We exist in a Digital Information Age where every information needed sits between the palm of our hands. Many of us subconsciously scroll through the internet to find the solution rather than actually thinking.
The Internet has become a huge interconnectedness between information technology and humans. It has played a massive role in globalization. Industrial Revolution 4.0 is happening and in the middle of a pandemic, all of us are left with four walls and an internet connection.
As the information available on the Internet is rising, it is becoming harder to manage everything that goes in our mind
There will never be a completely satisfactory solution to the problem created by an overabundance of information
— David Kirsh
The problem: Although you have so much information to process, you do not have a way to organize or systematize the processed information.
Because of this, Information Overload has become a rising concern.
What is Information Overload?
Information Overload is a simple term for too much information stored in our brain. When it gets overburdened by a lot of information, it becomes challenging to absorb a new piece of information.
Information Overload has various setbacks on our brain. It reduces our productivity, blocks our logical thinking and creativity. Sometimes, we also tend to be forgetful about things, situations, and places.
We always convince ourselves by saying I will remember when I need it.
In reality, we never know when that information is needed. It can also be in the middle of deep work.
“Our neurons do not increase in numbers, nor do they respond more quickly to this overdose of information. Our memory does not increase in capacity. We do not learn or think faster, and this mismatch creates, contributes to and causes information, participation, and collaboration overload”
We tend to go back in our memory repository and try remembering that piece of information to complete the puzzle. We realize that we have not only wasted our time procrastinating but also we failed to get any relevant information regarding the topic.
Disappointed, we think to ourselves that I should have noted it down in the first place!
Having an External Information Storage can be a Game-Changer
At that moment, we feel not to take extra efforts to write it down or to digitize it, but eventually, the extra effort taken is always worth it.
The Solution: Use Brain Extenders. That is, Externalizing Information Storage.
If we can accept the fact that we cannot remember every other detail or memory stored in our brain, we would then find ways to externalize the information.
The most fundamental principle of the organized mind, the one most critical to keeping us from forgetting or losing things, is to shift the burden of organizing from our brains to the external world.
― Daniel J. Levitin
According to the author of ‘The Organized Mind’ — Daniel Levitin, Brain Extenders can also be in the form of calendars, smartphones, and address book.
Any information that we can store, write or type in a trusted system outside our brain so we do not have to keep the information in our brain all the time can be called Brain Extenders.
Our brain cannot be trusted with the information storage part. No matter how hard we try, there is a loss in information if we try remembering certain important statistical data, or what our diet was like 5 years ago.
Our brain remembers certain things after a while, but there are always bit and pieces lost as time goes by.
Storing information in a reliable system ensures that the information you want to retain is just a few relevant keywords away.
Benefits of Externalizing Information
- Write to Forget: An interesting thought or idea crossed your mind? Write it or type it immediately. The space in our brain will instantly free up for other important activities.
- Quantifiable Information: If we consistently maintain a journal of our sleep cycle or diet, we can easily track patterns and behavioural changes in our life. Later, we can structure it for bettering our future.
- The stored information is permanent. So you can return to it even after 100 years.
- We can picture our plan of action clearly and track our past clearly and concisely.
- Write for cognitive enlightenment: If we consistently manage to track the required data, it builds up over time.
Rather than being overwhelmed by a torrent of information, let us get stimulated by it!
We have an option to be stimulated by externalizing information and be carefree or get overwhelmed by it.
We can always start by collecting interesting pieces of information as we have an interesting conversation with people, read an article or travel and store it in our Digital System with keywords and tags. (You can get a pen and paper too!)
So now if we find an interesting article, note, quote or to-do, we know where it would go!
PS: The answer is definitely ‘not in our brain.’
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