Filtering the Noise: How to Find Clarity in the Age of Information Overload

If you’ve ever re-read a book or re-watched a move, you know that you get something new out of it every time. That’s because you’re coming with a different perspective, life experience, or need to fill. The same is true in business. When you’re listening to others in conversation, on podcasts, reading their content, taking their courses – some, or maybe all of it might not be for you. Maybe not for you right now or maybe not for you EVER. And that’s okay. The key comes to knowing how to filter out the noise and clarify what you need NOW in order to grow your online business – without the overwhelm. Today I’m sharing the exact strategy I use to eliminate information overload so that (hopefully!) you can replicate it in your own life and business. Sound like something you need? Then, let’s get started.

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Filtering the Noise: How to Find Clarity in the Age of Information Overload

Well hey there mama and welcome to the Mama Business Podcast. I’m your host, Sarah Brumley, and I have to say that this topic is so interesting to me. You see, I’ve been a consumer of information since a very young age. We lived in a decent sized city, and by the end of elementary school, I’d exhausted the young adult section of the city library and had moved on to the adult section. My parents still joke that it didn’t really matter what was going on around me, I’d have preferred to sit in the big blue chair in my little hallway closet turned “reading room” and read a book. I loved being lost in other worlds, in the ideas that came with historical fiction and biographies, and as I got older – books about writing strategy, self-development and business development. Then, when podcasts and audio books started to become more popular, I embraced those as well. In fact, in a normal week I probably spend upwards of 10-15 hours listening to podcasts and reading books.

So, you can imagine that I’ve become really good at determining what’s for me and what’s not when it comes to the inputs I receive. Because the truth of the matter is that if I took in 10-15 hours of different opinions, strategies and all the other things in a week and made all of that mine to embrace and implement, I’d never get anywhere. Right? I’d constantly be shifting gears, doing different things that don’t apply to me, and possibly going against what I value and believe. That’s not the case, though – and today I really want to share my strategy with you so that you can – hopefully – more easily identify what’s for you and what’s not when it comes to the inputs you receive.

And I never even thought about this as a thing until a few years ago when I recommended a book to a close friend. She read it and immediately came back to me to say that she didn’t like this one part of the book. That it didn’t align with her values. And honestly, that one part didn’t align with my values either, but it wasn’t something I’d even considered. There was so much value in the book that I had loved and I hadn’t even given that small part a second glance. Why? Because it wasn’t for me. But that was the first time that I ever realized that not everybody had that ability.

So, realization there – and something for you to consider when you think that what you do very naturally isn’t something that can be of value to others.

That was several years ago, but then about a month ago I had a client ask me this very question: She asked:

How do you take what you need from all of the business strategies and development and everyone’s opinions that are offered and leave behind what you don’t?

She said she was having trouble deciphering what was important and what was noise.

So, with that in mind, let’s just jump into the four things I consider when I’m consuming content.

4 Things to Consider to Eliminate Information Overload

Ultimately, there are four categories of information. The information you are going to use:

  1. NOW – Implement
  2. LATER – Make a Note (literally, post-it notes in books)
  3. NEVER – let it go without qualms
  4. WARNING/NOT-TO-DO – take it to heart (and this encompasses the other three categories

So, let’s break these down.

The Information You Need NOW

Determine what you need now.

How does this help me achieve my goal now?

What is a small step I could take or a small mindset shift I could make now?

How could I implement this now?


The Information You Need LATER

Sometimes we come across information that, while enlightening and informative, doesn’t actually apply to our immediate situation, but would be great to implement in the future. That’s information for LATER.

So, rather than getting ahead of yourself, consider:

  • Post it notes in books
  • Maintaining a “When this happens” list of resources

…or something along those lines. You want to be able to access the information when you need it, but you don’t want it to bog down your current momentum. So, make a note and set it aside for later.

The Information You’ll NEVER Need

And then there’s the information you’ll never need. And more often than not, we know exactly what this information looks like. It’s the thing that we will never undertake, that we’ll hire someone else to do, or it doesn’t relate to our goals in any form or fashion.

The thing is that we have to understand that not all information is meant for us. That’s okay. You don’t need to know the same things that your plumber knows unless you, too, are going to take on plumbing work, right? So, don’t feel bad about leaving behind the information you don’t need.

Think about the last time you searched for a “how to” tutorial. Maybe it came up with a blog post or a video. You might’ve watched or read the entire thing, but you also may have skipped to the part you needed. My guess, you didn’t feel bad about not learning what you didn’t need in the situation, right?

The same rings true in business. Leave the stuff that you don’t need. And don’t think twice about it. When you do, you’re just wasting brain space that could be better used to serve your actual purpose – in life and business.

The Information That Offers a WARNING or NOT-TO-DO

Honestly, this is my favorite category and it might not be what you think. I think we’ve all come across information provided from someone we liked or maybe even didn’t like and we thought – yep, that’s one to remember never to do.

And most of the time it comes from someone trying to give what they think is good advice (and for their situation, maybe it is!), but we know that if we ever implemented that thought process or strategy into our own situation it would have devastating results.

That’s a warning. Take heed of it now. Make a note for later. And stick to the direction that benefits you and your business.

Take Action: Find Clarity and Eliminate Information Overload

And that brings us to the action part of this episode. And we all know that action is where the dreams turn into the reality. And today’s action step is this:

ACTION: The next time you are reading a book or listening to a podcast episode or anything along those lines, I’d like you to consider these four types of information. Because when you can find the clarity of what’s FOR you rather than what’s just NOISE, you are going to be able to streamline your efforts in a way that makes a huge difference going forward. So, know what’s for you, know what’s not, know what you need save for later, and know what to heed as a warning or not-to-do. It’ll make a huge difference, I’m certain of it.

Either way, mama, know that I’m cheering you on. Have an amazing day and I’ll chat with you again next time.

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