
Day three’s challenge was to ignore a trending topic. This challenge was meant to help with the issue of FOMO. This was the second hardest for me because I decided to ignore snapchats’ daily articles, which are always providing that ‘trending topic’.
Lastly, on day four we had to have a 7 minute in-person conversation without interruptions. The reason for this was because our generation now wants to be on their phones scrolling through Instagram, or reading articles, or listening to podcasts rather than being in community with people or actually having a conversation in-person. I loved this challenge, and thought it was the easiest and actually fun.
Information overload is a current issue today, but it’s something we can all try to fix. If you ever have the chance, I recommend doing that challenge and listing to the podcast. This challenge is fun, informative, and something that could help you in your everyday life.