Information Overload

So the idea I want to present here is very simple and it was inspired by the book called Organized Mind written by Dr Daniel J. Levitin, who has PhD in psychology and currently training at Stanford University Medical School.

To help you understand this whole concept faster I have to explain or show to you some of his findings first. {no need to read the whole book, I will summarize it in few lines: D}

The first discovery is that we as human species have available only limited amount of mental energy per each day. This mental energy is being slowly depleted by each decision we make or by each piece of information we need to process {reason behind this is our brain needs to process 1000 times more information on our average day than our ancestor had to process during his average day, brain didn’t have enough time to adapt to this increase of information flow}.

The second finding of Dr Levitin is, there is no such a thing as multi-tasking. Meaning, when you try to concentrate on or perform more than one task at once. What is merely happening is our brain is rapidly switching from one task to another.

And lastly, as he found out that, switching between two or more tasks is a process which uses huge amounts of our mental energy, a lot more than anything else we encounter during the day {The one exception is decision making which also uses a lot}.

Now. For me to get to the practical application of these ideas I need to ask you one simple question. What do you think happens when our mental energy is depleted completely? The answer to this question is our concentration is gone, we do bad decisions and all that leads to mistakes {so in the end, people who make fewer mistakes than others are merely better in conserving their mental energy throughout the day and they try to avoid huge flows of information}.

So usually how it works is very simple. We have an only limited amount of mental energy available during our day. This includes everything you need to read and process throughout the day, any decision you have to make and anytime you need to switch your attention to something else. All of these will deplete a little bit of your mental energy available. When you lose it all throughout the day you focus is off. Your brain doesn’t have any more power to function properly. It is also called brain fog. Even though you try really hard you can’t seem to hold focus on things and mistakes arise.

Best thing to do is to concentrate on one simple task and you would improve very fast. The reason for it is you have one consecutive flow of thoughts about your task which helps you to understand depths of it by each minute you are doing it. Avoid huge chunks of information like social media and kind of all media in general. It just fills you with all this unnecessary information. Control how much new information you put in on daily basis. And also meditate more. Meditation is a direct cure for information overload because it lets your brain have rest time by not thinking about anything.

Avoid multitasking, it depletes your energy really fast. Letting people do one simple task makes them experts in that task a lot faster because of one uninterrupted flow of thoughts about that task and it saves their mental energy as well.

There is also a biological point of view to this. In a nutshell. What happens when our mental energy is depleted is our brain already used all available vitamins needed for its proper function. Also, additional water is needed for improved electric connections in the brain and a lot of sleep is a basic need for proper function of the brain as well.

Long story short to avoid mental fatigue. Avoid huge chunks of information, media, adverts, do not waste your energy on decisions that don’t really matter, do only one thing at the time, drink plenty of water, eat a lot of fruit and veggies containing important vitamins and minerals, improve quality of your sleep and also give yourself enough sleep to begin with. 

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