When You’ve Got Too Much To Think About

With so much information delivered to your smart phone, your computers, your iPad, your TV and who knows what else, you might feel your brain just can’t keep up. It’s far easier to feel overloaded and overwhelmed when you are bombarded with information, and you’re not fully in control of the rate and methods you use to learn.

In my field, that feeling is known as cognitive overload. Here are some tips for moving from overload to handling well all you have to think about and learn:

  • Pay careful attention to information you want to retain. When we skim our reading and information, and haven’t spent time upfront processing and manipulating it, the information was only on our "clipboard" and not held for later retrieval. So it disappears.
  • What do I mean by "manipulating" information? That’s a fancy way to say you learn the information in different ways so you build associations and the information stays with you.

For example, if you are reading something on LinkedIn that you want to remember, try to tell someone right away about the information. Talking about it will help you remember it later. So will doodling or drawing information you want to recall, rewriting it in your own words, reading it aloud, or putting the information in an outline.

Reorganizing information helps us retrieve it more efficiently later. Doing different things with the information makes it stronger than rereading it many, many times.

Our brains have a tremendous capacity to learn at any age. However, as researchers Tracey Shors and Elizabeth Gould have pointed out, concerted effort is key to learning and remembering.

Link to Tracey Shors on YouTube:   http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Im1qnPM3Y7w

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