Information Overload

I think I’ve been suffering from information overload or rather, infoxication.

From originally wanting to know everything about the pandemic and the economic and health repercussions of the virus, I’m at the point where it’s just getting overwhelming for my poor brain and sanity to cope with.

I feel that all I need to know right now are actual specifics about lockdown and how it will affect me personally (ie when and what is being relaxed, who I can meet up with and where) and from my employer, when/if I’ll be going back to the office.

That’s it.

I really don’t need or want to know any more. I used to watch the daily Coronavirus update but even that was getting a bit too much.

At some point in the future, I might be interested in reading more about what the various experts and governments around the world should have/shouldn’t have done but I’d rather read about it as a historical event which I lived through – that’s assuming I will live through this.

Maybe HBO will do a Chernobyl-like mini-series about it to dramatise all the lies and incompetence but also pay homage to the brave and the inspirational.

I’ve tried to cut back on my use of social media.

The weekly Zoom calls I have with my friends are great but also remind me how much I miss them.

I still check out Twitter for my business/investing news and although I haven’t unfollowed or blocked anyone, I’ve muted a LOT of people who were just spouting negativity. I know things will get worse,  I just don’t want to be bombarded with this fact every day in a hundred different ways.

Give me more stories about Captain Tom Moore.

I’m still reading other FIRE blogs as many are continuing with their goals and there’s still a sense of positivity, whether they’re volunteering or even when there’s been redundancy.

I’m sooooo glad that the German football league has started as my feed will now have a trickle of positive but irrelevant tweets.

I’m really craving reading something that I’m interested in but which has nothing to do with whether people are going to die or that the country will go down in flames during the worst recession in history.

I also recently developed the terrible habit of checking my phone excessively while I’m watching tv, in between reading chapters of my book and worse, it’s really distracting me while I’m working.

I came across the Forest app (free for Android) which supposedly helps you focus on tasks at hand.

Basically, you set a time for however long you want to concentrate (and not be distracted by your phone) and if you succeed, you grow a tree for your virtual forest.

If you fail (by giving up), you end up with a withered tree and you don’t want that messing up your nice little forest, do you?

My forest after a week

Yes, it’s a little gimmicky but I’ve found that it has helped me somewhat with my concentration.

Anyway, there’s a better review of the app at The Money Mountain, where I first read of the app.

How is everyone else doing and does anyone else use apps to help with their concentration/focus?

Hope you’re all enjoying the bank holiday.

18 thoughts on “Information Overload

  1. I wish that i had the time to concentrate like that.
    Working full time and two kids with no off switch puts pay to that.

    Luckily despite not having a garden we have a big park and the river nearby so a nice walk or family cycle reduces the stress levels when they rise

    • Hi GFF
      I can imagine it being so much harder to concentrate with young children. And yes, having somewhere nearby you can get some fresh air and space would make things more tolerable.

  2. Hi Weenie,

    I definitely understand what you mean. Probably due to both work deadlines and parenting, I gave up keeping up with stuff after day 5 or so of lockdown, but every few days or so, I have this anxiety I’ve missed something everyone in the country knows already!! The brain is not used to living in such an asocial bubble! Rarely though have I missed something important.

    I do find myself on facebook when I’m working but I think my brain is just tired out and fed up! I try not to give myself too hard a time over it but do regret it if I’m working past 9pm! It’s like that cream cake you didn’t even enjoy that much anyway! Ugh.

    We haven’t done any video calls in a while as Junior just gets frustrated and wants to go visit. “Are the germs over?!” In a hopeful voice. 🙁 I found myself having slightly awkward silences with family mainly due to my own tiredness, making video calls hard, so made less effort lately especially as my parents seem okay. So yeah it does mean I’m more disconnected though.

    The FI blog world seems very productive right now ehich is great! I’m glad the app is working for you. Sounds good! I do stick my Messenger on silent for a few hours when my less busy siblings are chatting, but alas no forest!

    Have you been out yet to see friends at a socially distanced distance? If I had the spare time, I’d meet up with someone close by for a walk. Did offer a nursery parent to have the kids do a bike ride but no reply, lol! Understandable totally esp as the mum is pregnant, but hard to know how to get it right.

    • Hi Firelite

      I haven’t switched off totally as I don’t want to miss out on some important bit of news. The news that some more stores can open was quite interesting but not likely to really affect me as there’s nothing I want to/need to buy.

