How do you deal with information overload ?

I do not follow much of anything. I am a provider. People follow me.

Get a land line phone, make people call you at that number if they want to communicate with you. Turn off everything else.

If you are talking on the phone and someone else calls, they will get a busy signal and will need to call back. If it is important, they will do so.

If you go on vacation, say for 2 weeks, simply leave a message on your phone that you are out of town and will be back on such and so date.

Enjoy your two weeks away with NO PHONE CALLS! (That is the way my parents did it.)

I press the power button when I want some peace and quiet. The only thing that stays on 24x7 is my cell phone for important communications. I have my phone set up to ring only when certain incoming phone numbers call (important family/friends, etc…). All other incoming calls are on vibrate-only/no ringtone, and I usually just let those go to voicemail unless I’m expecting a certain call.

ssgenius, is all this information you’re attending to actually enhancing your life? What bad things would have happened had you ignored everything except perhaps the most critical communications, recently? If the information isn’t enhancing the quality of your life, then you should work to cut the extraneous information out of your life.

For me, sanity is greatly enhanced by doing my best to focus on one thing at a time. Or, at least being conscious about it when I am multitasking. (For example, I love to play games on my phone with the TV news on. Neither occupies all of my attention at any one moment.)

But if I’m having dinner with my wife, I’m not checking text messages. I’ll check them while she’s using the bathroom, or as we’re heading out the car, maybe. I don’t interrupt conversations or tasks to run and check my text messages. Everyone I know understands that - I check messages and get back to people at set-aside times, and if I don’t check everything and don’t get back to everyone at the current set-aside time, they’ll wait until the next time I set aside.

Actually, when I say they understand that, some of them don’t quite. “It took you ten minutes to respond to my text message!!!” they complain. Deal with it, folks!

I think it just takes self discipline. If you don’t want to take calls, dont. The phone ringing is an invitation to speak, not a demand. Email is great because you choose when you want to respond. I personally don’t turn off devices because I have family and want to be accessible in case of emergency, but other than that there is nothing that is urgent to interrupt something that I want to be doing.

I’m twenty years old and I don’t try to keep up so I don’t have this problem. I only have Facebook and Snapchat. I only text or call a couple people whom I actually like to talk to. Perhaps you’re in a business where you have to be all over sociak media, I don’t know. But if not, why do you want to trouble yourself? I don’t. There’s nothing out there but a whole lot of internet traffic, chaos, and disorder. I reach in for what I want then i pull myself right back out. I don’t get trapped. It’s as easy as only going placed you want to go in the physical realm and only meeting up with people you want.

You just have to make some choices about what is important to you. My choice is that - in general terms - I prefer the real/tangible/face-to-face, over the electronic. (I’m sure many could quibble with just about each word in that poorly phrased last sentence.)

Just because you carry a phone with you, does not mean you HAVE to answer it the instant ANYONE calls or texts. Believe me, landlines with answering machines were absolutely workable for the vast majority of phone communications. There is relatively that needs to be received and responded to INSTANTANEOUSLY.
I find it sufficient if I check my phone every couple of hours.

Same with e-mail. I figure checking it once a day is sufficient. Not sure I can remember the last e-mail that needed a response more quickly than w/in 24 hrs.

Of course, there are exceptions if you are in the process of trying to meet up with someone in an unfamiliar location or such. IME, at least some folk use cellphones as an excuse to not plan well, be late, change plans, etc. Again, acting like that and associating with such people is a choice.

I joined FB solely because a group I’m in uses it as the main communication. I am FB friends with my wife, siblings, kids, and nieces and nephews. I have no content on my home page. I generally check it once a day to see what is up with my group, and to quickly scroll through my 20 or so friends’ posts.

I read the newspaper that is delivered to my home every morning. If I’m really interested in something, I’ll look it up on-line. I read A LOT of books and magazines.

This is the only place I check in on throughout the day, and I mainly do that when bored, taking numerous “mini-breaks” throughout my workday.

Because of my media practices, I have TONS of time to use productively - or waste - as I choose.

I agree, choose to subscribe to what information you want, and ignore the information you don’t. If you like Facebook but don’t like Twitter, then keep going on Facebook but don’t go on Twitter. Or if you don’t like Facebook but only use it to communicate to people, then just set your notifications so you’ll get an email or notification on your phone when you get a message, then only get on to check your messages.

Instagram was maybe going to change how they do the feeds and show what they think are the most important instead of in chronological order, and a lot of people were upset because they go through and look at every single picture in their feed which is just baffling to me. I just occasionally get on when I’m bored and look through some pictures, I follow too many people to look at every single one. And nothing bad is going to happen if I don’t look at every single one. It’s the same thing with any other social media feed. If I’m not checking often it’s possible I’ll miss some piece of news, but if it’s important news I’ll probably eventually hear about it some other way, and if it’s not important then it doesn’t matter that I missed it.

Thanks for the suggestions.

Yes, I do try to limit the email to once a day or so and yes I am aware of the off switch.

From what I’ve seen, Facebook and Twitter and the like have a very low (IMHO) signal-to-noise ratio; I don’t have any account on those or any other similar social media platform.

I’m an active member here on the SDMB and on only one other board.

Personal emails? Maybe a couple a day from family or friends.

Texts? Maybe one every couple of days from my wife.

I can’t imagine being more active than that. I see many people so sucked into their phone to text/surf that they pretty much have to walk while using it, or they’d never get anywhere. ISTM we’re headed for the world of The Machine Stops…

Personally, the first thing I do is set all those things to not notify me every time someone posts something idiotic or does something. Having your phone chime, vibrate and pop something up for every email, text, Facebook post, news story, etc… can definitely be attention-monopolizing, even if you just look and ignore.

Second, I regulate my own information access by only looking at Facebook when I feel like it, or reading my emails when I feel like it, reading news when I want to, etc…

About the only things I have set to notify me are things like text messages, phone calls and severe weather alerts. Everything else waits until I get around to it.

Again, thanks for the advice.

As I have mentioned, it is often just trying to read to determine whether it is relevant or not that can be distracting.
Yes, I do shut things off all the time except for these major alerts, as mentioned.

Yes, just like other posters have mentioned, I have always preferred to read the print media as opposed to the video being displayed.

Interesting point in that the entire video news broadcast could be transformed into a few columns in the newspaper and the video broadcast is put on serial as opposed to a print newspaper or website where things can be read or looked at in parallel and studied in greater detail
That is a actually a huge point in the difference between this serial and parallel processing. I, along with many other people is great at focusing on a single thing but in reality many things are done via multitasking.

A great example of this is the difference between a movie and the novel it was based on. In most cases the novel has a lot more detail than the movie.
It is also relevant in that the spoken word is actually a very slow way to communicate in terms of information, video is a little better but it is still linear where as reading can be done at a much faster pace.

I have a second phone and email acct for craigslist/facebook/etc. Most of the time it’s off and often is discharged from lack of use. My “real” cellphone number is carefully guarded, and that device doesn’t alert for any activity other than calls/texts. There are flurries of activity occasionally, but the call log often shows nothing for days.

I try to spend at least some time every week disconnected from media. Whether a couple of hours, or couple of days I think it’s vital to do this.

Here is an example. I often do this, and on this occasion spent 4 days alone. This was taken with an old video camera while my cellphone remained on the boat (I would swim out and check it, but rarely. And would only respond to wife/kids).