Are you a Willing Victim of Information Overload?

Posted On September 24, 2019

I am right there with you. My morning started out normal, check my personal & business email/calendars, check my work email/calendar, check my personal & business task list, add items to both my checklists, sidetracked by reading three articles recommended by Google, read the local newspaper, check the weather, check voicemail, check social media feeds, check Skype, LinkedIn etc. I already wanted to go home and crawl back into bed. Don’t get me wrong I love technology, but somewhere along the way I stopped utilizing technology and technology started utilizing me. With AI up and running (or at least being tested) in most social media platforms – not only do I feel like Amazon and Google know me better than some of my family members – but I feel like they have more of my attention than my human counterparts (did I really just say that, it’s worse than I thought)…I mean friends and family.

I need a way to organize, manage and limit the amount of information that was coming in on a daily basis. That should not be a daunting task right? – after all as an e-learning professional part of my job is learning new things quickly and being able to design something that can teach others. So I am constantly on the lookout for information about learning, organizing and designing. However every good process development begins with a needs analysis. I know this seems to add another task to the daily list, however this is a task with an end goal that will give you some of your time back to spend as you like and hopefully some of your storage space.

Of course when you need to brainstorm build a “mindmap” (because I need an app to figure out how to balance technology, somehow that doesn’t seem logical) to organize all of the information that comes in on a daily basis. I started with one mindmap, but as I generated areas of information I realized that I can’t have just one because my day must be divided to be effective. My life is actually segmented into three sections: personal, work & business.

After researching my options I think I am going to try keeping all of my information organized in a MS Onenote – which is like an electronic notebook. You can add anything to it and I do mean anything. I can send emails to onenote, take a screenshot of anything I am viewing and send it to one note, draw images within onenote, voice recordings, video links, any MS document including Visio, handwritten notes (if you have a touch screen or you can use the mouse), receipt pics – it will literally store anything. Documents can be attached or directly imbedded into it. The electronic notebook is divided into major sections, which you can also group as well, so for example I can have a section labeled Personal that includes the subsection group children and store my children’s information. Since each section contains pages within that section (a lot like indexes) I could have pages for each child labeled photos, birth certificate image, report cards, Youtube channels (many of my grandchildren want to grow up to be Youtubers, scary), sports or hobby schedules, links to Amazon Christmas lists, scanned in tickets to any shows or sports events they are in, possibilities are endless. I can browse through this much like a memory book – and of course things are always printable if you want that hard copy. And since I am all about collaboration – I will be sending a link to each of my children and grandchildren so that they can add items and everyone can view and comment on them. It’s great to have so many platforms that you can like things on such as Instagram, Facebook, Twitter – however it’s nice to have them all in one place.

For my work section – I decided that I didn’t need to keep one for work, as all of that information should be kept at work in a department MS Onenote, however for my business – I also needed to set up an MS Onenote. Each of my freelancing gigs will have it’s own section and I can organize with a set of pages (indexes) that include contact info, scope, project timeline, draft images, etc.

Keeping track of so many different segments is very daunting – but once I took the time to set into place this little system – it worked wonderfully. Now I have an updated version of what used to be a filing cabinet, which also has an App for my phone and I can see everything that I put into my desktop Onenote on my phone or tablet, plus add and/or edit directly from my phone. So if I am conversing with a freelancing client and need to look up something quickly, my phone is always with me and ready to show anything that I have added to the MS Onenote.

MS Onenote also has features that provide collaborative space – you can accomplish this in one of two ways. First share with colleagues a link to the onenote and giving them editing privileges (if they have Onenote) or creating a collaborative section within the onenote that allows them to collaborate in real time with you. So many people can be in the document at the same time – viewing the same material. If you want to see how MS Onenote can share across platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Google Keep and other view Tips for Sharing and Collaborating in MS Onenote. Or perhaps see how MS Onenote measures up against Google Keep in Google Keep vs OneNote – The Ultimate Note Service in 2019.

At first I disliked using Onenote, but the more I learned about what it could do, the more ideas began to flow of how I could use this new tool. And recently I reduced my filing cabinet down to a very stylish filing box, my husband was thrilled.

Written by Evelyn Howard

A problem solver with a business background within a variety of industries compliments my teaching/training design and development skills in the areas of technology, pedagogy, and management principles and practices.

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