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Information Overload Is Killing You and Your Productivity

| March 4, 2008

by Jim Bruce

Here’s the “Tuesday Reading” I sent out today to everyone who has been in the IT Leaders Program over the past several years.  Based upon the discussion Saturday, I’m sending it along to you as well.

As society has become more and more connected with technology, we feel compelled to be always on – 24/7/365.  Thomas Wailgum, writing in “Information Overload Is Killing You and Your Productivity” notes that increased communication is not the same as effective communication.  

Referencing a recent Burton Group report, he notes that information overload can lead to personal and organization problems, poor decision making, ignoring context, a breakdown in social and team skills, busy but ineffective staff and leadership, and inaccurate information resulting in rumors, hits on morale, and bad decisions.  I’d also note that it really also can do a number on balance in your life, on having time for family and friends.  About four decades ago when I brought my first beeper home, I remember my oldest son — after the beeper had gone off three three times during dinner — saying, Dad, can’t you turn that thing off.  I can only imagine what some children are saying today.

Wailgum suggests four tactics which you may find helpful:

   1.  Schedule email time.

   2.  Turn the “email arrived signal” off.

   3.  Discontinue “Blackberry” use.

   4.  Set aside information immersion times.


.  .  .  .  .     jim