Avoiding information overload?


So much information these days, so little time.

I consider myself moderate information consumer - following around 50 blogs - business, startup, personal development, etc + a number of twitter accounts. But I still feel like there is too much stuff coming at me. After a week of being too tired to read after work, there is something like 1000 posts waiting. Takes me a day go to through all that.

So how does one avoid information overload?


asked Oct 14 '09 at 13:17
Slav Ivanov
1,146 points

5 Answers


  • Don't read everything, just read the titles and go further, if you are really interested in the topic. After a point you'll see that everyone talks about the same thing anyway. Also same bloggers talk about the same thing as well, avoid reading same stuff if you already convinced on the idea.
Such as if someone talks about "why you should start a twitter account for you company". You already know "why", you don't need another 20 reasons. It won't change the outcome.

  • Stop following useless blogs, yes many of them are so good but if the noise/signal ratio is getting worse, stop it. If something great happens on that blog, you'll hear about it anyway. The internet is way smaller than we think :)
  • I can personally suggest stop following twitter, it's just not designed for such information tracking. Setup keyword rules and watch the keywords.
  • Use http://startpr.com/ and "Goople Alerts" with some crucial keywords.
  • Take a look at RSS 3 times a day and not more than 5 minutes each. Have a quick look. If you got something interested use a service such as instapaper or "read later" to read them later on. Maybe on the train, while you waiting for your laundry etc. So you won't get distracted, you'll use your time better as well.
  • Finally don't worry about missing information as I said if something is a real gem, you'll hear it soon from another channel anyway.
answered Oct 14 '09 at 16:39
The Dictator
2,305 points
  • Thanks, a great answer. I often worry about missing out on stuff, so the last point was helpful. – Slav Ivanov 15 years ago


(Nice to meet another Bulgarian here!)

I too follow many blogs, but I have a different strategy. I realize blogs are not email, and I am perfectly OK with missing a post or two. So, I do several quick checks during the day and read the most important posts (if the subject catches my attention). I mark the rest as read and go on. If I miss a truly important post, it will come around through my Twitter subscription or one of my IM buddies.

Note that Twitter can get distracting too -- I check on it about twice daily and I do not keep a tweet-notifier app running.

answered Oct 14 '09 at 16:17
Hristo Deshev
141 points


A service that I recently subscribed to has really helped me stay on top of some key areas even if I fall behind my feeds. Check out http://www.smartbrief.com/ I also scan through alltop.com for some topics that I have a general interest in.

One last tip is to set up a time every week (I do mine on Sunday afternoon) to clear your inbox and pending feeds. This helps me start of the week fresh.

answered Oct 14 '09 at 22:17
Usman Sheikh
1,728 points


The other way to do this is to look at aggregators who have taken the time and effort to put together some effort to collect all these blogs and information sources based on certain topics at one place.

I had a problem myself following all the important blogs and then I asked myself a question - "What if I just follow only the top 10?". This would contain a majority of the trending topics in the blogosphere. That reduced my hunting around for information and going to just one place to get a glimpse of articles / news.

The only disadvantage you would encounter with an aggregator is that the top sources are decided by an existing audience and might not meet your top 10 selection.

As part of a self promotion :) that is what I did at startups.paper.io

answered Oct 14 '09 at 21:19
547 points


Have time away from the screen and also absolute clarity about what your goals are and the results that you want to achieve. That way your mind is primed to only notice stuff that will take you in the direction you have set. You can ignore the rest.

answered Nov 10 '10 at 23:08
Susan Jones
4,128 points

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