IT Pilgrimage

A Journey From IT to Freedom

The Bane of every Insomniac’s Existence: Too Much Information

Posted by IT Pilgrim on August 5, 2008

As any good insomniac knows, and there are a lot of us in IT, too much information is the absolute bane of your existence. This is seriously the tragic flaw that will kill your questing hero in the long run, the inability to sleep. Over the years, I have read lots of strategies for dealing with insomnia, and for the most usual kind, where your thoughts keep you awake, there is only one good solution. Mind Control. No, really, seriously, the answer is in mind control.At some point in life, most people will realize that your thoughts are seriously influenced by what you exposed to. That means, what you read, watch on tv, listen to on the radio, or even hear when the people in the next cubicle row talk too loud (everyone talks too loud in cubicle land). Either way, what you put in has a bearing on what comes out. So this is where too much information comes in, and I am not talking about the kind where someone tells you a story and there were some details they seriously could have left out.

No, I am talking about too much stuff in general. I have found that quite a few insomniacs like myself, have similar behavior patterns, in that we sometimes mourn that there is not enough hours in the day to stuff all the information we want into our brains. We read 3 or more books at once, read 40 or 50 blogs, while listening to the radio and typing up e-mails and keeping an eye on that troublesome server. This is crazy my friends, we have multi-tasked ourselves into a brain stir fry. I do, however, have some ideas why we do it.

  • Distraction: We have filled our brain with so much stuff that we cant even sort or catalog it anymore, its just floating around and pops up at weird moments. We have so much going on in our heads at any given times that we go to these extremes to drown out the static.
  • Lack of Focus: I know, this is self-perpetuating. Lack of focus and multi-tasking only leads to more lack of focus. We do 4,5 or more things at once because we’re too frazzled to decide on one thing to concentrate on.
  • Adrenaline: We are adrenaline junkies. You practically live off the adrenaline you get when you have far too many things to do, far too few resources and no time to do them in. Mix that with a little lack of training and you get an adrenaline train to nowhere. Caution, Mountain Dew application will be needed when this runs out unexpectedly.
  • Inability to say no: Sometimes, some of us just can’t say no. Need another project I have no time to do? Sure, just drop it on my desk.

OK, so now that we’ve established a few reasons for why we try to do everything at once, and often manage to do nothing as a result, what does this have to do with insomnia? Well, I’ll try to get to the point here…too much information messes with thought control. You see, the absolute secret to kicking insomnia, baring some medical reason, is thought control. You have to learn to control what thoughts are going on in your mind, and keep yourself from becoming engaged in your own thoughts.

For example, think of one thing, something boring, but something you know enough about to think about for a while, and do it, every single night. Whatever it is, it should not be complex or logical, creative is better, logical will keep your brain going forever. The big thing is, whenever your mind drifts, you have to force it back to that one thing, no matter how many times it takes. So here’s where too much information comes in, the more you read and stuff into your brain, the harder it is to force control of it. Its kind of like a blender, the more you stuff in it, the harder the blender has to work to chop it all up.

So for just a week, try reducing your daily information overload. Don’t listen to the news, you don’t really want to know anyway. Stick to your older cd’s that you already have memorized, and clear your desk. Just sweep everything into a drawer, if its really important, someone will complain about it later. Don’t listen to those neighbors, just do something to reduce your information overload. Then, when its bedtime, just think about your Wow character, but fight off last week’s raid failures, or something else inane and don’t stop until you fall asleep. Try it, and let me know how it goes.

    Photos via Flickr by: e³°°° and *Tom*

2 Responses to “The Bane of every Insomniac’s Existence: Too Much Information”

  1. Francois said

    Geeeeeeees!! You mean it is not only me who stays up until 3AM every morning!? 😉

    The funny thing is I’m NOT in a high-stress IT job anymore, but now I’m doing it to myself!

    You’re right of-coarse. The problem is that I’m not “switching my brain off”.

    I resolve to get into a healthy sleeping pattern again. After-all, the best surf-sessions are early morning and at the moment I’m missing all of them!! 🙂

  2. IT Pilgrim said

    @Francois, you are FAR from alone. But the surfing comment was needless cruelty.


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