How to Handle Information Overwhelm (And Social Media) (#289)

“Living well is the best revenge.”

-George Herbert

After reading Tools of Titans and Tribe of Mentors, many of you have asked me how I process all of the information I receive.

This episode will help you manage information overwhelm, recommend techniques for dealing with social media, and answer a few questions that have been frequently asked about building a world-class network and writing books.

I hope this information strengthens the signal, discards the noise, and helps you make every piece of information that you choose to receive easier to process.


You can find the transcript of this episode here. Transcripts of all episodes can be found here.

How to Handle Information Overwhelm (And Social Media)

Want to hear another podcast that will improve your mindset? — Listen to this episode with Jocko Willink. Jocko might be the scariest Navy SEAL alive, and in this episode, he shares his thoughts on how to stop laziness and procrastination, behaviors that lead to failure, and much, much more (stream below or right-click here to download):

Discipline Equals Freedom -- Jocko Willink

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QUESTION(S) OF THE DAY: What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Scroll below for links and show notes…

Selected Links from the Episode

Show Notes

  • Social media is a full-contact sport. Here are some personal guidelines and policies that help maintain my sanity. [02:07]
  • Social networks as “neighborhoods.” Some are friendlier than others, but they’re all designed to take you off task. [06:43]
  • How do I contend with the sheer volume of information and advice I receive? [12:25]
  • Networking mistakes — and what you can do that will actually work. [20:19]
  • To those of you asking me if you should write a book, I’ll answer your question with this question. [26:35]
  • How I came to write my first book even though I had no aspirations of being an author. [28:24]

People Mentioned

The Tim Ferriss Show is one of the most popular podcasts in the world with more than 900 million downloads. It has been selected for "Best of Apple Podcasts" three times, it is often the #1 interview podcast across all of Apple Podcasts, and it's been ranked #1 out of 400,000+ podcasts on many occasions. To listen to any of the past episodes for free, check out this page.

Leave a Reply

Comment Rules: Remember what Fonzie was like? Cool. That’s how we’re gonna be — cool. Critical is fine, but if you’re rude, we’ll delete your stuff. Please do not put your URL in the comment text and please use your PERSONAL name or initials and not your business name, as the latter comes off like spam. Have fun and thanks for adding to the conversation! (Thanks to Brian Oberkirch for the inspiration.)

33 Replies to “How to Handle Information Overwhelm (And Social Media) (#289)”

  1. Thanks for your candid episode! As a blogger, I have dealt with people who scan my posts, leap to false conclusions, and then rant in comments. I’ve only deleted three, but one I left hanging since it was completely irrelevant to the post. I figured she’d be back to see if I’d read it. I wouldn’t give her the satisfaction. Ha!

    I loved your advice about moderators and book-selling. I can’t wait until I have one to promote! Like you said, it has to be ready. It has taken me a few years to polish my first (while working on other writing projects) and I’m querying it now. *fingers crossed* My mantra has been, I don’t want to waste anyone’s time. There’s a percentage of people who will hate any book. Why add to that number?

  2. Thank you very much for sharing Tim. I just got a rude comment today on my YouTube Channel and it really shook me up. I did not know what to do with it – now I know. 🙂 Thank you for giving me some good input. Happy greetings to you from me, a big fan from Switzerland, anna

  3. How come you don’t have someone respond on your web site when we ask a question—need a business consultant with your philosophy to help us with an on line business Thanks. I think

    Sent from my iPhone


  4. Hey Tim,

    Being as you recommend messaging here for information you may find of value, I’m posting this as a comment here. I’m a huge fan. Got tribe of mentors as a gift and can’t put it down. Gifted it and recommended to over 50 people in last month.

    Close friend of mine is the only one armed soldier to return to combat. Lost his arm and went back to fight. Great story. His book is just coming out. Thought it would be awesome for him to get the exposure you can bring and his message is one that will resonate with your readers.

    [Moderator: additional text and links removed.]

  5. Hey Tim, I would love to see you dig deeper in the spiritual realm. From what I can see from your work or your guests at the podcast, there seems to be a clear dominance of a materialistic world view. But the world and humans cannot be fully understood without checking spiritual aspects. And clearly can the world not be saved by just material means.

