Reducing Information Pollution

IORG Blog

Potential Guidance for Reducing FOMO–>IO

July 12, 2018 | Posted By mbaloney

As shared last week, FOMO can lead to addictive checking of all your social and work media channels resulting in increased stress and decreased productivity. Dr. Axe [https://draxe.com/nomophobia/] provides a five-step process for decreasing cell phone addiction. Could also be applicable to e-mail inbox addiction. Real-time messaging certainly has some benefits, e.g., alerts for traffic congestion, a loved one in trouble, a client’s critical complaint. Human bandwidth, however, is a limited resource. Thus, some combination of message prioritization and behavior modification is needed to regain control of our lives from magnetic FOMO. IORG’s October 23, 2018 IO Day program will address this FOMO attraction-avoidance dilemma. Stay tunes for forthcoming announcement details. MartyB #IORGFORUM

Artificial Intelligence & Information Overload

July 11, 2018 | Posted By Eran Abramson

The following is an excerpt written by Yury Gubman, Knowmail’s Head of AI, from a recent IORG interview between Emanuele Terenzani (Lele), Yury, and myself about the need to use Artificial Intelligence to solve Information Overload. Read more…

FOMO=DIY IO

July 5, 2018 | Posted By mbaloney

FOMO or Fear of Missing Out has become a national disease that impacts our personal and work lives. Addiction to frequently checking our e-mail, Twitter, Instagram, etc. accounts singularly or overall diminishes time spent on work tasks and family activities. Information overload Addiction will be the theme of IORG’s October 2018 “Information Overload Day” webinar program this fall. Stay tuned for forthcoming details. Aysel Safarova @ chanty.com has an interesting blog post (3/17) discussing the impact of FOMO on worker productivity. If you in the FOMO camp, this post may help you? https://www.chanty.com/blog/fomo-fear-missing-out-keeps-killing-productivity/  MartyB #IORGFORUM

Overload from the leaders?

June 25, 2018 | Posted By Emailogic123

The relationship of Email upon leaders

Have you ever stopped to think about the impact that Managers’ emails have on the workforce? Emails sent by senior staff can inspire, engage and motivate.

But Managers and Directors can often send emails which are:

  •  Random, out of hours, very actioned based.
  •  Unclear, irrelevant or angry.
  •  Not aligned to the culture of the organisation and can be over bearing.
  • Poor email communication can cause a feeling of stress and worry which can impact well-being.

 

This story from Brigadier General Stanley McChrystal of the US Military encapsulates perfectly how important it is for leaders to really think about the way they communicate with those who report to them.

The example he gave was when he sent a short message to a group of military wives thanking them personally for their service. He noticed during a visit he made a few weeks later that one of them had framed his message and it was hanging up in their quarters.

McChrystal said this about the incident:

“And you suddenly realise how important you – as a leader – can be. You can have that impact. It does mean you can touch people and you should do that. So every time you have interactions you’ve got to figure out “How can I get this right?” . And you may have 150 in a day. And every comment you make to someone matters..”

So the point here is the impact of senior leaders with their communication. This relates perfectly to email as it is often the main method leaders use to communicate with people in the business on a day to day basis.

So it’s worth considering some attributes of successful, powerful leaders – and ask yourself if your email style is congruent with these:

  1. Does your email use clear, plain language that is accessible to everybody?
  2. Does your email reflect who you are as a person and as a leader?
  3. Are you asking for information in an explicit way – or is the message vague?
  4. Does it inspire others – or does it exacerbate a “blame culture”?

Email is transient – we click send maybe a hundred times a day but the effect that certain emails have on the recipients will surprise you.

The trouble is we rarely find out – often until it is too late. We do not see the reactions that are happening at the other end of our emails.

So why not ask some of your colleagues how they react to your emails? Whatever the feedback is treat it like gold dust.

A poor email culture – like any other culture – will never change if it is ignored and whilst every individual can make a difference, leaders have the biggest platform.

So the next time you are about to fire off an email to your team stop, re-read and reflect. Consider if this the type of email that they will want to frame and put on their desk?

