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Is information impacting our intellect? 5 ways to tackle information overload

I was once told that Information Overload or ‘Infomania’ – a condition in which the amount of information received exceeds our capacity to process it– affects cognitive function and IQ more than smoking marijuana. 

That was back in 2008. Social media had barely taken hold, Facebook was still in its relative infancy, Snapchat just a spawn of an idea. Fast-forward to today and 30% of all time online is spent on social media.  For the average person that means nearly 2 hours every day.  We also send more than 15 million texts per minute and 269 billion emails daily. Not to mention the overwhelming data that comes in verbal, auditory, written or physical forms.

We’ve created more information in the last 10 years than in all of human history before that, a reality that’s both impressive and terrifying in equal measure.

Is it really any surprise the average attention span of Generation Z is just 8 seconds long? We’re quite literally drowning in a sea of data and the dent information overload is having on UK Productivity and wellness is growing just as fast as the information itself.

Here are our top tips for getting out of the productivity rut and tackling information overload head on. The question is whether we can hold your attention long enough for you to read it!

Acknowledge presenteeism

There’s a dangerous myth that working longer sends the right message to the powers that be. That by being at our desk we’re being productive. The reality is that presenteeism – the act of being present in body, not in spirit - is crippling businesses, whilst having a pretty significant impact on our physical and mental health.

Be honest with yourself… how much of your day are you really firing on all cylinders? Whilst we may not be nailing it 100% of the time, we can all benefit from being present. Take that break, enjoy some fresh air, walk and talk, fuel your body and mind. You’ll be better for it.

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The cost of presenteeism in the U.S. is estimated to be more than $150 billion a year

Find deeper connections

We’re firm believers that finding a greater sense of purpose is what connects people. To each other, to their work and to their goals, and for us this is all about the Pursuit of Better.

For many people, learned or habitual obsessiveness – answering emails, responding to texts, checking Facebook – often arises to fill a void.  Filling this void with a greater sense of purpose and deeper connection to a company’s vision, goals and journey can reduce the need for external stimuli and help people stay present. An astronaut checking email during lift-off is an almost absurd concept to contemplate. It doesn’t happen. When people are absolutely connected to the mission at hand, they’re not wanting more.


We live in a world of communications. We thrive on helping our clients cut through the very sea of noise that’s leading to ‘Infomania’ and capture audience’s attention.

The motto “It’s good to talk” is one that communications professionals live by. Yet we’ve all been there, grappling with a problem for far too many hours, plugging away at a challenge in the firm belief that we’ll get there... in the end.

Creative problem solving can and should be done as a collective. Maybe not all the time but as the old adage goes, a problem shared is a problem halved, so the faster you get over your hesitations and begin pooling brainpower from across your organisation, friendship group, family, the faster you may reach that answer.

Add no to your vocabulary

People pleasing by always saying yes is a route of evil when it comes to productivity. Not only can it create stress but is a huge sap on efficiency. It’s a simple fact that you can never be productive if you take on too many commitments — you simply spread yourself too thin and won’t get anything done well and on time.

Practice the art of saying no. Understand your limits, embrace prioritisation and focus on fewer, bigger, better. It can be liberating as much as it is effective.

Learn the art of skim reading and active listening

Together these can be a formidable combination. Helping you to sift through the noise and decipher what the real need is, not just the ask, they can help fast track solutions – quickly.

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