Ever heard of the phrase, “too much of a good thing”? Yeah… that definitely applies to online business education. There’s just so much education out there it can be hard to know where to start, how to implement and what to do next – cue information overwhelm, aka analysis paralysis.
So I’m just dropping in with my 7 top tips on how to manage all that education without the information overwhelm so you can continue to take in all the content you can get your hands on, grow your business with clarity and leverage your success – without the headaches, tears and analysis paralysis
“My brain feels like there’s 20 tabs open…”
There’s a lot of valuable education out there for new or growing businesses. Often it’s free, or incredibly good value for money. Simply by exchanging an email address or a reasonable amount of cash, you can get access to tons of courses, challenges, hints, tips, step-by-steps – you name it. But do you ever feel like there’s just a little…. too much?
Too many courses to choose from – where do you start?
Too many free downloads piling up on your desktop, yet to be looked at…
Too many challenges you’re signed up to, that you’ve done day 1 of and then forgotten about…
It can often leave you feeling more confused than ever. Not having a clue where to start, or how to implement what you’re learning. You want to feel like taking in this education will be valuable to your business, but often you just feel like you’re wasting your time.
The problem is when you start a course, or read through a download, if you have no strategy, plan or intention behind it, it will be a waste of your time. No matter how valuable the the lessons being taught are, it’ll just go to the back of your mind, niggling away at you until it’s eventually forgotten.
Managing information overwhelm with a strategy
But by having a system in place, you can continue to take in new information without feeling like you’re just learning for learnings sake. You can implement what you’re learning, and see successes quicker as a result. You can work out which educators know their stuff, and which ones you want to avoid. And you’ll start to see clarity with what areas you need to prioritise, and what’s not so important right now.
Bottom line; getting organised with your education will clear the path for you to learn, implement and grow – without the information overwhelm. So here’s my top 7 tips to get you started on a better business eduction journey!
Having an overwhelming day? Check out this post for how to tackle it!
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1: have a place to store your learnings
I use Notion – it kind of acts like my own little Wikipedia. I can organise all the content into categories, such as Marketing, Photography, Web Design, SEO etc. This way, when I’m taking a course, I can note all my learnings here, organised under subheadings, making this information really easy to find when I need to refer back to it. But honestly? Your desktop notepad will do for now if required.
Often courses etc will come with a workbook to keep you organised. But if it’s just going to end up in a pile afterwards, what’s the point? I tend to not use these workbooks, as helpful as the intention is behind it. Instead I prefer to note down my learnings my way in my own system, so I know I can find this information again.
2: have a regular checkpoint TO IMPLEMENT LEARNINGS
What’s the point in taking that free course on SEO if you’re not going to do anything with it? To see results, you gotta’ do the work. But that can feel overwhelming when you’ve got a million other things to do. So make a calendar reminder once a month or quarter to revise what you’ve learnt recently, and what business strategies you want to implement or improve as a result.
You can’t do everything at once. This way, you can at least be making small or big business pivots on a monthly basis to grow your business. For example, you may decide on month 1 to implement a better Pinterest strategy after taking a Pinterest course. That will be your month 1 business side-project. Month two could be improving your sales page based on a free guide you downloaded. Etc etc.
For more help on how to carve out a batch working rhythm that suits your personality, check this post out!
3: set out goals for each new piece of education you take on
Don’t start any new education until you’ve worked out what you hope to gain from it. Shiny light syndrome is big when starting a business, and free courses on how to start a podcast, or how to earn from affiliate marketing can really pivot you from your core goals and the foundational jobs you need to be doing first.
By creating goals and/or intentions from your learnings, you can assess before you even start; is this worthwhile? Is this contributing towards my annual/5-year plan? Will this move my business forward, or is it a gimmick? It will also help you understand how much time you need to dedicate to this piece of education. Is this a quick win? Or a month long investment? If it’s a month long investment of my time – is it worth it for your business? What will your business gain from this?
4: debrief yourself after the course is over
This is just as important as setting a goal for the education. What’s the point in feeling really well-informed following a decent Instagram course, if nothing happens as a result of it? Create a debriefing checklist of what needs to happen now it’s over. Your checklist will depend on how you run, or plan to run your business. But for instance, your checklist could look like:
✓ Ensure all learnings have been clearly documented in the right place.
✓ Assess whether anything needs to change with operational tasks and schedule to review.
✓ Assess whether any projects are required to implement strategies.
✓ Assess if any more education is required on this topic.
✓ Evaluate educational goals set out at the start and whether they have been achieved.
5: have a calendar slot to book in new CONTENT you’ve been saving
Browsing social media or signing up to various mailing lists will inevitably lead to information overwhelm with all this new content coming your way. Rather than taking on too much at once and leaving yourself feeling confused and inundated, schedule how often you’d like to be absorbing new content.
For instance, you may decide to spend 30 minutes a day on one course each month. You may also decide to have a 20 minute blog-break a day where you consume regular content from your favourite educators. Possibly have an hour a week where you’ll consume all free digital downloads you’ve snapped up.
By creating a structure, it won’t be as overwhelming; you’ll simply take in that content when your next calendar slot opens up.
6: have a place to save ‘potential’ CONTENT
Obviously the above tip only works when you have content backed up ready to consume. So rather than trying to take in everything as it comes your way, have a place to store what you’d like to assess. Maybe it’s a notepad with links to courses/downloads/podcasts etc, or maybe it’s saved as a favourite in your browser – under a clear category header.
This is probably the biggest remover of information overwhelm when there’s just too much information to process. Bank it away for when your schedule tells you it’s time to take on new education. That way you’re not dismissing the content, you’re just choosing when you absorb it.
7: have a rating system in place for the educator
Finally, to ensure you’re only learning from educators that deliver the content you need, in the format and style that you need it, rate how you found each piece of educational content. Whether it’s smiley faces, a star system or out of 5 – keep a list of your top educators or blogs. That way, when it comes round to investing serious cash in coaching or big courses, you instantly know who will deliver on value and results, and removes confusion over where to spend your money first, and with who.
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And there you have it! My top 7 tips for managing information overload so you can continue to learn, invest in your education and grow your business, without feeling like there’s just too much information to process. Do you do any of these currently? Share your tips below in the comments!