May 10, 2013

Overwhelmed by TMI

I have been feeling overwhelmed by too much information lately. Not in the “I’m-all-offended-because you’re-telling-me-too-much-information” kind of way, but more in the “I-don’t-know-what-to-do-with-all-this-information-overload-in-the-world” kind of way. 

And the Internet is in large part to blame.

It has become so fundamental to us for so many things – for researching, for communicating, for creating, which is why I freaking love it. Practically everything you need to or want to know is on there, at your fingertips at any given time. But because of this kind of access, the Internet has produced a kind of live information feed of EVERYTHING that you either WANT or DON'T WANT to hear or read about.  And it all has become incredibly overwhelming.

I am admittedly a full participant in what the web has to offer: I’ve got my various social networking accounts and profiles (Facebook, Pinterest, LinkedIn, you name it); I keep most of my favorite websites on Google Reader, except for the stragglers that I have bookmarked on various computers, the lack of organization of which is, quite honestly, driving me bananas these days; and I have my various favorite go-to news sites (in particular, the Daily Beast and Huffington Post). 

While I like to feel connected and informed on current matters, there is an undesirable byproduct of this all, which is as true and as cliched as it sounds: information overload.  For this reason, I admire my good friend Elizabeth who up and quit Facebook cold turkey several months ago. She finds herself more content and at peace, not to mention the fact that she doesn't even miss it.  She has also found herself making more of an effort to initiate contact with her friends and family the old-fashioned way:  via telephone or email. While I admire that, I know that quitting Facebook is not the answer.

Because for me, it’s a bigger issue.  This was revealed to me as I was driving home last night clicking through all my SiriusXM presets and feeling overwhelmed by that too. I love the liberty of being able to choose, but what good is choice when it becomes so limitless that we continually feel unsettled in our decision(s)?

Technology is supposed to streamline things – and it does in many ways – but if the side effects are stress, dissatisfaction, and feelings of being overwhelmed, something ain’t right, right? While I want to find a way to scale back my reliance and the pressure I feel from it, I know that giving it up completely is not realistic or something that would be beneficial to me, since it is very much a fabric of our/my contemporary existence.  And, besides, I like a lot of what technology has to offer.

I am a believer in self-awareness, especially as it relates to being the first step toward addressing anything.  So, for now I'm going to sit tight and think about it for a bit, but my hunch is that I might need to simplify my life or tweak my perspective.  But if you have any tips or pearls of wisdom in the meantime, I’m all ears, and eyes, AND fingertips. (Oh, you know it's true.) 


Cheri said...

As always, very thought provoking. You bring about an interesting perspective and it's definitely one to consider! Once again, thank you for the insight!

SovereignMH said...

Just keep the SiriusXM on Opie and Anthony. That'll keep you from being overwhelmed there!

Sarah Woehler Michaud said...

Awww...thanks, Cheri. I always enjoy your posts too!

And Mister Marcus, you better believe I'll be continuing to tune into O&A on Sirius. After all, where would I get my inspiration from? :-)

Sara Nadeau said...

My thoughts exactly! It's all so overwhelming! And the point you made about the inherent indecision of too many options is right on.
It's part of why we got rid of TV and why I often forget my phone (intentionally?) for large stretches of a day. Unplugging and getting away from it seems like the best way to regain the quiet - even in a house with 2 small children :-)

Sarah Woehler Michaud said...

Impressive that you got rid of your TV! But I agree, unplugging and getting away is really the best way to recalibrate the balance.

PS We need to do a girls' dinner sometime!