Are You Suffering from Information Overload Syndrome?

The HealthAGE

Putting together this post really came down to the wire for me. Nothing I had sitting in my queue felt right to me this time around. I haven’t had the wiggle room to get ahead the way I’d like to. Over this past year my style of working has changed and I plan a little less and follow my gut a little more. As a result I was wavering, looking for the topic that felt right and spoke to me. It wasn’t until I read Paige Kellerman’s post “Help Wanted: Translator Needed” on her blog: There’s More Where that Came From… that everything clicked into place.  If you haven’t read it or aren’t familiar with Paige’s wit and charm, you really should pop over and check her out. She’ll have you spitting your water all over the keyboard. Seriously!

I found I could really relate to what she was describing in this particular post. Not on the same level, mind you, as my kids are older and Elmo no longer plays a part in my daily routine, but as in a brain disconnect sort of way. I’ve been there, experienced that. I have the t-shirt. Why, even today, my daughter asked me to turn on a movie for her and I must have stared at the remote for two minutes longer than a normal person would, waiting for the information to upload and process. Hello. Can we say s.l.o.w. connection?

So what causes this condition – puts us in this kind of stupor? Is it simply a tired brain (not enough sleep) or is it much more than that? In this day and age, with our smart phones, iPads, computers, twenty-four hour news, and instant information at your fingertips, are we filling our heads with too much information? More so than our little heads are equipped to handle? Could this technology make us the victims of information overload? Or simply put –

 Information Overload Syndrome – IOS

Were you a player in this video? Come on now, fess up. Add a little more to my plate and I could. Curl me up in a corner and I’ll rock comfortably with my coffee-less coffee cup. But seriously folks, break down what you do on a daily basis and how much pressure are you putting on yourself. Is IOS shrinking your brain?

I’m not going to tell you all the things I’m trying to cram into my days. Most of my fellow writers and bloggers know. They are doing the same. But ask yourself is it worth it if in the end all you have is this…


Some days I get terrifyingly close to this on my four hours of sleep a night. What am I doing that sucks all my hours away? I write, I blog, I tweet, I Facebook, I mother, I take care of the household (sort of. I’m getting a D in this category right now), run all errands, and am a wife. On rare occasions I get out to see friends as well. For these crazy reasons I joined Row80 this time around to help me prioritize, putting my book first, above all other social media and writing tasks. Keeping my fingers crossed that it helps me turn things around and I don’t end up buh buh buh buhhing.

How about you? How much do you pile on your plate? Do you feel you have it under control or is it controlling you?

38 thoughts on “Are You Suffering from Information Overload Syndrome?”

  1. Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, LaughingKristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

    Yes, I do pile too much on my plate. But between my New Year’s goals (NOT resolutions), ROW80 and Fabio Bueno’s post on spreadsheets (, I’m about to simply my life. Or at least make one heck of an effort!

    I had to chuckle at your reference to the TV remote. I don’t watch much television, and most of what I do watch I can catch on Hulu (cutting out about 20 minutes of commercial time). So when I started watching something that I actually had to see on TV, I had to get my daughter to turn the stupid thing on for me because I kept pressing the wrong combination of buttons. I don’t like that remote…

    I do know two things after reading this though. First, I need to watch Overboard again. And second, I am SO glad I hate texting! 🙂

    You need to sleep more, Debra. Do some research into how detrimental to your health sleep deprivation is. Yes, I’m a nag. 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Thank you Kristy, I know I do. I am working towards that goal. Going to bed now, actually! That’s a good thing. But it’s a topic that comes up in my household nightly. Problem is, all this stuff doesn’t do itself. Sigh

      I don’t watch anything on television real time. I zip through the commercials. I know my remote. That’s why I was floored that I sat there staring at it. That was sooo wrong. I was working on dial-up.

      I like Fabio’s spreadsheets idea, just want to know who’s going to take the time to set them up for me? BLAHHHHHH

      • Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, LaughingKristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

        Actually Debra Eve is supposed to have a file on the FB WANA1011 page. I haven’t been able to find it, but it really didn’t take long to set it up. And trust me, I almost had a panic attack at the thought. I’ve never used a spreadsheet in my life. I even put the links with the names so it’s just a ‘ctrl’ and mouse click to get to the blogs.

