Complaining about ‘information overload’ on the internet is going to get you little sympathy. Tweet about the how full your inbox is, or how many Facebook alerts you’ve been getting, and you risk receiving just as many replies with the pointed #firstworldproblems hashtag.
That doesn’t make the stress of being overwhelmed by the sheer weight of incoming data any less real, particularly when the line between when you deal with work stuff and when you can leave it to look only at the personal correspondence is often unclear. The colleague tapping surreptitiously away on their smartphone under the desk in the middle of a meeting could be handling a crucial email, or might just be posting a particularly amusing photo of their cat on Instagram.
So a lot of these problems we create for ourselves, but what can we do about them? In ‘The Organized Mind’ neuroscientist and bestselling author Daniel Levitin uses a combination of academic research and real-world examples to explain how you might be able to start taking back control of your life.
The emphasis is obviously going to be on how our brains cope with the demands of a digital age. There’s no shortage of debate on the adverse effects it could be having, so it’s refreshing to find a practical guide that takes the reader through every different aspects of modern life, including activities like healthcare and online dating, backed up by real research.
Levitin’s proposition is a fairly straightforward one – in an age of increasing complexity the secret of staying ahead of the game lies in being organised and identifying what really matters. Along the way you’ll learn why there’s no such thing as multitasking, why email is so addictive and why all successful people need the own ‘junk drawer’.
‘The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload’ by Daniel J Levitin is published by Penguin, RRP £20.00, ISBN 9780670923106