Saturday, February 4


Last week I talked about how I felt overwhelmed because marketing was ruining my life. But after thinking it over for a few days, dealing with marketing is only one thing that makes me feel out of control. The problem is coming from several directions.

Yes, this is my office, and it’s a hot mess. Those bags on the floor are things I bought to create welcome gifts for the speakers we’re having at the annual conference at the day job. Mostly the stuff in the bags is chocolate, bottles of water, and other goodies. I have to keep the door to my office closed so my dog doesn’t get into the chocolate – something she’s done before. Eventually I’ll get them out of here. Over there in the corner are some Christmas gifts I received – eventually I’ll find a place for them. I hope. Then there’s the envelopes I bought but didn’t get around to putting away. There they are in the foreground.

You might also notice there’s papers on every surface. This is what passes for my filing system, even though I have a perfectly lovely Ikea filing cabinet sitting right there. There are two reasons for this. Okay, three, the first one being procrastination. Number two is that I haven’t taken the time to properly set up my filing cabinet so I’d have a spot for everything I want to keep. If I’m pressed for time, organization in my office is the first thing to go. And I seem to be pressed for time a lot (check my blog on how marketing is ruining my life).

Another reason for the paper overload and the disorganization is the volume of emails I get. I belong to several email loops and quite often I read some interesting and useful information that I want to keep. I don’t print everything (I don’t want to kill that many trees), but I print some things, and it ends up on top of my filing cabinet instead of inside it. The sheer volume of email information itself is enough to cause me to feel overwhelmed, but when it turns into paper chaos, the overwhelm is doubled. A cluttered work space makes for a cluttered mind.

Okay, I fully admit a lot of this is my own doing. Maybe I shouldn’t belong to so many email groups and newsletters. Recently, I unsubscribed to many newsletters, both personal and writing related. Maybe I need to find another way of saving information. In the past, I’ve saved things in folders in my email, but sometimes they get lost in there.

A writer has to keep on top of things in the publishing and marketing worlds. But information is bombarding me from every direction, and it’s coming in fast and furious. How do I keep track of it, and make use of it without feeling like I’m being buried alive? I need help!

How do you deal with information overload?


  1. Your office looks like the top of my desk. Sigh. Good luck with finding order in chaos!

    1. I have stacks of paper on my desk, on my filing cabinet, on my printer. It's madness. I was really hoping you had some advice for me, Liz!

  2. FWIW, this winter Husband and I are doing a giant house purge and his office is where we started. It's been a challenge, but totally worth it. Can't wait to see his room all tidy and set up for his music. Good luck!!

    1. Good luck with the house purge, Nan. I know what a daunting task that is. We've lived in this house for over 18 years, but before that, we moved several times, at one point 3 times in 8 years. Each time we moved, I purged. But when you get comfortable in a spot, it's really easy to let things pile up.