The day-to-day pressures of life mean that we often do not have time to ponder new ideas. Since the invention of the Gutenberg Printing Press, we have been producing more books and information than an average human being could ever read in their lifetime. The beauty, and irony, of Gutenberg’s invention was the ability to produce a mass amount of books at extremely low cost. This resulted in the unfamiliar dilemma of having a wide choice of books to read, and the beginning of what is now called information overload.
Today we have computers, iPhones, iPads, Kindles and Podcasts that feed us with gigabytes of information at even lower cost. We are bombarded with advertising, entertainment, news, music, WhatsApp messages, phone calls… the list goes on. Unfortunately, much of the information we receive is of little value. We are increasingly being driven by technology – we have to answer that e-mails, constantly check our messages during dinner, even in toilet. In 2016, Malaysians spent 4 hours 38 minutes on PC/tablet, 3 hours 37 minutes on smartphone, and 2 hours 9 minutes on internet TV (such as YouTube) per day. In one week, on average Malaysians spent 1,519 minutes or 25 hours 32 minutes on mobile phone online! 56% is using for social media apps and 43% is for watching videos online*.
Facebook and WhatsApp are the main sources of information overload for young people especially. They can be useful tools for sharing information, but when taken to the extreme, they can become a colossal waste of time. While the printing press helped make books easily available, the Internet has caused an exponential growth in information. With this information overload, how can we think?
To function effectively, the brain needs time and space to process the tsunami of stimulus it receives. The first step is to evaluate your day. How much time do you spend responding, interacting and reacting to technology – be it e-mail, smartphone, TV or online game? You may be surprised at how much technology has come to rule your life. It’s time to re-evaluate how you live, decide what is important to you and re-establish control over your life. Technology is good, but let you the one who control it, not the other way round. Giving yourself time and space to think is fundamental to becoming more innovative and creative.
§Give yourself sometime to think. Take an hour off and sit in the park or take a long walk and do nothing – you will be surprised at the ideas that come to you.
§ Set aside a day or half a day a week to switch off (or in Aeroplane mode) all electronic communication. This will be hard at first but keep at it. Use the time to do something you enjoy. Something physical is better.
§ Take time to delete junk mails and pictures received from WhatsApp that is not important to you.
Lord, Give Us Today Our Daily Idea(s)