Information Overload

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein
Do you agree?

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Overload Alert.”


We are processing information all of the time. We wake up in the morning, and before we even open our eyes, and pay attention to our senses we are processing information. We arrive at work, school etc and thats where the real information starts to flow. Information that also requires attention. Even when we return home and go to sleep, our brains are still working and processing information.

In my line of work, I rely on information. When I work with our clients I rely on information. Our Clients rely on me to solve problems. Some small, some hugely important to both our own and their business. I gather information from a number of different sources, and it it what I do with that information that allows me to resolve situations. The information I receive is hugely important, as this is the basis for many important business decisions, which can be the difference between success and failure, profit and loss, jobs or no jobs.

I try and help develop others within our business, to better their thinking when it comes to gathering information, and managing it. I often find that many of the people I work with are capable of taking a small piece of information and proceed with this as expected. however, when presented with a lot of information at once, they struggle to filter down to the important stuff and set aside the minor details, which hinders their common sense approach. For our business, this can cause very quick problems.

I think this is where I tend to agree with Stein. I see this on a daily basis, that an overload of information can lead to poor decisions that lack a very basic approach. I believe in common sense. I find that many of the people who come to me in a panic, asking so many questions at once, simply need calmed down (and sometime a point in the right direction), and they often realise that they already knew the answer to their own question.

In my position, it is vital that I can quickly source information,  distinguish the relevant stuff and make quick decisions based on this. When I develop others, teaching them how to recognise what is relevant, is the trickiest part, (assuming they have common sense). When they know how to take a step back and not become over whelmed, this aids success.

I would stay Stein has a point, but only in certain circumstances. If you are used to an environment that relies on information (which is more places than you think), and you learn how to manage this, you will be able to take a step back and use a common sense approach.

Information means little if you don’t no how to manage it. If you master this, you can prove Stein wrong. If you don’t, then you prove him correct.

What he should have said is –

“Everybody gets so much information all day long that if they fail to manage this by filtering what is relevant to a particular situation, they lose their common sense.” — Gertrude Stein



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