I can’t help it. I want that irresistible freebie! Yes, I need that new e-book! Of course I want to read your latest blog post!  And then I end up with an inbox full of emails, a Dropbox stuffed with resources and a brain on information overload.

Does this ever happen to you?

With all of the content on the internet, it’s easy to suffer from information overload. It leads to being less productive and falling into the dreaded comparison trap. Being a creative small business owner, I can’t choose to shun all information because it is essential for me to do research, stay up on trends and connect with others. I’m still battling information overload, but here are a few things I have done to combat it.

Hand Select the Content That Matters Most

Email

Determining what content is important to you is the best way to treat a case of overload. To help simplify my inbox, I use unroll.me. When you log into unroll.me with your email account, it generates a list of all of your newsletter subscriptions. When I signed in with my business email, I found out I already had 53 subscriptions. 53 subscriptions! No wonderful my brain feels overloaded.

Once unroll.me has generated a list of all of your newsletters, you can choose to unsubscribe, keep the emails in your inbox or add them to your rollup, a daily digest of all of your subscriptions. Be ruthless when it comes to unsubscribing. If the content isn’t adding value to you or your business or if you never read the newsletter, get rid of it. I choose to keep my must reads in my inbox and put everything else into the rollup. Putting the newsletters I read less often into the rollup helps keep my inbox and mind clear.

Blog Posts

I feel like I’m always trolling Twitter or Facebook for a great blog post to share, but that wastes a lot of time. Instead, I created a Feedly account so I can quickly find great content to share. I found my favorite blogs and added them to my feed. I organized them into different categories like social media, web design and lifestyle. This helps me easily find posts on different subjects. When I find a post I want to share, I copy the link and paste it into Buffer . If you upgrade to a pro account, Buffer integration is built in, making it even easier to set up your social media feed.

Free Resources

Next time, right before I hit “Subscribe”, I’m going to take a second to think if I really need the freebie. It is so easy to say yes to something that is free, but I need to decide if the checklist or guide will really benefit me. Often times a freebie sounds great, but I don’t have time to read it, so it goes into my resource folder never to be seen again. Plus, I’ll end up with a new newsletter in my inbox.

When you do subscribe to freebies, decide on an organization system so you can find resources when you need them. For me, this means a resource folder in Dropbox that is subdivided into various categories. Next time I start doing research for a project, I can quickly see if I have a resources on hand.

I’m guessing these techniques will not all together banish information overload, but I think they are a great starting place and help keep me more aware of the content I am consuming. Getting a handle on my inbox, streamlining my blog reading and organizing freebies seems like a great place to start.

Do you have any tactics for battling information overload? Be sure to share below!

Want more? Check out my post on Finding Social Media Balance.

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