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.  :/

Halloween’d Out

Image Source: quotespictures.com
Image Source: quotespictures.com

Maybe it’s because I’m getting older.  Maybe it’s because my kids are getting older.  But I’m already tired of Halloween.

I’ve never been big into horror films (in fact, I avoid them like the plague).  I don’t watch ‘The Walking Dead,’ and I don’t believe in a Zombie Apocalypse (a social media zombie apocalypse, yes).  You can’t turn around in SL around this time of year without running into something Halloween.

Now, don’t get me wrong.  I enjoy a holiday as much as the next person.  I love seeing kids in their costumes and handing out candy.  But witches and pumpkins and spiders and ghosts and ghouls and zombies and skeletons  . . .   Not my thing.

I’m on Halloween overload.


Social Media Overload

What does this have to do with overload?  Nothing, but chocolate makes everything better, right?! Photo credit: lovethispic.com
What does this have to do with social media? Nothing, but chocolate makes everything better, right?!
Photo credit: lovethispic.com

I’m having another one of those days where there just isn’t enough time to get everything done that I want to.  Oh, sure, I could have gotten up earlier, but sleeping in on a Saturday is mandatory, right?  (If it isn’t, it should be!)

The weekends are usually pretty carefree, but today seemed to fly by.  I blinked, the day is over, and I didn’t even finish my blog post!  I had to 1) read all the other SL blogs I keep up with, 2) check ASN to see what’s going on there (ASN is my replacement for Facebook), 3) check all my emails, 4) check my Google+, 5) check my Twitter (I can’t keep up with Twitter – I check only once or twice a day, or I’d be there all day reading!), and 6) wait impatiently for my invite from Ello (another new social media network).

This is why I don’t have a Tumblr or a Flickr or a Plurk or Pinterest or a ‘insert other social media platform here.’

It’s exhausting to try and stay current in this digital world.  So much data is generated on a daily basis that it is becoming impossible (I feel) to stay informed/updated.  So what to do?

I’ve tried to manage my own workload by picking and choosing what social media platforms I use and how I use them.  I have a Twitter, but I’m better at longer posts.  140 characters just isn’t enough for me.  However, I spend a lot of time laughing over hilarious tweets from others.  So, since Twitter is more for ‘reach’ with the blog, I don’t spend a lot of time on it.

ASN is new (my choice of replacement for Facebook, unless/until I find out if Ello is better), so I’ve been spending some time on it, especially since it is specifically made for avatars in virtual worlds.  Email is essential, of course, so that gets checked, but usually only once daily.  I get so many notices sent from SL to my email that some days it feels like I spend more time deleting than reading.  :/

But someone has to cull through all the data and find the gems, right?

So, today I learned that:

1) Apparently there is a 100 avatar prim counting limit in Second Life (that means if more than 100 people rez something in a region, prim count scripts stop working and just ignore the 101st person and everyone above that).  This is important if you are in charge of prim counts in a region.  I’ll probably never need to know this, but I learned it anyway.  🙂

2) A new library called The Chamber Library opened in SL this weekend.  As a literature buff, it sounds like a cool place to visit.  It’s on my to-do list.  (Although I’m not sure I’m up for reading Shakespeare from a NC – I doubt my eyes could take the strain.)

3) I don’t spend nearly enough time in SL exploring.  There’s all kinds of cool sims that other people post photos of that I would love to visit.  I just don’t.  I’m not sure why.  Hmmm . . .

4) Blender is a free program.  Huh.  Who knew?  (Apparently everyone but me.  -.-)

5) And last but not least, Tuty’s has released a new AO called ‘Woman in Tango.’ (I had to find something dance-related!)

So there you have it – the gems I mined from today’s deluge of information.

You’re welcome.  😀