Caught in the Net

Information overloadSeems these days we’re required to pay attention to avalanches of information. Thanks to “The Internet,” information is at our fingertips – simple to access and with varying degrees of accuracy. We self-diagnose, self-direct and self-compare with the assistance of “The Internet.” It doesn’t come without its issues.

Productivity in my studio feels low. We’ve all been warned about the time trappings of lurking in the Internetic Jungle. We know the distractions, confusion and false hopes it can provide. But, truth be told, we need this technology to remain competitive in our businesses…to what extent, I’m not quite sure.  I seemed to think I had a handle on these entanglements, but I overlooked something. Something so simple. Something distracting, time consuming and easily solvable.

My inbox was bursting at the seams. It felt convoluted, cluttered, chaotic. I was constantly running the risk of missing important communications, but didn’t want to miss anything- so I’d grab things of urgency and leave the rest, you know, “just in case.”

15,000 emails later (I may have “under-padded” that figure a bit) I was swimming in a cesspool of stale notifications, solicitations and notes from businesses I didn’t even recognize.

The culprit was primarily….ahem….me, but let’s blame social media Information overloadplatforms. To solve my “dirtlema,” I turned off notifications on my phone a long time ago – now, I’ve turned off email notifications, too. LinkedIn groups – I don’t need to know your every thought. Facebook – I can check my own notifications. I don’t need duplicates via email or messenger. The Ladders? I’m not looking for a job. I’m not even sure why you’re there. Unsubscribe, notifications “OFF,” delete, delete, delete.

Now, I realize the irony in me telling you to unsubscribe, stop notifications and disconnect. Part of my success depends upon you reading, commenting and sharing this blog. But, boy, why do we need to hear the same, usually trivial, information from 3 different sources? Sometimes, we just can’t take our eyes of the train wreck (click to Tweet). Not me! I’m taking control! I’ll check information at my own will. I’ll respond when I have time. I’ll finally open my emails without feeling like I’m crawling through the debris of a data dump.

Thanks for letting me have my say. You are still there, aren’t you?  I’ll let you know how it goes. Will productivity improve? Will stress decline? It’s a constant practice, to unplug and remain in the present. Feel free to share you thoughts, or share this blog with someone who my actually benefit from it in their inbox!

Untangle, Unplug,

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Michelle Andres is a writer and artist. She writes this blog to share tips for a well-lived life and a Writer, Artist, Coachfinely run art business…just for you!

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16 Replies to “Caught in the Net”

  1. The Internet can sure be a productivity trap. I’ve done the same as you. I don’t even have my phone online unless I’m looking for something specific, like a location on a map. I also go through and unsubscribe from newsletters, and remove groups and friends on facebook regularly.

    1. Sounds like it works for you, Linda. I certainly appreciate you leaving a note here…it means a lot to me that you took time to read the blog. We must be judicious in our choices of how we spend our time and mental energy. Thanks! ~m

      1. I agree it’s all about choices we have to decide what’s important; sometimes sharing with other artists is the best thing to do. We do need each other and we need the community it provides

  2. The delete button is a powerful tool and I’m learning to use it. I don’t use my phone for updates at all. In the last week I’ve been unsubscribing to things that no longer work for me. It’s been powerful. Good post

  3. Oh my, I can totally relate Michelle! Even though I don’t own a cell phone (personal choice to be present with whomever I am with), I managed to have about 13,000 UNREAD emails in my inbox.

    So I went on a big ‘unsubscribe’ fest and started deleting all of those from the past. I am finally down to almost 1,300 UNREAD emails. I keep it up daily now with whatever comes in new each day. SOMEDAY, I will get my inbox down to ZERO unopened emails…..

    1. It’s a battle, Elda! At the end of any given year, I take all the unread and just move them into a folder with there previous year. I know it is a sad commentary on my data organization, but it feels good to get them out of my face!

  4. Wow your blog was well-timed. I’m just getting to this info for just that very reason! Too many notifications, email, etc. I am also in the process of turning off and unsubscribing (not from your blog though!) Because I am so OCD I’m afraid of missing out on some vital piece of information. I have now come to realize that I can just search if I need that info. I’m now keeping only the most important info emails and deleting others that keep duplicating the same info. It feels good to be out of the net!

    I still look forward to your informative, motivational blogs every week!

  5. Hi, Michelle! In order to try to maintain some semblance of organization (a/k/a OCD control), I opened up multiple email addresses. Bad, bad, BAD idea!!! I am a: writer, upcycler, couponer, mixed media artist, papercrafter, crafts instructor, commisioned crafter, retailer, Avon lady, medical transcriptionist, and Healing Touch practitioner/Massage Therapist. Each “hat” has at least one, but usually three or more, email accounts. I’d like to say I taught myself an invaluable lesson. I realized I definitely had FoMO issues, and began unsubscribing and deleting like crazy. Now, once I determine email from a particular source is not necessary, I conduct a global search through my emails for everything from that source, select all, and press DELETE! I thought I would feel less burdened, but initially found myself stressing over having SO much to go through! LOL. I’ve decided to just take it one day at a time – one email at a time – and do what is comfortable for me that day. I DO have 8 email accounts on my cell, so I can either unsubscribe or read and delete immediately, as it is sent. Still have a ways to go! I am so very grateful for your blog; it is definitely something I do not wish to ever miss, much less unsubscribe from! Your posts always come at exactly the right time, and are always so relevant! Thanks again, for this awesome post! (BTW, here’s a great read on FoMO: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear_of_missing_out )

    1. Wow, Dee! What a story. I must admit, I giggled a bit at having so many accounts to organize emails. It sounds treacherous! Glad you’re getting it under control – sort of control. Don’t worry about missing out on a thing! I think you have it ALL covered! Take care! – m

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