Some tips to deal with information overload


Yesterday I talked about information overload, so today I figured I might offer some practical tips that might help deal with information overload (though I am always looking for more tips and ideas to deal with this problem).

In the past I would go visit several websites stupidly typing the appropriate key word(s) into google, because sometime it was faster than going through my many bookmarks. But bookmarks are useful if you appropriately organize them (and don’t have a biziilion).

The power of personalized home page sites

I then made the leap 2-3 years ago to a net aggregation site, or what is called personalized home page sites (for a review of the many options check this out). When I used the term personalized home pages I am not talking about a blog or info about yourself, but rather a site where you get personalized delivery of information. Google reader, netvibes, myyahoo, and pageflakes are some of the most popular ones. I somewhat randomly choose netvibes as it was new at the time I started.

The use of a personalized home page has made a big difference. No longer am I searching for the many  websites I visit (be it through google or my bookmarks) and individually visit each one. All those websites come up on my home page. I immediately see if there are any new content on the various sites (based on different colored headlines). What use to take me 45min to 1 hour I can accomplish in under 15 minutes (and that includes the speed reading of new content). Now my friends will argue, somewhat correctly, is that I just use those saved 30 to 45 minutes to search for more info to consume. But either way this is increased efficiency (as measured by data consumed per minute).

The power of personalized homepages for scientists

What scientist who are familiar with the idea of personalized home pages but not active users might not now about these sites is you can set it up to get feed from Pubmed on whatever key words you choose. I have a certain tabbed page (you can have many tabbed pages in netvibes) for my pubmed science searchers. I used various key words to feed me my daily quota of my specific subfield in neuroscience. This way I don’t have to go to pubmed each day and seperately type in the various search terms. I wake up go to netvibes, click,  and whoola the latest papers titles are staring me in the face. This makes it far easier and quicker to keep up with the latest science info.

One of the next leaps to deal with info

Now of course there are many more ways to try to deal with the diluge of information but here is one that I am going to try out next. Yotify is the name of the site. Now the concept of this site (and other sites, but again this is the latest greatest at the time I am adopting this concept) is instead of having various websites that you constantly visit, you use key words/terms and ‘scouts’ are sent out to search and report back to you constantly. Scouts can be specified for shopping, fun, travel, and news/blogs. Don’t know how this will work out, it may lead to too much info – but again it should keep you up to date and expose you to info sites that you are not currently reading. I am guessing that the best that I discover using this approach over time would be added to my personalized home page.

If any of you readers have any tips or thoughts on how you deal with the information age please leave a comment or email me directly.

Have a good high information day (with reduced noise).