Are you managing information overload?

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One of the main themes of the social media webinar that I presented for the PMI Lead Community of Practice was how to deal the additional information channels that social media tools provide.
People are often worried about how to manage information overload. They stop using tools that could be very helpful if used in the right way.
Graham Allcott discusses this in his book, “How To Be A Productivity Ninja”. Although it is a time-management book, it really focuses on how to stay organized. He said that information overload doesn’t mean having too much information. It’s a sign of other types of stress, he says.
Let’s take a look at them now.
This article:
Information overload vs. controllessness
Information overload vs. looking foolish
Information overload vs. Imposter syndrome
Information overload vs.ambiguity
Information overload vs. Conflict

Information overload vs. controllessness
He suggests that, when we talk of feeling overwhelmed with information, we really mean that we don’t have control over it. As project managers, controlling stuff should be our job!
It’s normal to feel like we are losing control of the information available and the many ways people can interact with one another rather than through us.
This isn’t information overload. It’s an internal struggle to be in control.
Information overload vs. looking foolish
Allcott also stated that information overload is often misunderstood.
Many people are still learning how to use social media and collaboration tools.
This isn’t information overload. It’s worrying about appearing foolish.
Information overload vs. Imposter syndrome
It’s when it feels like everyone else knows what they’re doing, and you feel like you’re just trying to make ends meet, and you wait for everyone to realize that you don’t know how to manage projects, that’s Imposter Syndrome. (Read more about Imposter Syndrome here and my ebook on this topic.
It could manifest as information overload. Everyone else seems to be managing all the extra data well, and you are struggling.
This isn’t information overload. It’s the belief that everyone else has it.
Information overload vs.ambiguity
Allcott speaks out about the fact there are many ways data can arrive, which means that data may be unclear or ambiguous in some cases. There is also ambiguity about how we should handle it.
Is it a decision for us? For someone else? How can we find out who is actually receiving the broadcast message and performing the project task?
This isn’t information overload. It’s worrying about how you deal with uncertainty.
Information overload vs. Conflict
Many things happen quickly in many projects. There are often change requests that need to be processed quickly. These can come via many channels. There are often conflicting priorities and many stakeholders with their own opinions.
It can feel overwhelming to receive complaints from them about the project, their team, or why their favorite change was rejected.
But, this isn’t information overload. It’s dealing with conflicts.
Allcott suggests that you have systems in place to manage all of this. A good project management process is essential. Sort out conflicts before they escalate. You can manage your feelings of overwhelm by creating To Do lists and other systems that help you manage.
Check out my ebook on Imposter