        However… I did simplify things. I’m only doing it for each week, not daily. With one column titled Blg/Com/Twt (for blog/comment/tweet), I can put something like 3/3/1, meaning I visited it three times, made three comments and tweeted once. And I can change the numbers easily enough after each visit.

        You might check out, too. I’m getting ready to start implementing her techniques again. I’m a lot more efficient when I do, but I’ve gotten totally disorganized the past three years.

        Just something to consider…I’m also more efficient when I get adequate sleep. Hard as I might try, I just kind of drag through the days when I don’t get enough. And now I’m heading to bed so I can wake up with NO cold and work on being more efficient than I was today. 🙂

  2. Colin FalconerColin Falconer

    This is fabulous! I had tears rolling down my face. If only it wasn’t all TRUE!

  3. mgmillerbooksmgmillerbooks

    Oh yes. That’s me. Right before I read this I posted on Facebook about passing out on the floor last night. There’s nothing I can do about the day job, which saps the most out of me, but as I told you on your New Year’s post, I will no longer neglect my writing time this year, even if my blog suffers because of it. After all, writing is why I’m up to my neck in social media in the first place, so what’s the point of doing all of it if there’s no time left to create new product?

  4. Tameri EthertonTameri Etherton

    That’s so totally me. I created Fabio’s spreadsheet and now I can’t decide if it stresses me out more than not having one. Seeing ALL the blogs I follow and feeling compelled to visit each one, make an intelligent, clever comment, and then to retweet them, yikes! Right now, there are 57 on my list and I’m sure I’ve missed a few. With a larger WANA class, you probably have twice that. How do we do it all and not feel guilty that we’re not being good blogging buddies if we don’t comment/retweet every single post. It’s something I’m trying to figure out.

    As for the rest of my days, well, if the floor doesn’t get mopped, but I get three chapters edited, then I’m a happy girl. I’ve rearranged things a little so when everyone is out of the house, that’s writing time. I can clean while the Kid does his homework. ; )

    • Kristy K. James...Living, Loving, LaughingKristy K. James...Living, Loving, Laughing

      My attitude probably sucks, but after a totally crazy five months last year, I’ve decided that my priorities have to change. I have favorite blogs that I will visit every week…without fail. But I don’t have the time or energy to visit everyone 1-3 times a week.

      Also, I can’t help but remember what Kristen Lamb told us…that our followers are looking to us to share quality content. I tweet as many as I can, but always ask myself a few questions. Will my followers learn something valuable? Will they get a good laugh? Will they start ignoring all of my tweets if I keep tweeting a certain kind of post? I can’t help but believe that most people aren’t going to be interested in my ROW80 updates, anything that has to do with my schedule, or certain other things. So I don’t expect other bloggers to tweet about them.

      I think we’re putting too much pressure on ourselves to do everything. And I think it’s making our lives harder than they have to be. Somewhere along the line this whole ‘you follow me, I’ll follow you’ way of doing things has spread into every aspect of our social media lives. And when it’s causing that much stress, and robbing writers of their sleep, it’s too much.

      I’d suggest setting a time limit for social media…and stick with it. No one is a super man (or woman). Our personal lives and health are important, too.

      • Louise BehielLouise Behiel

        I have to agree Kristy, i have to start taking control of my time and my life. I tried Fabio’s spread sheet and it added to my stress but I wanted the info. For the blogs I subscribe to, I have two email files. blog w/comment and blogs I read. I put the email from that blog into the right file. then every few weeks, i’m going to delete the old ones. It is simpler and since I get so many by emial, it allows me to keep track without going to another form. And I have to agree, while I cheer my friends on the accomplishment of their goals, I don’t think my followers want to read all of that, since most of them aren’t writers.

        thanks for so eloquently expressing what I’ve been thinking.