      I’ve only seen one friend since lockdown – she was going to Costco and asked if I wanted anything, so we had a chat on my driveway when she dropped the shopping off.

  3. Hi weenie, I had this same feeling during the first weeks. I was following news and updates from UK, Spain and Catalonia. I quickly became overloaded until I decided I would only follow one source of information for Spain (an Australian vlogger) and limit down my information intake from the UK by just watching BBC summarised video news. I never watch TV, but I did consume too much Youtube, which I think is worse than TV sometimes.

    Thanks for the app recommendation. I started off with focus when working from home, but that has been fading over the last two weeks, and I do get distracted more often. I may give the app a go.

    I miss outdoor lifestyle a lot, simple things like sitting on a terrace drinking beer, coffee or having a meal while having a interesting conversation with someone who else. I miss travelling, especially to Spain and seeing some family members and friends.

    But I am also grateful for so many other things, as remaining healthy, having a stable job and also living in a quiet area, as I guess this experience in big cities must be harder.

    On Twitter, I’ve noticed a lot more people is trying to make business online, as the traffic has increased. Yes, annoying and overwhelming at some point as well.

    Stay safe,

    • Hey Tony

      Yes, too many experts with too many opinions.

      But still, like you say, so many things to be grateful for, particularly good health and a stable job but like you say, it’s the simple things we used to just take for granted that are missed.

      I have no idea if I’ll be able to travel to Hong Kong to see my family this year, which saddens me, especially as my grandmother is 93 and not in particularly great health 🙁

  4. Good post weenie. I like the idea of that app, pretty cool. I started watching all the daily briefings for a long time but some of the questions from the media at times just frustrated me to be fair. I read loads of articles about it also but now I just occasionally check bbc news and the guardian Coronavirus live Page.

    I don’t use Facebook or much social media to be fair so I don’t really see loads of the fake news and hyperbole that gets spread that my partner mentions occasionally, that frustrated me just as much. When I hear ‘Weatherspoons opening next week’ and ‘scientists say coronavirus will be eliminated by September 6th’… it just infuriates me having to counter a lot of it.


    • Thanks Chris.

      Hear you on the questions – I started to think that they were all leading questions to try to trip up the panel and were too specific to a few or individual cases.

      The press reporting all the ‘covidiots’ breaching lockdown etc used to annoy me but I try not to let myself get all emotional about it now, if they want to risk their lives, then it’s up to them.

  5. Thanks for sharing so honestly what many people are feeling but few talk about.

    I must confess I’ve gradually isolated myself over the course of the lockdown. Withdrawing from forums where friends, family, or colleagues tended to flap or rumour monger.

    In their own way, my kids have each done a similar thing. Whether they are copying me, me them, or we’ve all independently arrived at a similar coping strategy is an interesting question.

    To the concentration point, I’ve taken to leaving my phone near the charger rather than carrying it around the house in my pocket. Can’t say I have missed it.

    • Hi indeedably

      I hadn’t thought of withdrawing from social media as ‘self isolating’ but I guess that’s what I’ve done too. Interesting that your kids have done so too but at least that means less stress for the family.

      My charger is right next to me so perhaps I should take to leaving my phone charging upstairs!

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  7. I feel exactly the same ref too much info. Tbh hold on to the fact that they have no better idea what happens next than you do. And that negative generally outsells positive news so will dominate. Lots of local businesses are starting to come back part time round me which is a good sign I think

    • Hi FBA

      Agree, nobody knows anything really and of course, negative/doom and gloom headlines provide more clicks. Shops opening will be good for the community, that’s assuming they have been able to survive that last few months.

  8. I stopped watching the news after the first official coronavirus report. I figured things weren’t going to get better day to day anytime soon so whittled it down to once a fortnight and now don’t even bother with that.

    If you’re looking for a fictional world to get lost in, I highly recommend Ben Aaronovitch’s Rivers of Blood series. A mix between an adult Harry Potter and CSI and remains quite lighthearted throughout.

    • Thanks for the recommendation, AMM – I have ‘Rivers of London’ on my to-read list, is that part of the same series? Not been able to get it in my library.

  9. I’d say my interest in following everything has been an inverse V – I read everything I could and checked the stats 5 times a day near the start of the pandemic. But now I barely even watch the daily updates, if they say anything important it filters through from friends and family anyway.

    Low information diet FTW! 🙂

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