Business Tips

Dealing with Information Overload as a Small Business Owner

Information overload is an issue that many people have to deal with, and when you’re a small business owner, it can become an even bigger problem. Business owners have more information coming at them than the average person because of the responsibilities that come along with running a business, as well as the need to stay competitive and grow. Information you have to wade through may include:

  • Financial reports
  • Market trends
  • Industry news
  • Emails and messages from staff and other business contacts
  • Social media
  • Online reviews and customer feedback
  • Phone calls
  • Zoom meetings
  • Company communications on productivity platforms like messaging app Slack, and others

It’s a lot.

Staying up to date on the right information is critical, yet overload can have a negative impact on productivity, efficiency, decision-making, and even memory and mental health. How can you deal with information overload?

Manage Your Time

It starts with managing your time well. Prioritize tasks, set limits, and reduce distractions. Use productivity and time management tools, like to-do lists, project management software, etc. Such tools can help you focus on what matters most, and can reduce distractions. This way, you can gather the most relevant information at the right time and avoid taking in information that has little importance or bearing on the tasks at hand. Be sure to take breaks to give your mind a rest. These are also good times to take in the less important information of interest, such as the latest sports scores or movie reviews you might be interested in. Absorbing such information while on a break will allow you to separate it from your work time and keep you on task.

Be Choosy

Make it a point to be choosy about the information you receive, and try to filter out the noise. For some information sources, such as email, you can literally use filters. For others, you may have to mentally filter or simply determine what to give your attention to when. It can be tempting to want to have all the information possible. You want to maximize your knowledge and make informed decisions. However, when too much noisy information makes its way into your consciousness, this can be counterproductive.

Try to emphasize quality over quantity when it comes to the information you choose to engage with. This could be reducing the number of industry publications you read to only focus on the best ones, or it could be focusing on a messaging app company channel that pertains directly to your immediate concerns, rather than taking the time to read through every update posted by every team across all channels. The point is to focus on what is likely to give you the best and most relevant information first.


It can be very helpful to delegate tasks to team members, and then have them report the information you need back to you in a simple, easily digestible format. The more you can delegate, the more organized you can be, and you can specify times when it is most convenient for you to receive updates.

It’s easy to get caught up in information overload when running a business and also balancing that with your personal life and interests. If you learn how to better manage your time, be choosy about the information you follow, and delegate tasks out to staff, you can stay on top of what needs to get gone and enjoy your day more.

Read more business tips to learn how you can set your business up for success.

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