  5. susielindaususielindau

    I don’t think I could do this if my kids were still at home.. Good on yah girl! 4 hours of sleep and I am an intolerable bear!
    Great post~

  6. Kat MorriseyKat Morrisey

    Oh that is fantastic. I was laughing and crying at the same time…and have to see if Overboard is on Netflix. God I loved that movie…”My life is like death…” one of the best lines ever. Sadly though, your post is true. So many of us take on so much and then get burned out, or frustrated, or just…exhausted. I have a ton on my plate and feel rushed all the time to get everything done. And if I don’t get it done, I feel like a failure and beat myself up about it. I’m trying to combat this by forcing myself to unplug more–turning off my phone and computer and tablet as much as I can. Like not just turning off the sound, but totally off. I even keep it in the other room sometimes just to get some time for my brain to relax and recharge. It helps to fight the urge to plug in and see what is happening, or get distracted from what I really need to be doing. Thanks for the post–now I have to go watch those videos again!

  7. Christine AshworthChristine Ashworth

    There’s always too much to do in one day. That’s mainly why I keep my blog posts to at the least once a week. Add in the full time job and being the main breadwinner in the family – my time is precious and social media is now far down on the list. I do make an effort to check twitter twice a day, and to comment on facebook – but my google plus account languishes and so does my Linked In. As for sleep – I’ve learned the hard way that it’s the worst thing to sacrifice. Its better to have a messy house than to get less than 7 hours of sleep. Driving on little sleep is as dangerous as driving drunk!

    So, here’s hoping Row80 will help you prioritize – and allow you to retrieve your sleep! Hugs, hon!

  8. Pat O'Dea RosenPat O'Dea Rosen

    Thanks for this timely, eye-opening post, Debra. For the past few weeks, I’ve been wondering why I’m not productive but am freaking busy all the time. I try to keep up with new blog posts from the WANA1011 crew, but sometimes my brain’s too tired to spit out a coherent comment, so I slink away without posting one and call myself a loser. I haven’t slurped coffee from the coffee maker’s spigot, though. That means I’m still okay. Right?

  9. Sheila SeabrookSheila Seabrook

    There is a balance to all of this and I think it’s important to find it. Otherwise, yes, we will all be nuts before the world blows up at the end of 2012. LOL!

    My recommendation would be to allot certain hours in the day for certain tasks. That’s one of the reasons I’m in love with Fabio’s excel spreadsheet. For social media, it gives one an excellent overview of how you’re spending your time. And when your allottment of time is up, move on to the next task. But make your plans around your most important tasks.

  10. shannon esposito (@soesposito)shannon esposito (@soesposito)

    I stare at my husband blankly like that all the time. He’s gotten used to it and waits now instead of the annoying “hello?” I’m sure I stare at lots of things like that during the day, but since they can’t talk back, I never hear about it. 🙂 I’m trying, I know we all are, to figure out priorities. I have learned just to check in to social media in the morning and then shut it down until lunch. That way I have a 3 hr. block of time to work on the novel. Today it worked…we’ll see about tomorrow.

  11. Debra KristiDebra Kristi

    I loved all your comments and you had me laughing out loud. You are right, we just need to step away when our time is up and move on to other things. I think I’m just slower at absorbing and commenting than some of you so I don’t get through as many blogs in the same allotment of time. 🙁 Plus, I don’t have that free time while my kids do homework. Bummer. If I’m not doing it with them, it doesn’t happen. And it takes sooo terribly long. Lord help me. Anyway, I will find the balance because I am determined to. Love you all and don’t hate me if I only visit your blog once a week. It will be a bonus if I get there more often! I subscribe to Kristy’s point of view. I can only do so much. @Tameri, my follow has expanded far beyond the WANA group. You don’t want to see my list. You really don’t.

