What to do with information overload

September 27th, 2017

One struggle I’ve witnessed consistently with leaders — including this one — is we drown in information overload. There are more good ideas than we can ever implement.

We are constantly fed new information we can’t effectively analyze and implement. Whether from books, podcasts, conferences or what we come up with in the shower we just don’t know what to do with all the stuff in our heads. In fact, many times we fail to accomplish as much as we could simply because we have more information than we can adequately process.

Does this sound like your world?

  • You have a million ideas 
  • You have so many opportunities before you 
  • You don’t lack for information 
  • Your desk is covered with tiny notes or stacks of notes to yourself 
  • You have various notebooks full of ideas 


  • You are struggling to remember things 
  • You can’t keep up with all the ideas coming at you 
  • You see the note again and wish you’d seen it earlier — too late now 
  • You sometimes forget what the note means when you see it again 
  • You fail to act more than you seize the opportunity 

Here’s a quick tip:

Process the information.

Get a system now. The more organized the information,the less stress you’ll feel, and the more useful the information will be to you later.

Here are a few ideas:

  • Make a checklist of information in Excel
  • Go “old school” with a paper folder system
  • Learn Evernote
  • Find the best iPad app for information processing
  • Get training in Google Docs

Those are just a few suggestions. There are so many others. I am by no means an expert on which system to use. I personally use the Notes app on my phone, iPad and laptop, because it quickly syncs with iCloud and then I transfer the information (if it’s worth keeping) into a more permanent Evernote system.

It really doesn’t matter as much what system you use as long as you find something that works for you. Developing and learning a system for processing information is a key to being effective in a world of mass information.

Here’s my suggestion. If you implement it then it will be worth your time reading this post. Invest some time setting up your method of handling information. If you’re like me, that’s a laborsome process. It seems so unproductive for people wired to get things done. Get some help if you need it. The better the system the better you’ll be as a leader. The right system to process information can dramatically improve your leadership capacity.

Don’t let information overwhelm you. Become excellent at handling large loads of information.

The better you learn to process information, the better you’ll be at making information work for you.

There are certainly people reading this post who are better wired to process information than I am.

How do you process information?

 Ron Edmondson blogs at RonEdmondson.com.

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