As I set up my own company –there is plenty to think and do every single day – how to add value to clients, how to reach the target audience, best way of marketing & networking, optimizing social media use, continuity plans, expansion plans, deadlines to ensure things get completed etc.
I am sure all entrepreneurs face and relish these everyday challenges. The biggest challenge that I faced when I started two months ago was that of information overload. There is just so much information out there. You get more than 1000’s of search results for any sort of problem – what if you did not read that one article which could possibly give you the perfect solution! There is a thin line between information as a cause of a problem and as a solution to a problem.
The biggest learning in my first couple of month of operations was how to SORT the infinite information flow and keep sanity in check! I then realized my SORT approach can be used for any kind of problems. I am happy to share with you the same:
Solutions suiting your personality:
Your personality as an entrepreneur evolves with experience. A solution that has worked for a ten year old may not work for a one year old entrepreneur. Be honest with your personality – if you are risk averse, accept and function within the realms of your risk appetite. If slow and steady appeals to you – go for it! If you are the fast and furious kind – a slow approach may kill your enthusiasm. You get the drift. Functioning within your personality will allow you to stick to a solution longer. Think of a weight loss problem – For some diet works, for some workouts work better. Whenever you face a challenge and have multiple solutions – pick the one that is more natural to your personality. This will help you distinguish between need to know information and nice to know information!
Option weighing framework
What if there are multiple options that suit your personality? Like I mentioned above, you get more than 1000’s of results for a search and it does get overwhelming. One of the ways to tackle this information overload is to have your own option weighing framework. Give options available, a score on no more than 5 parameters that you think are critical for your success: E.g. ease of doing, satisfaction, time involved sustainability, delegation, result impact etc. Go with the option that scores the maximum.
Reasonable time allocation for action plan
Once you have chosen a path for action, give a reasonable amount of time to see the results. Many a times, you start actioning your plan and get flooded with information about other plans. You find the alternatives attractive and start doing those – something else comes up and so on. It will be very difficult to arrive at a result if one treats every piece of information as critical and worth actioning. Once you have a plan in place, give it a reasonable amount of time – store the attractive information in a folder which you can re-visit later if your plan A does not work.
Solution – hopping makes it difficult to ascertain the cause effect relationship, as you are doing too many things at the same time. To ascertain a proper cause effect relationship give your plan a reasonable amount of time to play out. Think of it this way – you chose the original plan because it fit in your option framework – why get off track now?
The art of saying NO
The art of saying NO – a vital skill required to stay on track. It is important to say NO to new information till the time is right for you. You cannot search for solutions everyday despite having an action plan. You have to learn to say NO to yourself when your brain starts itching for new information on the same problem. Focus on the task at hand and learn to say NO to everything else. If you find yourself taking a break – enjoy the break rather than having a compulsive need to reassure yourself that you are on the right track. Let your brain have a down time!
Information overload can make problem solving an overwhelming process. Who wouldn’t want to feel SORTed?