  12. April Plummer (@April_Plummer)April Plummer (@April_Plummer)

    OMG You must have been inside my head today when you wrote this. I’ve been going NUTS between writing/editing/publishing/marketing/social networking/new ideas, the kids, the husband, the very messy house, laundry, errands, my day job…and I haven’t even gotten 2 hours of sleep a night since Sunday. When I finished my third WIP. I’m going insane, and all I want right now is a good 8 hours b/c I’m so exhausted I can’t think, and my body hurts!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      Welcome April! It’s nice to meet you! One WANA to another. Wow, I have done that and it’s not fun. Back when I was producing fashion shows in Vegas I would skip sleeping all together the days leading up to the show because there was just soo much to do. But when I returned home I would go into a comma for 24 to 36 hours. That’s no longer an option for me with the kids. I know I need to bump up my sleep. Last night I got five hours. You need to do something before you crash girl. Two hours is not good for the body. 🙁 We might need to hold your hand.

  13. Coleen PatrickColeen Patrick

    I so relate. This morning I was making a dr appt for my daughter and had to relay insurance card numbers and such over the phone–lots of letters that need clarification (ie F as in Frank), but I stared at those letters and could not think of words at all. The receptionist had to keep stopping me and filling in a word and I would reply, Yes!
    And I’m calling myself a writer! Ha!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      That’s so funny you should mention that Coleen. Paige talks about that in her post. You should really read it. She is a riot! I go blank on word ALL the time (simple ones too!) and my husband is always saying that to me, “And you call yourself a writer.” LOL

  14. Serena Dracis, AuthorSerena Dracis, Author

    I don’t have kids, I seriously don’t know how all you moms out there do it. I’m in awe. On the IT overload; I was just commenting the other day that I don’t remember things as well as I used to because I know Google will remember it for me. And if Google doesn’t know it, Bing does.

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      You don’t need to have kids to have IOS, just too much piled on, weighing you down. Kids can make it even more of a challenge. Who was the author that said, “If you want to be an author, don’t have kids.”? Too late for me. Oh well. I’ll work around that one. 🙂

  15. Karen McFarlandKaren McFarland

    And you couldn’t figure out what to write for your post! Silly girl!

    And it turned out like this? Beautiful job Debra! On four hours of sleep no less.

    Your a blogger Rock star is what you are. And I’m brain dead. Call the morgue. LOL 🙂

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      It came together too late for comfort Karen. My topic changed three times yesterday. I don’t like playing that close to the wire. But like I said, I follow my gut. For example, my post on friendships was written in November, but I didn’t get the feeling to post it until last week. So there you have it. That’s how I work now. Pretty soon my blonde hair will be gone and it will be a lovely crown of white! 😀

  16. Stacy S. Jensen (@StacySJensen)Stacy S. Jensen (@StacySJensen)

    Oh I can relate. I just began a new routine. Making writing a priority. I’m trying to figure out how to filter all the other stuff back into my day. Fun.

  17. Louise BehielLouise Behiel

    i have no one living ith me, other than my pooches, but they are starting to look at me like I’m a weirdo in their lives – must be from all that time on the puter. now to figure out better ways to manage my time. I need to get back to the gym and i need to focus on my writing. hmmm. time management 101 i s coming up.

  18. Emma BurcartEmma Burcart

    That was hilarious. And I totally have it! Just this morning I stopped in the middle of what I was doing and realized I was putting the creamer back on the coffee maker hot-plate and the coffee pot in the fridge. Glad to know I’m not alone.

  19. JulieJulie

    I DEFINITELY suffer from this affliction. But I just try to remember that nobody is going to die if I don’t tweet, blog, comment on blogs, etc. I’m keeping a much more detailed calendar now with specific writing tasks I need to do at specific times so I can at least sometimes avoid the black hole.

  20. Debra KristiDebra Kristi

    I’m with you Stacy. I just rearranged things to push my WIP up to the forefront. That’s why I blog, so I should be working on it! Same as you. 🙂
    Louise, I think we both need to take more time away from the computer. My kid made a comment about that. Not a good thing. I need to step away more.
    Emma! LOL I have totally done that. I catch myself putting things in the pantry that go in the fridge and vice versa. It’s a brain fart!
    Julie, I agree. I tell myself that every day. I’m actually repeating what my husband tells me. He is a very smart man. He also tells me no one will die if I miss a blog post. :/

    Thank you, all, for stopping by!