Do not hit send before you have considered these implications.

Channel your inner McChrystal:  Inspire!   Motivate!   Lead!

The impact of email productivity training – Academic Research

June 22, 2018 | Posted By Emailogic123

Recently at Emailogic we had the opportunity to take part in an academic study to have email training tested for its  effectiveness on productivity and well-being.

Busy senior service managers at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust in London UK all agreed that email overload was an issue needing attention.

100 of these senior managers attended an email best practice training course.

An independent academic research study was run alongside the training to measure the subsequent impact on the manager’s well-being and productivity. The study was conducted by an independent expert who specialises in well-being and productivity – Dr Bridget Juniper.

The study showed that after training the managers were statistically signifcantly:
– More focused, less distracted
– Working more effectively under pressure
– Improved well-being

They also saved 31.1 minutes every day reading, writing and managing emails.

“Email productivity training has had a significant, positive impact on managers’ performance and productivity. Better decisions and less stress will result in better care for our patients”.
Staynton Brown, Associate Director Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust – Click here to watch a video of Staynton Brown talking about the results.

Interestingly two control groups were included in the study. One was sent written email best practice guidelines but had no training. The second control group received no guidelines or training. The study results showed clearly that both control groups showed little or no change.

Managing email overload is becoming increasingly a problem for businesses of all shapes and sizes and the research is a real insight into how it can improve and make a real difference when it is addresses fully and with a solid strategy.

Overloading our health?

June 19, 2018 | Posted By Emailogic123

OVERLOAD – IS IT HARMING US?: BY M.MANN -EMAILOGIC

Is your reliance on email affecting your health? 

The US technology consultant Linda Stone has discovered that many of us unconsciously hold our breath, or breathe shallowly while responding to emails – a habit that can compound stress.

This can then add fuel to a host of other symptoms such as asthma, depression and obesity.

Another recent study by the Work & Health research centre at Loughborough University has proved many office workers suffer from physical as well as mental problems, due to a lack of exercise. One possible explanation for this was an increasing reliance on – an addiction to – email.

The staff surveyed were often relying on email rather than getting up to walk across
the room.

The research found that lack of physical activity affected more than 70% of the UK employees surveyed. This manifested itself in increased and longer periods of sick leave.

So the message is email less and have more face to face contact, when appropriate.

Sometimes email messages that go backwards and forwards several times actually take longer to write that a quick conversation covering the same issues, probably in richer and more valuable detail, would take.

Save yourself the daily stress and after a week, see the difference! Give this a try what have you to lose?

Is Less Information More?

May 30, 2018 | Posted By mbaloney

Nick Ingram (July 2016) states the known: more signal, less noise. http://clearthinking.co/overcome-information-overload-tuning-signal-noise-ratio/ He also proposes that old information “stands the test of time”  is more useful than new information. Yet isn’t new information more actionable? This proposal plus reducing social media input certainly could help reduce IO; yet current, relevant inputs should not be disregarded. His website http://clearthinking.co/ does have some interesting and valuable resources to browse. MartyB #IORGforum

Open Business, a way to communicate better and have more fun in the process

April 27, 2018 | Posted By dedenzani


It’s the last day of IORGLiveMonth today, a great experience for me, one month where I could look into Information Overload and having to talk about it connected several dots, opened my mind to some of the little details that matter, some of the little behavioral patterns that we all do and observe, that start in good will but eventually provide more troubles than benefits

Patterns like using the “reply to all button”, or like checking our phone when we are talking to someone, or like thinking about what we have to say next, rather than listening.

We do a lot by inertia, we go on as we are used to, is it the right thing to do? Of course if we were challenging everything around us, we would just spend time changing, so we need to prioritize where to bing our attention and upgrade step by step. What IORG and IORGLiveMonth tries to say is that it’s worth to dedicate our attention on reducing information overload.

This because communication takes everyday the biggest part of our work in an office and if we are overloaded we work worse than we could, we share worse than we could, we produce less than we could and we might end up just unnecessarily frustrated.

