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4 Apps That Prevent Information Overload

The Huffington Post The Huffington Post 12/11/2015 Mansal Denton
PHONE CALLING © Ron Chapple Stock via Getty Images PHONE CALLING

Most of my posts are about philosophy, right living, and finding the most fulfilling and happy life possible. Often this requires esoteric ponderings about ourselves and how we view the world, but sometimes there are tangible tools to help us. In the case of information overload and being consistently bombarded, there are tools we can use to actually improve our day to day existence.
I'll be the first to admit I hate technology. I am no luddite and you will often find me checking my phone at traffic stops and other inopportune moments, but I don't like it. I don't like being dependent on it, I don't like the feeling that comes when I am missing technology, and yet, I don't like all the information that comes with the phone either.
It is like some addictive drug that I know isn't good for me, but I can't stop using it anyway. Addiction is definitely a hard thing to shake, but there are a number of tools that may actually be able to help prevent yourself from going crazy while on the internet or dealing with technology.
1. RSS Reader - I have long since given up on news. It doesn't tell me anything that genuinely interests me or changes my life. As much as I empathize with people dying around the world, it isn't really in my power to do anything about it. I definitely don't want to hear or worry about school shootings taking place around the country, and in a political season I want absolutely nothing to do with information streaming in from all sources.
My very simple (and technologically dated) solution is to make good use of an RSS reader. There is no reason to sift through the (few) sites that have good information when you can just have it parsed directly to you in one place where you can deem what is relevant and what is not. It is an old app / piece of technology, but it's a game changer. Personally, I prefer to use feedly as I can curate the type of content that I want in a more visually pleasing way.
2. Snippet Shorteners I run my own business and I am constantly creating links, sending links to affiliates, email lists, etc. I can't tell you the burden I have trying to keep track of all these links. It is enough to make anyone go crazy, but there are link shortening tools that keep me sane.
If I publish a piece of content and put it on the web, my ego requires I follow it around social media etc. Sometimes that ends with me on Facebook searching through cat pictures because there is just so much information, I can't help myself. With the link shortening app Snipli, I can monitor the social media reach of the link from a central hub so I never have to go down the Twitter or Facebook rabbit hole.
The man who wrote "Dilbert" said on a Tim Ferriss podcast episode that he verbally repeats what he is trying to achieve over and over again so that he prevents himself from getting distracted with social media. He will say "print PDF file, print PDF file, ..." over and over again just so he doesn't fall into the rabbit hole of social media and he is one of the most successful human beings on the planet. That is why I find these snippet tools helpful - they prevent me from ever needing to go on social media.
3. Evernote - I am a big fan of physically writing things out. In fact, most times you'll find me doing so while everyone else is typing away. There is something about the physical writing that makes it stick in my mind more, makes it mean more, and definitely has a greater impact on how I interact with the information. That being said, sometimes it is nice to have everything organized. I can't search through my journals and writings with the click of a button and sometimes I really need to be able to do that.
An app like Evernote allows me to keep notes, documents, photos, and even audio snippets in one place. When I was recording audio about my experiences in prison, Evernote was a great way of keeping text together with recordings so I could view it all in one place later. As a business owner, festival organizer, and charitable project lover, keeping track of all this is a must.
4. Book Reader - I'm a big book reader, but keeping all of them in physical form in my tiny studio apartment can become overwhelming. I love the information that comes in books, but if I had to deal with stacks of that information on the way to the bathroom, I might not be so happy. Digital versions of books are perfect, but finding the right e-reader has been a bit of a challenge for me.
Honestly, the Kindle app and others are great, but they are a bit difficult on the eyes. I have 4.75 prescription glasses and contact lenses. I have no desire to squint or put the e-reader in my face. One solution has been to use Aldiko, which is a free app that eases the burden on the eyes. It has some great organizational features that make it useful as well.
These Apps Won't Save You
Don't download all of these apps thinking that any of it is going to "save" you. The only way to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed by information on the internet is to prevent yourself from falling down rabbit holes. That only comes from awareness about
A) what you want to achieve in life
B) whether what you are doing is going to help you get there
If you have a very strong and compelling vision for what the future looks like in your world then it will not be difficult to maintain this awareness and reject information that is getting in your way.

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