  21. Angela Orlowski-PeartAngela Orlowski-Peart

    I can survive on four hours of sleep only a rare occasions. I need my eight hours but normally get somewhere around seven. Still better than four. I really don’t know how you do it, girlfriend, but you need to share your secret. Ten cups of coffee? Nah, that would make me shake so badly I wouldn’t be able to walk straight.

    I hear you – all those things that you do every day are very important and none of them would be easy to just drop off the list. I’m in the same position. So I’m thinking about unplugging for two weeks, maybe at the beginning of February and just concentrate on writing. I HAVE to finish my manuscript since I already have a premise for the new one.

    Anyway, hang in there and, for goodness sake, get some sleep before you turn into a zombie!


  22. Marcy KennedyMarcy Kennedy

    I’m absolutely exhausted right now because my plate is much too full. My husband is insisting that I take a few days off at the end of this month to really recharge before I end up sick (again).

    I hope no one thinks I’m terrible for saying this, but I’ve started to practice selective ignorance because of the information overload. For example, I know that as a freelancer I’m supposed to stay up on the news (read it/watch it). Thing is, I hate the news. It makes me sad, and I can think of 100 other ways I’d rather spend an hour of my time every day. So I stopped and realized that I didn’t miss anything important. I heard about it all on social media or through friends or family anyway. We all have to make the choices that work for us in order to keep from completely burning out.

  23. Debra KristiDebra Kristi

    I am spending an hour or more on my writing since starting Row80. That has played a huge difference in my blog hopping. Sorry folks, but I will work on Fabio’s spreadsheet this weekend.

    I don’t know how I do it Angela. I don’t drink coffee much, if at all. I run tired a lot and my eyes have been very heavy during our word sprints this week. I know the quality I am turning out on this draft isn’t nearly as clean as my previous drafts, so this one will need more fixing. The word sprints help me move forward, but not necessarily with all the detail I want to include in the end. But it will get there. My grandmother and father never needed much sleep maybe it just runs in the family. Maybe I’m just kidding myself.

    No one will think your terrible Marcy! I think we all understand. It’s a busy and stressful life. News? What’s that? LOL My kids own the television. I get my news of the computer and social networks. I don’t know if you remember, but we had just started Kristen’s class when I went away for an entire week. I get to do that from time to time to work on my book. No social networking, just me and my book. I highly recommend that or something similar. I love it!

  24. Paige KellermanPaige Kellerman

    “Buh buh buh”…It’s nice to put a name to the sound my brain’s making these days. We are overworked, underpaid, and too good-looking to be writers…but such is our lot in life. How do we pull off being awesome mothers, on top of it all? I don’t know about you, but the next time the twins come up to me, I’m just going to look at them and say, “Buuuh buh”. Of course, they’ll take that as, “You guys go eat all the cookies I just bought,” but what can you do?
    I’m glad you liked my post! I used to get really pent-up about what I was going to blog about, but, for some reason, topics come easier if I relax and wait till the night before. The quality’s lacking, but I’ve got all these great ideas, man…LOL

  25. Jessica O'NealJessica O'Neal

    The fact that I am only just now getting to read this post is proof of the fact that I am feeling the same way (and this is actually what I was planning on writing my blog for tomorrow about). I have recently been working more hours than usual with my full-time day job – you know, the one that actually pays the bills – and it has caused my time to be sucked away. My poor husband has been complaining that he never sees me anymore and when we are at least in the same room I have my laptop out doing something. Yet no matter how much time I spend on things, I never feel like I have really gotten anything accomplished. At least this time the culprit is not procrastination. I guess that is enough whining for one comment – I’ll save the rest for my blog, lol. 😉 Thanks for a great post, Debra!

    • Debra KristiDebra Kristi

      My husband has the same complaint. I totally get it. We all need to learn how to better schedule our time. The key is getting a buffer of posts done. If you need to get a few guest post in to help you do that, then that’s what you need to do. I am working on creating that buffer now. It’s a slow process.

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