Information overload is a concept that has been plaguing the technologically advanced business community since the proliferation of the internet. In 1996, a Reuters study first presented the details of a rising medical phenomenon known as ‘Information Fatigue Syndrome,’ in a ground breaking article titled Dying for Information.
It goes like this: the internet generates information at an unprecedented rate. Over the last 30 years, humans have produced more information than in the previous 5,000 years and one copy of the New York Times contains more information than the 17th century man or woman would have encountered in an entire lifetime!
Increasingly, individuals are becoming overwhelmed with the volume, speed and complexity of the information they feel they need /want/have/should read and comprehend.
While today’s mantra is ‘Knowledge is Power,’ how much is too much? This is becoming the question that more and more business people are asking themselves and their medical and mental health professionals. You can start with The Reuters Guide to Good Information Strategy, which includes whole sections on the problem, how to recognize it and what to do about it.
More and more professionals and business people alike are experiencing panic attacks, stress-related illness and a constant feeling of being overwhelmed and if this is you, chances are you are experiencing ‘Information Fatigue Syndrome’ at some level. Put in some boundaries, get off some mailing lists, install some information filters and remember everyone has a capacity level, even you.