We all experience what’s known as FOMO – fear of missing out.
Marketers bombard us with FOMO all the time. You do want to keep up with the Joneses, don’t you?
When we’re uncertain about the future, we seek information, but biting off more than we can chew causes an information overload.
This overload coupled with the fear of inadequacy eventually turns us into information junkies, who gorge on information without processing it or even learning anything from it.
In this post, I want to share 13 ways to stop being such an information junkie.
Let’s dive right into it.
What’s An Information Junkie?
An information junkie is someone who spends a lot of time reading, watching, and listening to informative content but uses very little of their time to put into practice what they learn.
Gen Z members are the most affected group. Now, it’s easier than ever to get your hands on content — either on the internet or the television.
The need to stay connected and know what’s happening around them is turning into an addiction and an excuse for mere entertainment.
Information junkies lie to themselves about the good that’s going to come out of external information consumption. They dismiss essential things like their health, career, and personal lives.
The truth is, all that information becomes a congealed blob of half-truths and rumors. If you store that blob in your mind, guess what?
Your mind will become a mess as well.
If you’re someone who’s finding it tough to resist the calling of a news anchor telling you all the petty details of the day, this video can help.
13 Strategies For How To Stop Being An Information Junkie
Breaking a habit needs more than just a firm belief — action is a prerequisite!
So let me share 13 ways that you can take action to stop being an information junkie.
#1 Stop Searching For The Best Course Of Action
Have you ever spent the whole day researching and learning about ways to do something instead of getting started? Sometimes it’s hard to get started on something because you want to be perfect the first time.
We naturally want to get things “right,” fearing that we might embarrass ourselves if we don’t. The feeling that you need to do something in the best way possible will slowly turn into an obsession.
You end up an information junkie in constant search of information on how to do things perfectly. Get up and get started with whatever little information you have. You will eventually learn everything on the way.
#2 Realize It’s Not Possible To Know Everything About A Topic
Realize that no matter how much you read and research about something, it’s not possible to know everything about it. There are a plethora of ways to achieve something, if it’s something you’re genuinely interested in.
You’ll exhaust yourself pretty fast if you’re out there hoarding information. It’s advisable to settle for a particular idea and move ahead with it. Learn whatever is relevant and helpful at that moment and stop stressing about the rest.
#3 Stop Overthinking And Start Following Up Information With Action
Many people bail when it comes to backing up information with action thanks to overthinking.
Anytime you overthink, you eventually come up with reasons in your head on why it’s not a good time, why you should postpone it, or why you should not take action at all.
For instance, you browse the internet one night and find an exciting article about starting a small business. You find motivation within and begin to visualize yourself minting money. Once you come to the details, the enthusiasm is nowhere to be found. All kinds of excuses and fears creep up and you don’t know how to overcome them.
Overthinking is a road with no end; it won’t lead to anything productive. Break a useless thought when you see one. Zero-in on what you want to do, make a plan, and start doing it — the rest will follow.
#4 Stop Information Consumption Just For The Sake Of It
Come to think of it, how often do you spend hours on end in front of your desktop or mobile screens, consuming information and overlooking what’s happening around you?
It’s easy to lie to yourself about the viability of whatever information you’re hoarding. Ask yourself this: “Am I going to apply this information in my life?”
Spending too much time surfing the internet robs you of real-world experiences and can increase your risk of isolation and anxiety.
Unless you’re trying to win a General Knowledge quiz competition, there’s no real need to know about all the current happenings. Understand that what’s happening miles away from you in a foreign country’s parliament is seldom going to affect what you’re going to do the next day.
#5 Stop Overcomplicating Things
With most things in life, there are a million ways to go about them, and that’s when uncertainty and confusion come into the picture.
With so many choices comes the potential for indecision. You could spend a whole day thinking about the best option to settle for. However, you ought to realize that the most powerful way to achieve your goals is to keep them simple and straightforward.
Sometimes, it’s best to stop exploring more options, settle on what you feel is the best, and give it your all.
#6 Create An Action Plan
Use an action plan to outline all the necessary steps to achieve your goals. It will help you reach your target efficiently by assigning a timeframe — a start and end date for every step of the way.
A good action plan will make it easier for you to track your progress. Whether you have a career, business, or personal goal to cater to, you can stop being an information junkie by eliminating the space to be one, adhering to an action plan and setting a schedule.
#7 Stop Procrastinating
Procrastination may be comfortable, but it’s holding you back from your desired results. Be a doer instead.
Overthinking (point #3) and procrastination go hand in hand. They’re often inseparable. You end up procrastinating because the motivation that swelled in the heat of the moment has waned and you begin to come up with all the reasons why it’s not worth doing.
The fear of failure should be replaced by the excitement to learn. Every time you fail, you know a way that’s not going to work.
The knowledge of what you should do is as important as the knowledge of what you shouldn’t.
#8 Get Inspired
Look around and ask yourself, “Has someone already accomplished the things that I’ve been trying (or thinking) to achieve?”
Extract motivation and willpower from others’ success stories. I’ll share a little secret with you — you’re not the only one struggling with information overload.
In fact, everyone procrastinates from time to time. The difference between a thinker and a doer is the extent of procrastination.
#9 Unplug From Your Devices
How can I not address the elephant in the room? As soon as the alarm goes off in the morning, most people instinctively reach for their smartphones and tablets. All information junkies are guilty of this.
The constant desire to check social media and read the news has swayed us away from the more important things i.e. personal development.
Studies show that most smartphone users keep their devices within arm’s reach the whole day. And every few minutes (even if the phone didn’t sound an alert), they feel obliged to scroll through or read something on their devices.
#10 Know That Greatness Lies In Trying
Sure, it’s vital to do things right and feel proud of your work, but if the fear of perfection is holding you back, it’s high time you do away with it.
Trying counts as a success too, even when it doesn’t feel like it! Plus, you won’t know what you’re capable of if you don’t try in the first place.
Success isn’t sure even if you’ve read scores of pages and Reddit articles on a certain topic. Believe it or not, the divide between theoretical and practical knowledge is real.
The most praised men have always been those with the thickest skins, who are not afraid of trying and failing. They’re the ones who haven’t backed away from the “trial and error” method.
#11 Be An Optimist
Regardless of the volume of information you read, you always doubt your capabilities, don’t you?
You feel as if you’ll never be good enough for the task at hand. Optimism is a great tool to cut through the trio of procrastination, self-doubt, and overthinking.
Highlight the positives and stop dwelling on the negative parts of yourself. Look closely at why you think you cannot do this task and challenge those views by coming up with all the reasons you can — your strengths and past successes.
#12 Embrace The Little By Little Technique
Often, a task may seem challenging and unmanageable, and you end up putting it aside with the hope to do it later.
Instead of taking the first step (and then the second), you are discouraged by the entirety of the staircase. This tempts you to search for more information on how to complete the task quickly.
Rome wasn’t built in a day! Don’t think about how you’re going to build the wall; think about how perfectly you can place the brick that you currently have in your hand. Break the task into small pieces and move ahead with conviction.
#13 Measure Your Accomplishments By What You Create In Life
Merely reading about something is not good enough. That’s why most MBAs can never come closer to people with real-life experiences. Application is key so accept the fact that it’s okay to fail; at least you tried.
Greatness never came out of books.
The next time you read a time management article on the internet, attempt to put that into practice. If you read a personal development book, spend a week doing what the book told you. Be an active learner.
The truth is, you already know a lot, so get out there and put that into practice.
Do You Spend More Time Learning Than Doing?
Having read the 13 strategies on how to stop being an information junkie, how do you think you can stop this habit? Share how you are going to take action in the comments.