How to cure information overload

You know when you have an enema?

(I’m not speaking from experience but I don’t rule out the possibility)

I’m told it makes you feel like a new person.

Cleaned out.


…sort of….EMPTIER but in a good way

And I serious need a mental enema at the moment.

I’ve always been really good at focusing on the project in front of me.

I always make sure they’re SHORT projects so I don’t lose interest. One or two days max.

And I can usually shut out any external distraction from the internet marketing world as I focus on what I’m doing.

But not this last month

Bloody Hell my delicate little head is absolutely CHOCKA with ideas, snippets of things I’ve seen from other marketers that I think ‘Ooo that’s a good idea I’ll try that’

…with new sites and products that I really must incorporate into my business at some point

…with new product ideas, new partnerships in development, learning the basics of new technology we’re mucking about with

…with freelancers, JV partners, Aweber playing silly buggers with deliverability rates, and a TON of other things, both large and small that ALL need sorting out

And I’m totally overwhelmed.

Fortunately I know exactly how to deal with this because it happens a couple of times a year, EVERY year since I’ve been involved with internet marketing

I need a huge DUMP.

That’ll unblock the works

I’m talking about a brain dump of course

This is how I’ve always cleared my mind, got my focus back AND created a six-month business plan to follow so I know exactly what I’m doing on a day to day basis

(And it usually brings in a chunk of money too)

It’s simple but it works for me so I thought I’d share it

1. I buy a new notebook. Actually a filofax type thing (can you still say filofax now it’s not the 80’s any more?)

The reason it has to be this sort of note book is that it needs those little rings in it so you can move the pages about without having to rip anything out

Dump the diary section if it comes with one. You just need blank, undated sheets. You might have to buy a refill to get enough.

2. But some coloured divider cards. You usually get some of these with the filofaxy thing, but if not buy some. I usually use around 6 or 7 of them

3. Dump every single one of your ideas down onto one sheet of paper.

It doesn’t matter whether it’s a product idea, an URL for some new software you want to check out, the name of an evergreeen product you want to promote, a book you want to buy and read or a full spec for a new site you want to build, get it all down onto ONE piece of paper per thing.

4. Write down these headings on your dividers:

Spare Time

Now we’re going to fit every one of the items you’ve written down into one of these categories.

I’ll give you an example…

I need to split test a new product I’m working on with two different price points. I just need to create the buttons, dupe the page with the new button on, create a split test in my tracking software and that’s it. Should take me about 20 minutes tops (so it’s not worth outsourcing). However it NEEDS doing before I can go live with this product so this task goes into my ‘Priority’ category.

These ‘Priority’ tasks are the tasks that will make up my ‘to do’ list

What’s next?

I’ve got two books and an MP3 I really want to check out so they go into my ‘spare time’ folder. I’ll read these when I’m waiting in the car to pick the kids up, sitting on the loo, taking a break in the garden or whenever I have a few minutes spare. The MP3 will go into Dropbox so I can access it on my phone on iPad or wherever. Again by chipping at these a few minutes at a time I get through them really quickly

My new salespage can go into the ‘outsourced’ section. I’ll send over the rough copy I’ve written and my freelancer will make a pretty salespage from it

Slightly different is the ‘delegated’ section. These are tasks I can pass onto someone else without outsourcing. So for example if I’m working on a joint product and we need an affiliate page, we’ll agree that my partner creates that. Likewise if I need a list of people who’ve subscribed to my newsletter from the UK then my PA will sort that out for me.

‘Future’ is a bit like my ‘ideas’ book I’ve told you about in the past but I put anything in my ‘Future’ section not just product ideas. So bits of code that might be good to try with some of my pages but aren’t essential, checking out white label supplements for another business idea would go into this, buying some clone software for a site I want to try out would go into this too. It’s all going to happen, but not yet because it’s not urgent.

And finally ‘Research’ is the category I use to include tasks such as checking out new niches, seeing if a certain ‘clone’ software exists for an idea I have, following a certain super-affiliate’s CPA campaign to try to get an angle on how he’s working it, and stuff like that. I like the research category so have to discipline myself to either delegate or outsource most of it, or wait until it’s entirely necessary

I find that doing this in an actual physical book works far better than setting up files on categories on my PC. My guess is that too much computer rots your brain and getting away from it with a pen and paper does you lots of good from time to time.

This has always worked really well for me, and I’m due a session sometime this week to clear the mental clutter out.

After I’ve done this I feel a lot lighter, as though I’ve given myself permission to stop thinking about it all because it’s safely down on paper.

The only time I DO involve the PC is to make a corresponding folder that I use to swipe URL’s, affiliate links, emails and everything that is clickable.

I tried writing these down in the past. Never again. Include everything clickable in a folder on the PC for obvious reasons 🙂

Anyway hope you like this – let me know what you think by commenting below

Try it – have a good dump.

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3 responses to “How to cure information overload

  1. As usual you post is just the thing I need to help me get sorted out. I suffer badly from information overload, I know how to do so much but really struggle to take action on the right things.

    I am sitting down with my pad as I type.

    Love your picture, where do you find them? Wish nurses looked like that nowadays!

  2. Tony Shepherd

    Hey Fran – glad it;s working for you – sounds like as similar systme

  3. Tony Shepherd

    Nick – you old rogue you!

    But I too like the nurse pic, something worrying erotic about the whole thing 🙂


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