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How often have you lied in bed unable to sleep as you dwell on your to-do list? The thought can cause anxiety and stress, in turn, this leads to insomnia and when the next day comes around you don’t have the full mental energy to perform at your best. This is information exhaustion. But what is the cause, and how do we cure it?

Information = inspiration

To a marketeer information is fundamental to everything we do, it’s how we find inspiration to innovate, create and contribute to campaigns that deliver results. To thrive we must proactively and consistently consume information or risk falling behind the latest trends, this progressive consumption presents challenges in the form of information overload, commonly named “too much information”, a term often said lightly, but this condition can quickly worsen to information exhaustion with symptoms such as “burn out”, panic attacks, high blood pressure or worse.

Out of memory

A computer will run its tasks via its internal memory, this is equivalent to our working memory. When we power down our computers, this internal memory is cleared, and any important information is transferred to the computer’s storage (hard drive), this is equivalent to our long-term memory. This action allows the computer to run optimally the next time it powers up by keeping the working memory clear to run important tasks and process information, hence the IT gag “have you tried turning it off and on again”.

This process is like the human sleep cycle, throughout the day we use our working memory to action tasks, understand concepts and process information. When we sleep, our brains transfer important information to our long-term memory, but when we consume too much information our brains struggle to transfer all of it all to our long-term memory, preventing our brain from fully ‘powering down’ (insomnia), when this is left to manifest and continue, this will lead to (information) exhaustion.

How can we cure this?

Upgrading your system

We need to integrate better with our devices and update our systems and habits and develop our ‘downstream’ where information goes once consumed by the brain, a downstream is made up of purpose-built applications that are integrated, centralised and accessible. I suggest exploring the methodology BASB (Building A Second Brain) a “methodology for saving and systematically reminding us of the ideas, inspirations, insights, and connections we’ve gained through our experience. It expands our memory and our intellect using the modern tools of technology and networks.”, in other words, it allows us to upgrade our system.

Building a Second Brain

I discovered the Building A Second Brain (BASB) methodology after a career change to a new sector with no prior experience. With any new job, the first few weeks of learning are intense and many people experience information overload, but with the added lack of sector experience, I quickly experienced information exhaustion. My system to learn new systems wasn’t effective but eventually, I discovered Tiago Forte a digital mentor who describes his purpose as to answer “How can humans reach their productive potential?”, the result of this quest was his educational company Forte Labs and the BASB methodology which changed my life. Building a Second Brain is a methodology to extend our information processing power, capture it, curate it, and make it accessible to our future selves for future use via a range of digital tools.

BASB teaches you to:

  • Quickly find anything you’ve learned, experienced or thought about
  • Organise your knowledge and use it
  • Save your best thinking, so you don’t have to ‘think it up’ again
  • Spend less time looking and more time doing
  • Create a digital environment that promotes clarity and peace of mind

Where to start?

I suggest visiting this site where they have a handy ‘Start here‘ page with comprehensive and actionable guides. Still not convinced? Then I highly recommend watching this video where Tiago Forte (creator of BASB) shows how he answers emails in only 17 minutes a day, then compare that to how much time you spend in emails.

If you would like to learn more about the BASB methodology or other methods for improving productivity, please contact me for more information.