How to Manage Intake Overload - The Content Experiment

How to Manage Intake Overload


Over the last six weeks or so, there has been a lot of noise in Facebook groups about the sheer volume of content out there. Keeping up with inboxes and social media notifications is tough to do, and it can be overwhelming to spend any time in either place.

Personally, if I spend more than an hour outside of Facebook, I pop back in to 20-something notifications (or more). It makes me want to do one of two things: Just live in Facebook so I can keep up and deal with notifications as they come or dump social media and my inbox altogether.

The former is completely unrealistic and will waste even more time (and allow no focus within my business at all). The latter effectively cuts me off from one of my audience groups: creative entrepreneurs.

So instead, I’ve taken a different approach: streamlining. Because ain’t nobody got time for all the noise out there. Instead of living on social media and in my inbox or giving it up altogether, I’m using a little bit of each of these overload management techniques.

Limit Your Circle

It’s impossible to be in every group where your audience hangs out. I mean, you could be in every group, but you won’t be effective. Instead, limit the circle of influencers and business owners you surround yourself with and forge close relationships with them. And remove yourself from the rest.

This is hard to do, especially if you’ve found business friends and grown your client base with people in some of the groups. But it might be time to create some new connections so you can widen your circle of influence, while simultaneously shrinking your circle of friends and connections.

You see, those you’ve already formed relationships with will stick around and continue to follow you while those you haven’t connected with probably aren’t your ideal audience anyway. So find new groups where you can connect and say good-bye to the old groups. And know that a few quality groups and friends are better than 100 not-so-stellar groups.

Add More Structure

Putting some structure in your day will help you determine what you need to pay attention to at any given hour. Setting aside time in your calendar to check your email or hop onto social media gives you some boundaries and allows you go get hyper-focused on client work and work ON your business when it’s time.

[bctt tweet=”Owning a business doesn’t mean you can kick structure completely to the curb. You need it.” username=””]

Structure might be one of those things you were happy to kick to the curb when you started your business, but it’s absolutely essential to your business growth. I’ve resisted structuring my calendar and my days since Day One, but when I do have a clear structure I’m much more productive. And I don’t feel the pull of social media away from my focus. At least, not as much.

That’s not to say that I’m able to do this every day—not by a longshot. But when I do, it’s always a much better and more productive day.

Turn Off Notifications

It’s been over a year since Facebook or Gmail bugged me on my phone. I turned off notifications a while back because my phone beeped with new notifications all day and all night. And when I heard a notification, I always felt compelled to look at what it was and respond. Those times I didn’t respond right away, I would forget to respond later. This left me feeling flaky and unprofessional.

Is there truly anything that can’t wait an hour or two? Is there a reason you have to respond to that email immediately? Are you serving your clients and yourself by incessantly checking Facebook or Instagram?

I didn’t think so. And trust me when I say that some days I’m hooked to my inbox or social media for one reason or another. But productivity is so much more on-point when I can ignore my inbox and social for several hours at a time.

Focus on the Quality

Find those businesses that you truly resonate with and follow them—they’re your people and you’re theirs—and don’t worry about the rest.

[bctt tweet=”Find those you truly resonate with and don’t worry about the rest.” username=””]

Frankly I’m tired of my inbox being spammed with sales emails and meaningless crap (because, yes, sometimes it’s just crap). So when I finally take the time to open the tenth sales email in a row from someone I’m only loosely following, I scroll straight to the bottom and unsubscribe.

Instead, my focus is on the quality content that I take my time to consume. The content that serves exactly the need I have at that moment. Because the rest is just noise most of the time.

I know that online noise and excessive intake is likely here to stay. But it’s up to us as consumers to put our own filters into place so we don’t come down with intake overload.

And if you do manage to catch this nasty bug? Start narrowing the content you’re exposed to so only the quality comes through. Have a good rest with minimal notifications and I guarantee you’ll start to feel better.

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