I am the first to admit I’d be LOST without technology; Google is basically my guide to life and while I’m grateful to have access to so many amazing tools at my fingertips I sometimes struggle with overcoming information overload! Often, an innocent search takes me down the rabbit hole and leads to complete analysis paralysis (which is never good for business!). If you find yourself drowning in a sea of suggestions and distractions, these tips will help you better cut through the noise so you can spend less time researching (and stressing!) and more time taking action!
Sometimes I long for the days where I wasn’t able to lay in bed Googling. This habit has led me to think my four-month old’s cold could be a deadly illness that would likely kill her before morning, to believe I may have a blood clot in my leg causing me to send “in case I die here are my wishes” texts to my guy while he was working, and a whole bunch of other awfully scary health related paranoid episodes.
When it comes to my business, I sometimes catch myself spending forever researching how to do things, only to never pull the trigger. I noticed this tendency when I started my first business, so since then, I’ve found ways to ensure I’m spending more time doing than Googling! For many business owners, they often find themselves drowning in a sea of endless information.
Let’s take a look at a few major resources and how to make the most of your time while using each of them to do research for your business.
When it comes to your business, experiencing information overload can crush you. I can’t tell you how many business mommas I talk to that have been researching for years and have never taken the next step.
Why? Because taking that step is scary! Once you move from researching to actions you have the chance of failing. Eek!
But if you’re spending all your time researching how to grow an email list, or start your business, or create a referral program, whatever… you’re never actually giving yourself the chance to DO IT!
So, the next time you get a brilliant idea and take to Google to start searching for information, these tips will bring you closer to overcoming information overload:
- Set a limit. Decide how many days you’ll spend searching whatever it is you’re trying to figure out and set a date for when you will start taking action. Mark it on your calendar, and force yourself to cut the Google cord and go for it!
- Be strategic. It can be so easy to go down the rabbit hole online, so try to reign it in and stay focused. Eye on the prize, girl! If you come across some other things you want to put into motion (and thus need to research) write it down somewhere so you can go back to it and move on.
- Break your Googling into small increments. Consider researching very specific things so you can take lots of small steps! So, say you want to create and grow an email list, and you’re starting from zero. Make a list of all of the steps you think you’ll need to take (defining an objective, choosing what service to use, setting up your list, creating an opt-in, etc.) and research a step then take action. Don’t start researching the next step until you’ve completed the task at hand.
- Make timers your BFF. This is one I use often, and it makes a big difference! Figure out how much time you’re going to spend searching and set a timer so you don’t end up realizing you’ve been Googling for four hours straight!
While I think Facebook groups are SUCH valuable resources (information + friendship = yay!) they can be huge time sucks and sometimes the tug to play the comparison game is a little too strong.
When you get a boatload of business owners in one small corner of the internet, it can be overwhelming! Everyone is different, everyone’s business is different, and ask for a suggestion of a new software that includes workflow plus bookkeeping and prepare to be given about 53462 suggestions that may leave you hugging your knees and crying in a corner wishing you’d never asked in the first place because WHO KEW THERE WERE SO MANY OPTIONS and now you’re even more confused than you were in the beginning.
I think it’s important to note that in FB groups (and on the internet in general) you’re not necessarily seeing the entire journey of the people you see posting. You also likely have different struggles, goals, clients, opinions, and an infinite amount of other differences that make comparing your business to theirs a total waste of time!
So, next time you log into your favorite business related FB group, keep in mind the only person who truly knows what is best for your business is YOU. Just because something worked for one person doesn’t mean it will work for you, and you don’t have to try everything that is recommended. Sure, stepping out of your comfort zone is important, but so is staying true to what feels authentic to you.
Check out a few of my favorite tips for avoiding overwhelm in FB groups:
- Use the search button. So many groups I’m in are filled with people asking the same questions over and over again. Before you add to the sea of similar posts or go on a scrolling hunt that is sure to become a complete time suck, search what you’re looking for! It will pull up oodles of posts you can skim and you’ll be able to spend less time on things that don’t answer whatever question you have!
- Set specific intentions for what you’re doing in your groups. When you are looking for information, limit your time to doing relevant research. Avoid getting sucked into random conversations and save those types of interactions for other time (either free time or time your goal is networking).
