Some weeks ago, when I was speaking to a group of young professionals on digital media issues, one of them asked: How do you keep up with so much news? My honest answer should be: “I don’t” – in a manner of speaking. In the age of exploding media, which includes dozens of TV news channels, several newspapers and god knows how many Twitter feeds, blogs and websites, “information anxiety” is a real problem.
To that, as the year draws to a close, I may add “digital fatigue.” It is impossible to compete with youngsters and their never-ending play with touchscreen adventurism, but one does try. And then looms the question: are we any wiser with information overload? As I muse on this, let me offer five tips to cope with digital fatigue, in the hope that it still keeps our work and life in decent balance.
1) Choose your websites/apps wisely: Pick the ones that save you time and communicate effectively. The ones that give you information in nuggets, and insights without preambles, tend to work best.
2) Taste some websites at longer intervals, not regularly: For long-term issues, no need for short-term remedies.
3) Don’t forget the physical world: Talking to the right people on any issue can sometimes save you hours of digital digging. If you can, nothing like it (I confess this is a perk journalists enjoy naturally)
4) Use your devices better: You can listen to music on the go or talk to people on the phone while on your morning walk. You can use your tablet while leaning on the sofa or on the metro but not your laptop or desktop (usually!). Plan your day accordingly.
5) Try Internet radio: I think Internet radio can be excellent for catching up on global developments and save your eyes some strain.
Shifting between your eyes, ears and fingers while managing to rest your back and moving it to get some exercise should hopefully limit your digital age anxieties!