Towards WE & BEYOND – Impressions from a shared journey Part X
Information overload … attention request overload … choice overload … opportunity and possibility overload …just … Overload !!!
We stumbled across this topic when Bettina confessed to not having worked on our Blog as originally discussed. Ah yes, we all have so much to do…. Though no, it seems even worse! There are so many things we WANT to do!
How to choose, how to prioritise?
Do you have times where you just feel overwhelmed and overloaded: I would like to write this blog – I would also like to develop the slides for my next teaching session, I definitely would like to work on the presentation for the workshop next week, I would like to cook for my friends, play with my kids, and I would love to go for a walk! Of course I also HAVE to do most of these things, but the point is, I really want to, too! *
We constantly have to make choices – even buying a cup of coffee nowadays throws up a multitude of possibilities: black? White? Cappuccino? Latte? Skinny? Full fat? Decaf? White sugar, brown sugar, sweetener? Is this appreciated ABUNDANCE – or overloading BURDEN?
Are you one of the many who postpone the decision of buying a computer or new mobile phone so you do not have to go through trying to figure out what differentiating criteria are, and why to prefer one over the other? So what should be the main purchasing criteria?! Surely Apple’s success was in part driven by the simplicity of choice. Companies (including Apple today) generate variety to give the consumer choices, but we increasingly observe it rather causes CONFUSION…
In the current world, does the information and opportunity overload lead us to rely even more on the familiar and what we are used to? How to nurture a spirit of exploration and experimentation when our instinct might be to retrench?
And what about the perceived necessity to decide in ‘real time’. While we have more data available today than ever before – according to an IBM report from 2013 every day 2.5 quintillion bytes of data (1 followed by 18 zeros) are created with 90% of the world’s data available in the 2 years leading up to the report – do we have the time to find the bits that are relevant and meaningful to us: to distill information out of them or even develop knowledge to use them properly? In fact, do we have an appropriate skill- and mindset? Have you been taught ‘sense-making’ and the evaluation of enormous amounts of data in your school education?
The context around us has changed so much, have our capabilities adapted to survive or preferably thrive in it?
Perhaps one thing will help, at least with the weighty and difficult question on how we spend our time, and herewith we are offering our tenth insight: if you know your own purpose and the contribution you want to make, you develop the antennas to filter out what’s relevant in the abundance. Then LIFE helps to set priorities.
* PS We have just come across an interesting academic article that addresses the issue of choice and time pressure. The study has found that “Freedom of choice impacted [the perception of] time deprivation. Subjects reported higher levels of time deprivation when they thought of activities that were not compulsory than when they thought of those that were, regardless of how much they enjoyed them.” Now, that is really rather fascinating: it seems easier to get on with what we know we mustdo, than make choices between things we could do! And the authors conclude: “They [our findings] suggest that more [activities in your leisure time] is not necessarily better. Perhaps fewer and simpler pursuits lead to less time pressure and more feelings of satisfaction with time spent.”Comments in brackets added by us.