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Internet is the main source of information in 21st century and most of the information is easily accessible. But, this ease leads to addiction where an individual seeks more fresh information daily.

This addiction leads to time wastage. Most of the information might not be of much use for us but still we gather it because we are addicted to it.

How to get out of this trap?

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It is clearly a serious 21th century challenge to see and deal with information overload and not become addicted to be drawn in the ocean of information we are living in. Overcoming an addiction in general requires we see clearly the negative effects of it and build an opposite to it. You already pointed out some negative results "This addiction leads to time wastage. Most of the information might not be of much use for us". – Mohamad Fakih Jul 10 '13 at 9:42
I find this ironical since the best SE answers tend to contain a lot of information :) – AsheeshR Jul 10 '13 at 13:44
Another helpful book is… – HLGEM Jul 10 '13 at 14:07
Great question! I too face the same dilemma. I am not able to convince myself that reading News is harmful even though it is not related to my field. I tend to think - "what harm it is to be well aware of things all around?" – R11G Oct 14 '13 at 13:58
So I just clicked on a link to this question, because I crave the information... – Kramii Dec 1 '15 at 8:47
up vote 19 down vote accepted

It will be worth looking at Scott Hanselman's take on this - he gives a really good productivity talk 'It's not what you read, it's what you ignore', which is a personal favourite of mine. Particularly relevent for me is the section where he talks about News sites - making the point that if news is important enought, you'll find out some other way...

EDIT: and indeed, here is another relevant quote from the same source:

"If it is neither urgent nor important you should dump it. But unfortunately what happens is that we spend our time on things that feel urgent but are not important at all, but the urgency is an addiction."

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I find that most information on the web repeats itself to a more or lesser degree. My solution may be overkill for many, but maybe something complicated is necessary to deal with the information ocean available to us:

I have a private wiki, in which I write down everything I stumble across that I find even remotely interesting. Thanks to grouping in categories and pages, I can already see what topics I have worked with previously, and I can recognize how much of what I've writing down I'm actually using. This helps me decide whether to dig deeper or let something be. My rough rules are:

  1. If I don't feel something is worth writing down for later reference, I skip it.
  2. If I see I've written down something similar previously and I can't remember ever using that, I skip whatever information I'm working with now.
  3. In all other cases I write down the information I have into my wiki, paying attention to fitting it in with what already is there.

I think there is great value in having so much information accessible to me, so I want to take in as much as possible (my limit is when my head starts hurting - really, if I read or talk about too many topics my head gets this "bursting" feeling). So I use the wiki as my off-load area, so I don't have to juggle everything inside my head, and I can put off things for later when they could be more relevant.

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Rafael, this is an interesting idea. I do pretty much the same with Evernote, but one problem is that notes tend to drown away amongst many other notes. While Evernote does support linking notes, it's not as flexible as a Wiki. I'm just curious which Wiki software you use and if you have found it quick/accessible to work with. I have tried your idea before but found it to be too much of a time-investment to maintain the intralinks. – Winterflags Dec 1 '15 at 8:50
I use mediawiki (the software behind wikipedia). – Rafael Cichocki Dec 1 '15 at 8:55
Your comment is over an year old and I just stumbled upon it. Just wondering if you're still keeping up with this method of organizing? – Raisen Dec 8 '15 at 5:04
@Raisen The comment is actually 7 days old : ), but I've been using my personal wiki for almost 1.5 years now. I have it open right now actually, and yesterday I added some quotes and links about startups. Not that I need that info now, but it's interesting, and maybe later I can revisit these references. – Rafael Cichocki Dec 8 '15 at 10:04
Thanks @RafaelCichocki, sorry, I looked at the answer's date, not your comments. Duh! – Raisen Dec 8 '15 at 21:07

You might try a fast. For instance, plan to go 30 days without any attention-draining inputs. That means none. You will discover a thing or two that is important to you that you don't want to give up, and you will discover many many things that you could completely give up. It will give you a new perspective on your priorities.

You can read more on this related blog post.

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Stop being an information pack rat, don't read anything if you're not gonna use that info immediately. Case closed, yes it's that easy

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Easier said than done... – mparnisari Sep 30 '14 at 3:19

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