Overwhelmed by Choices

Overwhelmed by Choices
Image Source: http://www.success.com

This is a problem that seems rampant everywhere.

I’ve long thought that in today’s digital world, people are on permanent overload.

We have gone from cell phones and game boys to tablets, smart phones, e-readers, and laptops.

We are ‘connected’ almost 24/7.

Yesterday I came across a video about how we can better manage this overload.

For years, people have been told to learn to multi-task, that this ability would make you more productive and (hopefully) happier.

Turns out that’s not true.

Our brains aren’t really capable of ‘multi-tasking.’

We just shift our attention rapidly from one thing to the next, which means we never really focus on anything.

Everyone wants everything NOW, and no one wants to wait for it.

In this culture of ‘instant gratification’ and seemingly endless choices, how do you decide on anything?

Setting Limits

You have to set limits.

Pick one task and tackle it.

Ignore everything else (barring fires or medical emergencies) until you’re done or stuck.

Then move on.

I tend to be easily distracted, so I have gotten in the habit of setting a timer.

Having a time limit helps me focus.

When my kids were little, getting my youngest dressed in the morning before school was a constant struggle.

There were too many choices.

Which shirt of the 10?

Which shorts of the 8?

I came across an article about limiting choices and decided to try it.

The next morning, instead of the whole closet of clothes, I picked out two shirts and two pairs of shorts.

“Which one?” I asked.

2 minutes later, we were done – fully dressed and time to eat breakfast before we left!

From then on, that’s what I did.

Picking out clothes never took more than a couple of minutes.

This is a simplification, of course, but you see my point.

Social Media Overload

Another area of overload, beyond emails and work, is social media.

It’s no longer enough to have an email account.

You need to be on Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, Flickr, Tumblr, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Reddit, Twitter, and on and on.

And if you are in SL, you may have additional social media accounts like ASN, Google, Avatarbook.

Perhaps you have accounts under your RL name AND your SL avatar name.

It’s enough to drive you batty some days.

I have accounts as Kat, as my RL self, and I am probably going to need more as I venture into self-publishing.

Some days, it’s hard to keep everything straight.

The number of passwords alone is frightening!

Is It Cultural?

I’ve often wondered if this feeling of overload is cultural.

The picture above is what I see when I go grocery shopping.

Are that many choices really necessary?

Do I need to have 16 different choices for peanut butter?

40+ choices for types of breakfast cereal?

Is this how it is in grocery stores for other people?

Would I have this many choices in a store in England? Australia? Germany? France?

I was reminded of all this yet again last night.

My husband and I switched phones.

So we each spent several hours updating everything, installing our favorite apps, setting ringtones, etc.

Remember when all a phone did was make phone calls?

Information Overload

Image Source: www.terminally-incoherent.com
Image Source: http://www.terminally-incoherent.com

While writing another post, I found myself thinking how I wished it was possible (or at least easier) to keep up with all the stores and creators I find interesting.

With the number of in-world groups you can join limited to 42 (which sounds like a lot, but really isn’t), keeping up with everything is a real challenge.  I routinely only have about 1-2 slots open at any given time, and lately that number has been 0.  When I started dancing, I need one slot for the troupe.  These days, it’s usually at least two.  Yes, LL upped the group limit from 25, and yes, you can use subscribos to stay updated.  It all sounds good.

But what ends up happening is that I am constantly in ‘information overload’ mode.  The idea behind subscribos is great, and if you don’t have one for your business, you should get one.  I am interested in lots of things in lots of different categories and subscribos help keep me informed when I don’t have a group slot available.

However, when I log in, I am deluged with notices and notecards from all the subscribo lists I’m on.  Half the time I end up deleting them because I need to work on something else and they are just clutter.  Sometimes after subscribing, I’ll find that the store/group is just not a good fit for my tastes.  So then I have to research where the store is so I can tp back there to ‘unsubscribe.’  I wish there was a way to unsubscribe via a website or something.

Other stores/groups require you to send a notecard to someone in order to be unsubscribed.  Again, time can often be an issue.  Yet other stores/groups send you the SAME notice EVERY SINGLE DAY.  There’s a pose store (that, unfortunately, I really like) that does this and it drives me batty.  It’s just more junk cluttering up my inventory.

I do a lot of shopping on MarketPlace because I can see a ton more items faster than I can tp’ing around in-world and waiting for things to rezz.  (I blame some of the rezz issues on my computer, but I have recently upgraded my graphics card and find that some places are just built poorly.  I don’t need to see the entire place filled with giant textures all at once – that’s what MP is for, silly.)  I wish there was a way on MarketPlace to ‘favorite’ a store, not just an item.  I find cool things while I am surfing that make me want to come back.

I know that a lot of creators/stores have FB pages.  However, I refuse to use FB.  (You can read about that here and here.)  I thought about joining Plurk and/or Flickr (read my thoughts on Flickr here), but decided against it.  I already have a multitude of various email/social media accounts, I don’t want to make my information overload any worse.

Maybe someday I’ll figure out a better, faster, easier way to stay connected to the things/stores/creators/whatever that I’m interested in.  Until then, I guess I’ll just keep wading through the mounds of notices.  :/