To fight communication inertia we need to challenge the way we do it and a good opportunity to change is given by what I call open business aka “working openly by sharing information on tools and channels that allow open collaboration with your whole organization and team.”

 

What it takes is:

1 A change of behavior, openly share what we do and what we need instead of doing it only in closed groups (see the beer tale), openly ask and answer, openly comment and contribute to the common knowledge.

2 The knowledge of available tools (many of what are free to be used).

3 The flexibility and willingness to try and challenge your peers in following your lead.

4 Our autopilot switched off as much as possible.

 

What you will get back?

1 Much more engagement for you and your peers, you will suddenly feel part of a bigger community, you will be more useful, give and get more ideas.

2 Much less time for your work, no more time waste due to miscommunication or over communication.

3 Better collaboration.

4 More knowledge or tools and different practices.

5 Increase of personal branding, due to more reach of your ideas and more options to share good collaboration practices.

6 Reduction of information overload.

7 Fun in the process.

 

Think about it, after having tried, in the worst case scenario you will have at least passed your message with the same effectiveness as you were doing before trying. So nothing to loose in the process.

Thanks a lot for watching and following and get ready because IORG will start proposing from May several new live events engaging guests and practitioners from all around the world.

http://bit.ly/iorglivemonth

Mindfulness and Information Overload a natural connection

April 22, 2018 | Posted By dedenzani

The third week passed and I knew it would bring some controversial topics and new perspectives on what can cause information overload and how to reduce it.

Once we recognize the existence of information overload and we attribute to it several unpleasant consequences like stress, lack of focus, time waste, low productivity, miscommunication, bad collaboration…, we cannot avoid to focus on some good practices to reduce it. And so we go with e-mail best practices, appropriate tools to be used, hints and tips about how to cooperate together more fruitfully or automated business solutions to save our time.

What I think is that in all of this we miss the main source of it, the core generator of information that’s our mind.

Our minds are the ones evaluating a reply to an e-mail, are the ones deciding what to say in a conversation and how to prioritize our tasks. We do all of this everyday during our working journey and we clash with other minds in the need to collaborate to produce fruitful things together.

If these minds though are not aware of their actions and consequences, if they are not enough mindful about information overload then we first will produce it for others and for ourselves: all those e-mails we send, all those meetings we take part with our minds elsewhere, all those conversations we miss because we look into our devices and all those relationships we don’t grow because we just think about the final goal instead of the way how this goal is achieved.

The good news is that we can train our minds, pretty much as we are doing with out bodies in the gym, to pay more attention to what we do so that we can be more focused, more collaborative, better communicators, handle better our time and eventually do all of this optimizing the information flow.

How?

First of all a healthy daily practice (discussed on Day 16-17), few minutes are enough, closing our eyes, paying attention on our senses, on our breath, on the thoughts arising. You can watch ThePresentShow to get more informations about it or download any mindfulness app like Headspace or Smiling Mind or Calm.

Such practice helps to tune our minds more often into an awareness state (meta awareness), awareness of us living in the present rather than wandering in past of future thoughts not relevant to what we are doing in that moment.

Then it’s important to bring this awareness into our everyday working life, learning to think before sending any of our messages (day 18) so to choose the most appropriate channel to improve collaboration and avoid future possible overload. We should identify when we need to STOP (day 19), if we are doing two things at the same time, or if we cannot handle a coming request, focusing on one single task we will do it better and often we don’t notice until late when we were doing something and thinking about something else.

Self information overload is also cause of stress, we identify it particularly when we feel busy (day 21) and we cannot focus, we cannot sleep, and we do anything much less efficiently. Yet we linger in that feeling without seeing that in reality it’s just in our minds and by doing one task after another we will progress anyway regardless on how many of these task are awaiting for us on the line.

To avoid busyness just pay attention to it and you will find it’s not there really.

Another good practice to prevent it is to avoid automation (day 20), reminders, notifications, anything that prevents you to think, plan and clearly organize your time.

Write down your todo list, make sure you switch off all your notifications and then come back to them when you have time for them. You are in the control, be mindful about that control and they will not overload you.

