OK folks, we need to have a discussion about what I call the “time management rabbit hole” AKA Google. You know what I’m talking about. It starts off innocently enough, asking one simple question to find a seemingly simple answer. Then, pretty soon it’s 4 hours later, you have 23 tabs open with more articles and opinions than you could ever hope to read in a lifetime…and you still don’t have an answer.
If you’re thinking “Wow, it’s like Emily knows my life,” you’re right, I do, because that was my Saturday and I think I figured out what I did wrong…
Lost in the Reviews
We’re thinking about buying a new refrigerator. Naturally, I want to get a good price on a quality appliance, so I thought I’d just nose around on a few sites to see what people are saying about different brands. This quickly became my entire day.
“This fridge leaks,” says one person.
“This one broke after 3 months,” says another.
“This appliance is seriously the most amazing thing I’ve ever owned in my life,” says someone else.
…all talking about the same model fridge.
Too Much Information
As I poured over all the reviews, discount appliance sites, and home improvement stores, I was under the illusion that I was getting “smarter” about refrigerators, but at the end of the afternoon I realized that while I knew more information, I wasn’t necessarily coming any closer to making a decision.
I’ve talked at length about how social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, etc… can turn into serious Time Killers if we’re not careful, but information overload can be a huge waste of time as well. We live in a world where endless information is available at the click of a button, and we’re trained to believe that that’s a good thing, but here’s what I realized today:
Good information is helpful. Excess or unreliable information is a waste of time. The next time you catch yourself falling down the time management rabbit hole of information, stop and ask yourself, “Is what I’m reading helping me make an informed decision? Or do I have all the information I need and simply need to step back and choose something.”
Hopefully you can save yourself a Saturday afternoon!
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3 thoughts on “How Google Robbed Me of My Saturday”
Boy Emily I can totally relate. I sometimes wonder if setting some kind of timer before I start doing any research. Would that be something you would suggest?
A timer is a great idea! Or limiting the number of sites you check. For example, “I’m going to read Amazon and Consumer Reports, and then stop” 🙂
Great advice Emily. I have fallen into this trap too. I often do use a timer before I sit down to research or work on a particular thing. If it’s something were I’m like “I don’t want to spend more than half an hour on this” then I will set the timer. Often I will glance at the timer at some point and go “wow, I only have 8 minutes left!” and realize that I either have all the information I need, or got distracted and need to refocus.