    You seem to be interestend in psychedelics. If you already know that what one can see while taking those often comes from a “different” reality, I would like to encourage you to share your viewpoint. If you explain the phenomena with materalistic aspects, I’d encourage you to open up to another worldview, “just in case” there might be something to it. Thank you!

  6. Just wanted to take a moment to thank you for all your work. Your weekly emails frequently trigger some interesting new thought process, reading spree, or counterpoint to what’s going on in my life. Cheers!

  7. 5-Bullet-Friday comment: I think that the Franciscan monk Richard Rohr has an even better version of that quote: “Most people do not see things as they *are* because they see things as *they* are!”

    There are many versions of this statement, dating back a hundred or so years, and I like this one the best. I love the parallelism. Striking.

  8. These types of episodes are really solid out of 2 reasons.

    #1 The answers are not rushed and the random factor is avoided. I enjoy having answers from someone like Tim, who has become a master of communication, simply from the volume of work in this field.

    #2 We already know that the advice is tested and works for just about everyone who already has an understanding of the context in which the tactics might actually be effective.

    My only issue at the beginning of the episode was that this content was not really new. For anyone who wants to see Tim give these talks, the advice is available as bite-sized videos on YouTube.

    These videos are very high quality as far as content not only for the reasons I’ve mentioned before, but also because they were specifically created to add value to Tribe of Mentors. When something is not rushed, it’s most likely going to be better than half-assed material.

    As always, thanks for the quality content Tim.


  9. Hi Tim,

    I was wondering if you could recommend a book to help improve writing skills. Aimed more for business and everyday as opposed to a book.

  10. Stoicism

    Thanks for your update on how to apply stoicism today and use it it improve your life. I’m currently Reading “The Obstacle is the Way” and “The Daily Stoic” by Ryan Holiday (what a great name) . I’m getting a little more done each day and am more pleasant to be around as result. Discipline Equals Freedom has a lot of truth in it.

    My question is slightly off the wall but I was wondering what sort of thing (rather than a process, method or book) would you like to create? Anything really from a watch to a boat to a car or a scullpture or a garden?

    all the best and thanks for all the posts and youtube vids



  11. “You can either make yourself better or make yourself feel better.” Stealing that one…with attributes of course!

  12. I LOVE your new book Tribe Of Mentors!! I’ve recommended it to many of my friends and family. It’s such a long book which I love cause I don’t want it to end but I find the best way for me to commit to actually finishing it is by reading one person a day, everyday, first thing as I wake up. It gives me motivation and inspiration through out the rest of the day. I’m writing you because I’ve now listened to a few of your podcasts and wanted to give some feedback as I feel you’ve really helped me so far by writing this book. The one thing I would change is not ask for something as the very first thing you do on each podcast. You immediately start selling a few products and I’ve found it to be a bit long and a turn off. I sometimes try and fast forward to the next section but fumble to find the spot and end up just not listening at all. I’m sure many people feel the same. Maybe you can plug the book a bit later? Or on an add on your page somewhere? I feel like your buddy Gary Vee would agree. He wrote an entire book to help explain this (jab jab right hook). Anyway I hope this helps in some way and thanks for being such an awesome and inspirational talker and writer! Keep doing what you do. We need more people like you in the world.

  13. Hello Tim!

    I appreciate your podcasts in there full glory and their bite-sized versions.

    I have adopted three touchstones for networking that aim to “add value” at every level:

    1) Be Authentically Interested. You cannot fake an authentic interest. If you find you cannot be, politely move on. Interest and attention is the first level of creating value.

    2) Connect people who share interests. Create opportunities for synergy between ideas and people…regardless of one’s participation or reward. This creates the value of broadening other people’s networks, exposure to engaging ideas, and fun.

    3) Demonstrate how your skills and interests add value to theirs.

    Thanks again for the delightful podcast.

  14. In the spirit of acknowledging I am responding to TF’s comment prompt but answering it in a way that he didn’t quite ask…..(which I normally do not care for so call me a hypocrite) 🙂

    I would like to say the intro paragraph explaining the topic and the value he hopes we gain from it is clutch.

    Besides the fact that it was the exact issue I need to address, it captured my attention, was tight, and then made me want to listen.