Mindfulness is not the only answer, it’s however a very good solution, a great and simple training, and healthy practice for our minds.

All simply just by learning to pay attention.

Thanks a lot for watching the third week, you can find here all the playlist http://bit.ly/iorglivemonth 

Looking forward for the final one that start tomorrow about open business.

Value conversations and work free from information overload

April 15, 2018 | Posted By dedenzani

The second week of #IORGLiveMonth just finished a great journey for me so far in sharing my experiences and reflections with all of you and at the same time building a video library or hints and tips that will be accessible by everyone for the time to come.

I don’t expect to bring absolute truths or solutions on the table but my observations are true and my proposed tips and behavioral changes are tested, first of all, on myself and direct experience. I’d really like to hear your point of view and opinions about it.

I think conversations are really important, they are for me particularly because my #noemail journey landed exactly there, in a field where to get things done I had to reach out directly to my peers, engaging them in conversations rather than hiding myself under a TO a SUBJECT and a BODY.

I often collect all requests received from my peers, met them face to face, addressed one by one. I usually get so much more information and eventually several tasks are solved straight away, many more get accomplished with much more balance, promptness and ease from both parties.

 

To have the right conversations, to get deeply in the collaboration spirit, we need first to notice all distractions around us starting from our devices and laptops (discussed on Day 8), eternal sources of notifications and #thingstodoexactlywhenweareintheneedtofocusonsomethingelse .

We probably noticed that even if we put aside notifications and devices it’s our approach towards multitasking that can again come in the way (discussed on Day 11) so that we get that sudden desire to check something without reflecting on prioritization.

 

Ok now let’s assume we are great single-taskers and we don’t bring devices around, there is still the risk to cause information overload in the way we communicate.

 

If we don’t base our conversations on trust (Day 14), for example we will need additional information to be sent to us after we already discussed something and if we tend to procrastinate (delaying that quick conversation to a further time) we will be in the need of further communication, mostly to repeat the same drafter points, a promotion of additional information overload (Day 13).

New technologies, mostly free, can help us: video communication is nowadays the perfect channel for a conversation when we cannot all be in the same location, it can be recorded, reviewed, shared and it’s very easy to do from any device (Day9). Of course technology shouldn’t come in our way and we should be ready for videos chat ensuring we can provide good quality sound and image having pre-installed and well known apps.

Video conversations can be also shared on a blogpost together with a good simple and clear text, this will enhance our capability to share information, will reduce overload avoiding repeated questions on the same topic. A blog will also increase our potential reach to unknown branches of our network (Day 10).

Last but not least, the quality of our communication should be taken under serious consideration, the simpler and the clearer we craft our messages, the less information overload we will cause through any type of channel. This will require us to pay attention at the creation of the message and further care about the receivers of our communication (Day 12).

Conversations have never been so supported and powerful like nowadays in human history, considering all technology have, accessibility to knowledge and freedom to discuss with anyone in our organizational chart.

It’s such a pity that in many occasions we just focus on our desired outcomes and even our collective failures are almost never seen as caused by an improper use of our communication skills and information overload is then considered as a necessary part of they way do do things today.

Our scapegoats? Unproductivity, lack of time, stress, incompetence: in reality it’s just lack of attention on the way we communicate and information overload can be avoided.

Communication is everything in our nowadays working environment, let’s make it right. A way for us to do it is to learn to control our minds and emotional reactions, this opens the doors into mindfulness practice, that’s going to be topic of the coming week.

Thanks a lot for watching #IORGLiveMonth http://bit.ly/iorglivemonth

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Potential Guidance for Reducing FOMO–>IO
Jul. 12, 2018

As shared last week, FOMO can lead to addictive checking of all your social and work media channels resulting in increased stress and decreased productivity. Dr. Axe [https://draxe.com/nomophobia/] provides a five-step process for decreasing cell phone addiction. Could also be applicable to e-mail inbox addiction. Real-time messaging certainly has some benefits, e.g., alerts for traffic […]

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