In episode 824, Ross Dawson shares battle-tested strategies for excelling in a world of massive information.
Purpose helps you build a positive relationship with information. If you’re struggling to draw the line when consuming information, ask yourself, “What is my purpose for it? Why am I reading this?” Your field of expertise also plays an important part in knowing your purpose, as this gives you clarity on what information and sources you need. Also consider if the information benefits your or your loved ones’ well-being.
Build information frameworks to help you better process concepts. Ask yourself, “What are the relationships between these ideas? How does this fit together?” Using tools like mind maps help you simplify ideas and find connections between different ideas.
Filter out the information you don’t need. Be selective about the information you consume; you don’t always need to be informed about a certain topic. Sometimes we feel that we need to be updated on certain topics, like tuning into the news, when it doesn’t align with our purpose. But, at the same time, you need to ensure that you’re not succumbing to confirmation bias by filtering out information you disagree with. Instead, look for information that complements your knowledge, not just affirms it. Another way to do this is to start attributing probabilities to information. Once you attach a probability to a piece of information, you can look for evidence that will either increase or decrease that probability.
Adjust your attention level to your goals. In the process of gathering information, what most people forget is it’s also equally important to know when to stop taking in information. Knowing when to step back gives you the space and the time to process what you already know instead of piling on the information, resulting in overwhelm.
Avoid multitasking; instead, try focusing on one thing at a time. Switching your attention makes you perform less in any given task; instead, set aside three hours of attention and spend it on one task. People who can keep their attention on one thing achieve more things than people who multitask.
Synthesize the information you’ve gathered. This requires intense focus on your part, giving your mind the space so it can piece together all of the different elements to build that understanding.
Be critical when it comes to your sources. Curiosity goes a long way when assessing sources for credibility, as no source is completely accurate. Remember not to take anything at face value and conduct your research, and build your reference point and find evidence that can support it.
Read/listen to the full conversation HERE.