- Find your people. Depending on the size of your favorite groups it may feel like a whole world vs. a tight-knit community. In larger groups, it can be hard to find what feels like a tribe, so be on the lookout for people you feel comfortable with! When you notice yourself interacting with someone often, consider reaching out to them and making a more formal introduction. Forming some friendships can be great not only for your soul but because you now have some allies in your industry you can go to with questions when you don’t want a million varying answers to. Consider starting a group chat with the people you really connect with so you can all cheer each other on!
- Change your notifications. Except for the groups I run, I have all notifications turned off in Facebook groups. Similarly, when I comment on a thread that isn’t something I’m super interested in other opinions about, I turn off notifications for that post after I comment so I’m not bombarded with notifications every time someone else speaks up!
- Develop some thick skin. Sometimes, you just have to deal with jerks in FB groups. With so many people in the world, it’s hard to avoid! So just accept that that is the case and don’t get discouraged when someone ruffles your feathers. Be kind, and try to brush off any icky remarks. BUT, try to look for a grain of truth. Sometimes it’s in those hard to hear comments that we can really grow!
Psst! I love these tips for getting your unpopular opinion across on social media without being a total jerk!
The Bookstore (you’re old-school- I like that!)
As an old school bookworm, I love the feeling of perusing Barnes and Noble looking for a new book to expand my business knowledge. I love learning about all different approaches, though sometimes that can make running my business a little confusing.
Thing is, there are about a million and two ways to run a successful business and there are just as many people ready to give you tips for doing so. Problem is, not everything will work for everyone!
Quite the opposite, actually.
Running your business a certain way just because someone said that’s what you should do can feel like you’re shoving a cream puff through a keyhole.
Next time you find yourself browsing the business aisle at your favorite bookstore keep these tips in mind:
- Look for authors you can relate to. If your road to business momma has been paved with hardship and struggle but you’ve persevered like a boss, reading about how someone’s parents gave them a zillion dollars to start a company with the help of the world’s best business elite may not be your jam. Similarly, if you had wonderful opportunities and have had a pretty stress-free experience in building your business, you may not relate as well to the book by the scrappy business owner that came from the slums and was the only person in her family to make it past 7th grade. Sometimes seeing other perspectives is AMAZING, but for some people, it can be discouraging to feel so disconnected. Decide before going in how opposite you can go without feeling frustrated!
- Do some research. There are SO MANY business books out there, so choosing what to dive into can be hard. Before you head to the store, search Google, ask other business owners for suggestions on social media, and ask your business momma friends what they’ve read that they loved. Don’t be afraid to ask someone at the store either! They can give you some great recommendations! Overcoming information overload is a lot easier when you’ve narrowed down your choices before even walking into the bookstore.
- Take some and leave some. Remember, this is YOUR business! You don’t have to do anything you don’t want to, no matter what. That is the beauty of running your own business! Aim to step out of your comfort zone sometimes and take chances, but if something feels icky or totally contradicts the way you want to run things, don’t do it! No book is the end all be all, so implement what you like and leave what you don’t! Just be sure you’re choosing not to do something that you’re not dismissing the idea because of fear. If you’re afraid, it probably means you SHOULD try it!
- Find some other bookworms and start a book sharing group. One thing that always drives me nuts about books is how many I accumulate, and where to put them when I’m done! Sometimes when it’s a business book I loved, I’ll keep it so I can refer back, but often they end up in a bin in the garage never to be opened again. What a shame (and a waste of space!). Consider starting a group with a few other bookworms so that you can send one another the books you read! You can circulate them until they come back to you, or let the last person who gets it donate it or find someone else to give it to (or use it to prop up a wobbly kitchen table- whatever). It will be fun to have some other business mommas to chat with about what you read, and you get points for recycling!
- Drink some Starbucks. Ok, this one isn’t really helpful. But our Barnes and Noble has a Starbucks and walking around with a chai tea latte always just feels better. Overcoming information overload is better with Starbucks. #truth
Regardless of the type of endless researching you often find yourself doing, there is one secret to overcoming information overload. You need to reframe how you view failure.
So often, distracting ourselves from taking action with endless researching and planning is merely a way to avoid failure. If you spend all of your time making plans you never can fail, right?!
Only, the only way to fail is to not try in the first place. When you try something new, when you take a chance, you may stumble. You may make a mess of things, or miss the mark. But as long as you keep moving forward, and keep trying, with the lessons you’ve learned in mind you can’t fail.
You don’t need to be perfect, and it’s ok if your path changes a bit along the way. You’ve got this!
If you tend to struggle with making decisions in general, Oprah has some great tips for ditching overwhelm here!