Information Overload

The design field is a very self-absorbed industry. Especially in the web community it can be easy to become stuck in an information rut.

For instance, the top online design publications deal with the same topics over and over. Website galleries all hold up the same sites as 'inspiration.' The same old debates surface repeatedly. After a while everything can start to feel a bit repetetive or stagnant.

Inbox 50,000

While it's important to stay on top of some inboxes — such as email — many other inputs do not deserve the same attention.

Previously I have felt an obligation to deal with all of the items in my various social feeds. I would periodically go through every item in my RSS reader until there weren't any unread posts left. It was rare that I would miss a twitter update. However, in order to maintain this system I intentionally didn't subscribe to many high-volume or unrelated sources. That was a recipe for information burnout that I continued for way too long.

Now my subscriptions have multiplied and branched out, and I just cherry pick the best content. A few of my favorite blogs that I have followed recently: Bike Exif, Art of the Title, and Free Cabin Porn (sfw).

Setting Boundaries

Everyone has different limits and interests, so it is important to tailor the media you consume to your own schedule and interests. The point is to set aside time when you can escape from the constant barrage of digital media.

For me having twitter on my mobile phone was a drain on my free time. Since most of my real life friends are using other services, I decided it would be much more beneficial to spend that time reading books or talking with friends.

There isn't a one-size-fits-all solution to dealing with information overload, but I have found that adding variety to my information diet and only consuming the most important items has helped me to find a better balance. Overall I'm more excited about the web design community again, and glad that I can be a part of it.