If you are feeling overwhelmed, read on to find out what you can do to gain clarity on what to do next.
We live in the glorious age of the internet when we can simply search for whatever query we have and get instant answers. Better yet, just hop on to Instagram and Facebook, and allow people on those platforms to bombard us with all sorts of information – including advice from well wishers.
That doesn’t sound too bad right?
Wrong. Ask any body who follows more than 100 accounts on Instagram. You will be constantly fed all kinds of advice on all kinds of subject matters. Nowadays, there are also a gazillion online courses being sold at every corner – but that is for another post, another day.
Overconsumption of advice can lead to feeling overwhelmed and action paralysis. There is only an optimum amount of actionable data that your mind can store, and if you try to cram it with inputs from a variety of sources, it could be counter-productive.
Here are the main reasons why overconsumption of advice is harmful & you need to UNFOLLOW a lot of the accounts that you don’t really take much from:
1. It causes you to feel overwhelmed
Are you getting at least ten nuggets of information each time you scroll down your feed? While many of these pieces of advice might resonate with you, consuming so much of it and at the same time can be overwhelming.
Do you find yourself asking “OK. But what do I do first? Where do I begin?“.
These questions are a sign of information overwhelm. It’s not that you are confused or you don’t have what it takes, but simply that your brain is being fed way. too. much.
So stop that scroll & stop consuming so much (free) advice.
2. It requires you to make more decisions, which often leads to procrastination
You read 10 pieces of advice. But, obviously you cannot implement all of those at once.
I remember once I was looking for some inspiration & ideas on morning routines. I googled “morning routine ideas for a productive day”, and ended up reading 5-6 articles, each of which had about 10 things to be incorporated into a morning routine. And barring 3 or 4 common points (like exercise, express gratitude, etc.), most of them had different things to do. So now I had a potential list of 30 things I could do in my morning routine. Talk about overwhelm.
The other thing this led to was this.
Yes, my friend. The more you have to choose from, the more you have to choose. This indecision can lead to procrastination because obviously tomorrow is a better time to make a decision on this point after you have researched it a bit more, correct?
3. Much of the advice may not even be relevant to your life
There is very little entry barrier when it comes to giving of advice over the internet.
By the way, this post contains no advice whatsoever – except one. Which will come at the very end.
Coming back to no entry barriers to advice. You don’t know from where the advice-giver is coming from. They might ask you to quit your 9 to 5 and pursue your passion full time. But may be that worked out well for them because they had a large amount of savings before hand or had some other kind of support. May be that will work for you as well. But may it won’t.
4. Repeatability is less as theres “more” to implement
One of the best ways to see results is to repeat actions which bring you rewards.
However, if you have way too much advice to implement, you may not even get around to this crucial step of repeating it. That is, if you got over the initial hurdles of overwhelm and then procrastination.
If you didn’t get overwhelmed at the initial stage and managed to implement it all, you might get overwhelmed trying to keep up with it all.
What to do instead?
It’s much simpler to follow the advice from a few trusted sources which you actively select & seek out, and to tune out the rest.
When you choose a few sources of advice, then that will streamline your path a lot more in many ways.
1. You can choose the most relevant source of advice
Instead running around in circles, you can select your top sources of advice. Each time you are in need of guidance, you can head over to their website to see if they have guidance on that issue already, or you can seek out advice from them (this second part is appropriate only if you know them in person).
You also then go through the decision making process only once. You can sit down today and select two or three key sources of advice.
Are you thinking – “But what if someone who is not on my list gives some solid advice on xyz topic?”
Sure. If they are a subject matter expert on that topic, then take their advice on that topic even if they are not on your initial list. You can improvise as you go along, the key here is to not get overwhelmed and to get the advice working.
2. You can focus on a few things and therefore get better results & get the benefit of being consistent
Since you are now following fewer people’s advice, there is also less advice to follow. Since you are now implementing fewer things, you can do them consistently and better and reap the rewards of being consistent.
This is huge.
It is so much better to do 2 things well than to try and do 10 things in an average way. Say, if someone told you using Instagram Stories to show the behind the scenes of your business is a great way to grow your account, then you would want to do it right? But you wouldn’t do it for 2 days and then abandon it right? You would have to consistently use this tool to start seeing some results – most probably for at least a few months. So consistency really is key to seeing results.
This also brings with it another collateral benefit. That is…
3. Your follow through rate is higher and therefore you feel better about yourself
When you are consistent and keep your word to yourself, you feel better about yourself. This means you feel better more often and you will definitely start seeing improvements in all areas of life.
Does this seem like a “bit of a stretch“?
It might sound like that, but by cutting out overwhelm and procrastination, you put yourself in the captain’s role and really start implementing some great moves.
When you look back on all the projects that you have successfully completed, were they ones where you had 20 people shouting at you what to do next or did you have one key mentor guiding you along (or even none – and it was just you guiding you along).
4. You are more in “execution mode” rather than thinking / decision making mode
When you cut out overwhelm and follow advice from a few sources, then you shift from being in the consumption mode of thinking (rather, overthinking) to execution mode of doing.
In this mode you can then come up with multiple ways to internalise and become an expert at implementing the advice, rather than being stuck in the “Where do I go next from here?” rut.
This is crucial to getting anything done. When you have momentum on getting stuff done, you will want to maintain it. So the worst thing to do at this stage is to go back to the stage of overwhelm. If overwhelm does creep in, then simply go back to your main sources of advice and whittle down the information you are consuming.
My only piece of advice
I didn’t give a single piece of advice in this post except this one – UNFOLLOW accounts which spew out advice left, right and centre. Advice is different from Inspirational Quotes. Advice is anything that requires you to take action. There are more accounts than you think that do this. This is also because the advice that “give educational content of value out for free” is an advice that is doled out by most and is also being implemented by most – me included.
Think of the content out there like a buffet. Sample a bunch of dishes, but you’re not going to be eating a LOT of most of the dishes, right? You will probably stick to just 2-3 dishes. If you overdo it, you get sick. Same thing goes for your mind.
This post comes from a place of overwhelm itself. I noticed this about myself. Whenever I find it hard to create or hard to be productive, it’s almost always because I have been consuming way too much useless (to me) information.
Sometimes it makes a lot more sense to even pay for a course and learn from a credible teacher who walks the walk and talks the talk – than to read a hundred articles on the same point. It will give you structure and direction, and both of these will help get better results.
Over to you now! Comment below and let me know if you ever feel overwhelmed by advice and if you have any tips to share on how to deal with it.