    Besides that…..a more fun answer…my favorite parts stylistically:

    Potted plants

    Twisted knickers

    Sticky shit

    …and the answer to his actual question: “just in time”…..I’m constantly researching and learning so it is easy for me to to be a “just in case” hoarder. I’m aware of it and haven’t addressed it yet.

    I never heard anyone address this before.

    And the best part is…I don’t have to write it down. because this is some sticky shit

    THANKS for the info!

  15. Hi Tim,

    I have been practicing iching since I was 5years. At least that’s when it was introduced to me. Just had another epiphany on it. Anyway, you seem to be interested and I only talk about it if I’ve asked and it’s appropriate. For this message, I got 14 line 6 into 34. And to not, 10 line 1 into 6. Hense, I’m writing. If you are interested to talk more about it. I would never ever claim to be an expert. However, I practice daily. It’s how I live my life.

  16. I found the simplest solution was to turn off social media. It is literally a time waster. How does anyone get the time to spend looking at other peoples comments? Hence….. I had more time for myself and other important things in life.

  17. love ALL of your stuff. You have to be insanely busy…do you have any NYC appearances coming up? Wrote my first ebook to inspire and help others I’m hoping for Tim Ferris insight lol.. thanks for pursuing your passion and sharing knowledge..always appreciated over here.

  18. Never left a comment on any blog before, always assuming it’s never read by the blogger themselves. Either way I believe acknowledgement and showing people gratitude is important and awesome so here’s to you Tim! Thank you for doing what you do and being so authentic with your work. It has made a great impact on me and I’m always happy to share your work to others. You’re awesome!

  19. Tim, would you consider bringing transcripts back?

    The podcast format is great for when you’ve got alone time, but being able to dip in and out of a text document over, say, breaky with your partner is also great.

    Thanks for the terrific content, Nick

  20. Hi Tim, you invited us to reach out to you once in LA. I have an Antelope.suit with me to work out. See picture on Twitter. This will boost your workout. Cheers, Philipp

  21. This was a great episode! Thank you for sharing that insight around your book and how it got published. It really is all about focusing in on one thing and diving further into it.



  22. Great episode Tim!

    These are my favourite type of episodes. Principles are helpful but your methods and tactics are just as helpful to me. I always wondered if you used GTD’s in-tray method to process ideas / thoughts in a batch-like manner every so often. But sounds like you have faith in the good shit that sticks 😀 action very few and then ignore the rest. Would love to hear you elaborate further on this type of thing and whether you do use GTD methodology or other approaches to get the time-consuming but necessary stuff done (not email but random tasks like: taxes, book flights, purchase X, research X). I find if I calendar these, the items can just slip from one day to the next unless I’m self-disciplined. Perhaps it’s simply a matter of dream-lining and understanding ones priorities and that informs the rest?

    Here’s an episode summary:

    – Turn phone on aeroplane mode 80% of the day from 7pm / post dinner to at least after following days morning routine and completion of 1 or 2 critical tasks.

    – Almost no phone notifications. Certainly no social media notifications.

    – Default troll response is to starve of oxygen and avoid sunk cost which can lead to more potential responses and time wasting.

    – Best revenge is living well

    – Never look at home screen on social media

    – Mute/block unhelpful people on social media

    – Use “hell yeah or no” to decide on follow-up actions in podcasts. If the former, calendar or next action immediately otherwise it won’t happen.

    – Remember, you only have to get a few things right to achieve big things.

    – Consider star / highlighting key passages in articles that are clipped to Evernote. Can then simply Ctrl+F and find stars for key points for future reference.

    – Employ Just-in-time mindset in place of Just-in-case.

    Thanks again Tim,


  23. Apropos of nothing other than you are the only one I can think of to answer this, please tell me if you still think 30g of protein within 30 minutes of waking is important. I like everything about time released eating/fasting except that I can’t have protein first thing. Pleased help me reconcile this! Thanks

  24. Tim – you mentioned that focusing on developing critical skills like negotiation is key to success. Do you have a list of these skills in mind?

  25. I followed your approach to set up different mailboxes and calendars and reminders – my question is there an app that pulls them into one place.

    Have searched but can’t find so thought if anyone know you will.