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Saturday, 11 May 2013

How to Stop Feeling Overwhelmed by the Internet


It is so easy to feel completely overwhelmed by the internet. And everyday there seems to be a new website which 'everyone has known about for ages' but which you have never even heard of.

Social media has its own set of sites - if you ever visit a page which has all the social media icons, there can be twenty to thirty different little buttons. Then there are spin offs of the main sites which add value such as,,, for Twitter.

Today was the first time I visited Tweetdeck.

Yes, I know.

I've heard that it existed for a long time, but never went on it before. You can join and then allow your twitter account to have access and you see all the Twitter services laid out side by side. Very useful if you need to interact with a lot of people quickly.

Following on from there, promises a lot such as automated tweets and lets you find out who follows you and who has unfollowed you.

It is so easy to get bogged down with the minutiae and to go off on a tangent and forget why you switched the computer on.

Facebook has its own timesucking properties with all the thousands of games and apps.

And for a blogger there is no end to what to do, blog, find links, write guest posts.

But the fact is, that these time wasters are excellent at making you think that you are extremely busy, spending a lot of time being productive. Hours can go by in the blink of an eye as computer time runs at a very different speed to real-world time. Einstein would have very quickly developed another theory about time and relativity in the real world compared to the virtual world.

The way to survive this, is to take it for what it is - a series of entertaining diversions which do not really mean as much as you think.

Although it feels like there is a vast mountain of information out there which needs sifting for the golden nuggets, hasn't there always been a huge tranche of knowledge? The big difference now is that it is possible to see exactly what you don't know. It is that ocean of the unknown which lurks just at the edge of your consciousness - or is a Google click away! Remember when they used to show you how many millions of pages of results they had?

The truth is, even if someone did nothing but read stuff online for their whole life, they would still not be able to get through a fraction of the everything there is.

Just understand that there will always be information and knowledge there that it will not be possible to examine in as great detail as you would like. Be careful to prioritise your time so that the real jobs get done and swimming in the information soup is minimised to downtime only.

While some people are very good at blinkering themselves so that they get on with their lives, others are pulled in so many directions that they eventually grind to a standstill.

If you are on a Mac, then Anti Social is an app which blocks off the social media parts of the internet for as long as you want.

Focus Writer is a great app for writers and allows them to focus on writing, with timers and to-do lists factored in to a familiar looking app.

However to do it, the main emphasis is on how well you can control yourself and how well you can narrow your focus down to what you want to achieve.

The people who can do this will be the successful ones in the unfocused years to come.

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