Information Overload

Information Overload

A couple times in recent months, somebody’s asked me if I wanted to do something and the moment I said yes, they changed what they initially said or asked. Suddenly that meal with just a friend becomes a huge event with many people. A quick errand for someone becomes a scavenger hunt. Sometimes you agree to help someone and then…silence. So you move on with your plans, but at the last minute, “I STILL NEED HELP!!!”

The people I notice doing this — the people who suddenly drop a to-do list into your lap, as if you don’t have your own list — are often the people who seem the most hurried.

I Need You To Do This For Me

I preface this by saying I’m generally a helpful person. I do things for friends and family; I’ve given up my time to help even acquaintances. I’ve noticed a trend, though: people who decide to do something they don’t have time for and then bringing others into it.

It might be somebody deciding they want to have a party. They ask if you’ll attend, and you say, “Sure.” And then it happens:

“Cool! Can you contact so-and-so and so-and-so and so-and-so to see if they want to come to the party, too? I’m so busy — it would be a big help.”

Maybe I’m different, but when I invite others to my home, I don’t expect them to do anything but show up. I would never think to give them a to-do list to make my job easier the moment they agree to the invite. I prefer seeing to-do lists shrink during the day — not grow, and I assume the people I know feel the same way.

I Have No Time

I understand that time is a commodity. The strange thing to me is the people who often delegate to-do lists to others because they claim to have no time are often the same people you  always see on Facebook trying to get others to play Candy Crush.

If you can pin these people down for a lunch, they are the people who can’t make it through without texting people or checking Facebook or Twitter a handful of times. It’s not that they don’t have time — it’s that they let distractions rule the time they have.

Take a Break

I like social media and other things online. Obviously. But when I’ve taken breaks from social media, I found an old focus return.

Even after the break, I found myself taking a strange sense of pride in being able to stand in a long line and think about writing or something else that really matters to me. And…I noticed how often people who are overloaded with information are rarely in the moment. I also noticed more people trying to get others to do things they should be doing because they feel so busy.

If you feel you never get a moment to breathe, put your phone in another room for a few hours. Close your Web browser and anything else that is a distraction on your system if you have to work on your computer. Turn off the TV or put down the video game controller.

If you like all those things — great; by all means, enjoy! But don’t tell others you’re at a loss for time (and definitely don’t push your to-do list onto them)…

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