Too much poor information distracts you from what you’re focusing on, making you think other items are more important than they are. That confusion in turn makes it harder to finalize decisions, keeping you running in circles, constantly changing priorities.

You Are What You Read: Why Managing Your Inputs is a Crucial Part of Productivity

Seven Problems from Not Managing Inputs
1. Information Overload
2. Decision Paralysis
3. Decision Fatigue
4. Willpower Depletion
5. Worry and Fear
6. Productivity Drain
7. Unhappiness

Seven Information Inputs and How to Manage Them
1. News
2. Advertising
3. Blogs
4. Videos
5. Notifications
6. Books
7. Other People

How to Improve Your Inputs

Optimizing the information you take-in is an ongoing process, but here are some simple ways to get started right now.
  1. Set up a news aggregator like Feedly so you can get your information in one place without ads, popups, or links to related articles,
  2. Sign up with an article storing system like Pocket or Instapaper so that you can save articles that might be useful in the future, without spending time reading them now.
  3. Assess where you get your information from on a day-to-day basis. Are these reliable sources? How can you improve your information flow? Write down your five biggest sources of information and critique each honestly.
  4. Make a list of the five people you listen to for advice. Are they qualified to give the advice that they’re giving you? Are you sure? Having a certain job, title, professorship, or age, doesn’t necessarily qualify them to give you advice. Think about it critically, and stop taking advice from the individuals that don’t make the cut.
  5. Set up a note-taking system in a tool like Evernote or OneNote so you can hold onto the helpful information you’re collecting in case you need to come back to it later.
  6. As you go through your week reading items and looking for more information, consider if each piece will be useful to you in the near future. If not, try to avoid the habit of looking for similar items.
  7. Feeling adventurous? Take a week-long media fast. No news, no blogs, no newsletters, nothing. You might be surprised at how nice it is and how little negative impact it has on your life.