Input overload: how do you cope?


We see it all around us: news, alerts, information. It hits us from every angle: getting to us through print, digital, and audio means. It’s not enough that we face general streams of content flooding our senses. We’ve personalised it, too. We receive customised feeds and notifications on our computers (when we’re working), and phones (which are always with us…always on).

Social media statuses and “stories” make everyone a broadcaster. The power is in everyone’s hands. They want to put a message across. Sell something. Share something. Sometimes uplifting. Sometimes informative or otherwise beneficial. Very often just amusing…entertaining. And often just pure crap – hoaxes and sensationalised false information trying to elicit a reaction.

And that’s just the general, non-specific stuff that floats around each day.

Now we come to what we put out. Our posts and statuses. Our shares and stories. We crave attention from strangers and physically distant individuals. Every Like…every comment…every reaction…releases something in us. A hit. A temporary high. Short-lived gratification. We were recognised. We were seen. We were acknowledged. We were praised…commended. At times, we are challenged. Then starts the argumentation cycle. Sometimes necessary. Sometimes constructive. But often far from useful.

Even more direct is our personal communication with others. Messages back and forth, at all times of day and night. We lose focus at work. We ignore those physically around us. We don’t give them the attention they deserve. What’s more exciting – or a higher priority, at least – is the outside world – those in our boundary-less virtual space.

And it’s hard to see. It’s hard to stop. Many of us are addicted. Well and truly addicted.

We see the older generations as backwards. Not with the times. Struggling to work a BlackBerry or other dated relic from the technological dark ages just 5 years ago. Not constantly communicating.

But they are the wise ones. Who says they need to ‘move with the times’?

The human brain, and heart, was not made for such rampant amounts of input. The deluge that faces us each and every day is unnatural. Unhealthy.

But that’s life. Modern life. Urban life. Probably even rural life – for technology and communication touches all, save a few.

We connect to everyone and everything else. Constantly. But how often do we connect with the One Who made us? How often can we separate from the world and just be in deep, contemplative solitude with our Creator?

We have our daily ritual prayers – varying amounts, depending on your faith – but can we really filter out all the noise in those moments? Do the thoughts, sounds, visions from all we soaked in…all we take in second by second…do they keep playing even when we superficially disconnect from them?

Can we blank it all out? In those short periods that are supposed to be a sacred space where nothing comes between us and our Lord.

Even if you’re faith-less, can you still achieve moments of stillness?

And if so, do you get enough of it? Are you in balance?

Forgive the rant. It’s played on my mind for quite some time. And I needed to put it down here as a reminder to myself that I need to break free – more often – of this toxic addiction of input.

How do you cope? Do you take technology sabbaticals? Do you go to the extreme of just cutting off all personal inputs? (from your phone and digital devices…that which is within your control)

Speak to me. Share your tips and wisdom….

(And here’s something interesting on the topic, along with another important reminder about the importance of regulating our inputs.)

Image source

An updated version of this piece appears in my book – Let it Flow – available via Amazon Kindle, Google Play Books, Apple Books, Kobo, and more.

2 thoughts on “Input overload: how do you cope?

  1. Absolutely 100%.
    In between matchmaking Nd councelling I sometimes struggle to go into social media and keep updated. I find that it takes up time. Important time that could be utilized elsewhere. So I switch off at family times, occasions and hilidauscvli
    I don’t feel the need to “ report” my meals, my clothes, my table settings etc. I used to post my meals on a good group and share recipes, post pics on a photography group, give advices on a empathy group , etc etc
    I was , I noticed spreading myself thin.
    And then , one day I realized that if I didn’t then somebody else would. And that was the end. I have set time to post duas and reply to my inboxes. And that’s it. I’m happy. اَلْحَمْدُ لِلّه

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