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Information Overload Has a Pause Button?

Stuart McRae linked to an interesting article about information overload.  The Guardian Article highlights the Gmail option to essentially pause your email so you don’t feel guilt ridden by all your unread email.  I love the Guardian Reporter, Oliver Burkeman’s,  initial comments about it.

There’s a new add-on for Gmail called Inbox Pause, which does something utterly simple – it adds a pause button to your inbox – but represents, I think, a new phase in our long war against information overload. Consider the absurdity. Inbox Pause doesn’t reduce the quantity of emails that bombard you. Nor does it help you answer them faster. In any case, there’s already a perfectly good way to “pause” your email: just don’t check your damn email for a few hours. Or just resist the temptation to open new ones. But we’re too weak-willed for that: instead we need a button that tricks us into thinking we’re controlling the deluge. In short, Inbox Pause is an innovation for which there’s no rational need, which treats its users like impulsive toddlers. To any self-disciplined adult, it’s an insult.

I’ve been using it for several weeks now, and I love it.

Having been inundated by information and being a person who gets up early to review interesting content and articles from yesterday, I also feel the information overload.  What’s interesting too is that one of the author’s response to information overload also includes one of my tricks.

 The Boomerang app, for Gmail and Outlook, lets you fling emails away, then have them redelivered later; while they’re gone, things are calmer, even though your email burden hasn’t changed. I do something similarly delusional with the hundreds of web pages I bookmark for later reading. These used to exert a subtle, anxiety-inducing tug on me. Now I capture a page in the note-taking application Evernote, label it with the tag “to read” and file it away. Frequently, I never read it. But it works: the information feels tamed. The tug is gone. I’m in control, so I’m happy.

I use evernote for exactly that same purpose.  I also tend to use it as my brain. I read an interesting article I know I’ll want to reference later and I put it in evernote with lots of tags.  At some point in time, most of my really important information will be in the cloud but that’s probably a separate blog post……..

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