As much as 41% of US employees spend an average of one or more hours per day just searching for relevant information from computer networks. This happens due to abundant and disorganized information at the workplace which again is the consequence of Information Overload.
Although the word “Information Overload” might be new for many, but the issue that it addresses is a continuing hindrance in data-driven industries as well as in personal life. Information overloading psychology is based upon the idea of ignoring what’s important at present to focus on the future. A study about time management displayed that 51% of students admit that they lose an hour of productivity every day. The major reason behind this was excessive social media usage and internet distraction. These are some of the most damaging downsides of information overloading for students.
Let’s dig deep into the article to learn more about Information overload meaning and causes of Information overload.
What is Information Overload?
The influx of information has reached a record high and with each day passing it is only projected to go up. The below fact about information generated every minute can give you an idea about the scale of the problem named information overload.
Information overloading occurs when someone is presented with more information than they can process or require. This can lead to confusion, frustration, and difficulty in making decisions. It decreases productivity and increases stress levels for working professionals as they’re buried in information from the left right and center in their jobs.
Often, this overwhelming pouring of information fails an individual in prioritizing the tasks and projects as per the deadlines. For instance, overlooking an important meeting with the investors or a discovery call with a prospect due to plenty of tasks on hand.
Causes of Information Overload
Here are a few factors that are mainly responsible for causing Information Overload.
Vast Information Availability:
With the proliferation of the internet and social media, there is an almost endless amount of information available to us. It is not easy to filter through it all to find what is relevant or important. Daniel Levitin, McGill University psychology professor and author of “The Organised Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload.” has mentioned this in his book. He mentioned that a conscious mind can pay attention to three, maybe four, things at once. If you get much beyond that, you begin to exercise poorer judgment, you lose track of things and you lack focus.
Rapid Information Presentation:
In today’s fast-paced world, information is being presented at a rapid pace, making processing and absorbing information difficult. A report published in 2012 shares a few shocking facts regarding it. It mentions that 1.8 million scientific articles have produced been each year, which makes it 5000 papers each day. (source)
The format of the information:
Some formats, such as long, dense text or complex graphs and charts, can be difficult to understand or interpret. Hence, the average first-page results of google contain 1447 words which shows that as a search engine, google knows what will help the users more.
To manage information overload, it is important to do the following:
- Set boundaries,
- Limit the amount of information you consume and
- Develop strategies for filtering and organizing the information you do receive.
It can also be helpful to take breaks and give yourself time to process and absorb new information.
To relate to a few actual problems, here’s an excerpt that shows how information overload is the main reason behind them.
|Primary Problem||Reason||Field of Information|
|Stressed after waking up||Unchecked Mails||Emails|
|Irrelevant Data||Data Abundance||Data Collection|
|Discussing Political Affairs||Debate on Political Parties||Social Media|
|False Information||Data Abundance||Data Collection|
|Strained Eyes||Too much Screen time||Entertainment|
|Missed Deadlines||Overlooked due to other tasks||Work Overload|
|Client Complaints||Unadhered design briefs||Briefs|
If you think about it, information overload is all around us and affecting our day-to-day lives.
Harmful effects of Information Overload
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Overcoming brain information overload is not only about eliminating all information but also about finding ways to effectively manage and filter the information you receive. This may involve setting limits on the amount of information you consume, developing strategies for organising and prioritising information and taking breaks to absorb new information. By learning to manage information overload, you can improve your productivity and decision-making as well as your overall well-being.
There are several harmful effects of information overload or information abundance:
It is difficult to focus and complete tasks efficiently when you are overwhelmed with too much information. This can lead to:
- Decreased effectiveness,
- Reduced efficiency and
- Compromising punctuality etc.
Missed deadlines and postponement of submissions are some of the worst harmful effects of Information Overload.
Difficulty making decisions:
Too much information can make it difficult to evaluate the importance of different pieces of information and make effective decisions. Furthermore, it often leads to confusion in trusting overlapping information which affects the reliability of the information used.
Information overload can lead to increased stress and feelings of anxiety and frustration. Indeed, accessing large amounts of data is time-consuming and a tedious process. This adds to the stress levels and anxiety of the data processor.
Decreased job satisfaction:
When you are unable to effectively process and use information, it can lead to decreased job satisfaction. At the same time, this further leads to a sense of feeling overwhelmed. A large amount of data misleads the employee and makes them doubt their abilities for their job.
Information overload can have negative effects on your overall well-being, including physical symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, as well as decreased motivation.
To be specific, the advent of social media had had a very adverse impact on the mental health of people. Here’s a graphical representation of the perceived impact of social media on mental illness and the numbers are nothing but shocking.
All of these data hold the bitter truth about advancing technology and the impact of information overload in general.
The Bottom Line
In such a scenario of overwhelming information in an ever-busy world, a tool that can handle this efficiently is the need of the hour. How about getting well-researched, to-the-point answers and relevant information within a few clicks? Well, this is what Pluaris is here to take care of.
As a unique combination of AI technology and data science, this tool is here to make your life better. Ideally, it can help you with end-to-end data solutions when there’s data abundance. It’s a data science product that allows teams to work efficiently although being a remote job. It’s an AI-backed data software that crawls 24/7 through the data. After crawling, it extracts the most relevant information from all the resources available on the internet.