Reducing Information Pollution
By Jonathan Spira
Information Overload causes people to lose their ability to manage thoughts and ideas, contemplate, and even reason and think. It has resulted in work days that never seem to end, completely destroying work/life balance.
Information Overload Day 2016 takes place on October 18th, and is a good time to take action to reduce the impact of Information Overload on your work and life. Simply follow these five rules and share them with your coworkers and you’ll find a marked change in your own personal overload situation!
Don’t let Information Overload strangle your organization’s productivity. 94% of those we surveyed have at some point felt overwhelmed by information to the point of incapacitation. Just remember, for every 100 people who are unnecessarily copied on an e-mail, eight hours are lost!
Happy Information Overload Day!
Tips and statistics adapted from Overload! How Too Much Information Is Hazardous To Your Organization.
When organisations think about “overload”, the context of “information overload” is the first thing that usually gets most attention. Managing flood of emails is the most prominent example, and many interesting solutions have been proposed to deal with it. Interesting, but can any single solution be considered a definitive one? And, can we limit the problem of “overload” only to the digital domain? I will argue that the issue is much wider, and thus we can talk about “overflow”, covering both digital and traditional – analog domains. We say “information overload”, but when we get to practical examples, we suddenly switch to discussing “flood of information”, “flood of email messages” etc. That’s why OVERFLOW is considered by some a better keyword than OVERLOAD.
“Overflow (also referred to as surplus, excess or overspill) is seen as the explicit opposite of scarcity. It is a concept used in economic theory, management, consumer studies and politics, though these disciplines have different interpretations of what really constitutes overflow”
eLife 2015;4:e10825. [Link]
Overflow is surplus, and Poland (where I’m based) is a unique location to discuss it. The country underwent a profound change, from the socialist economy of excessive demand and rather limited supply, to a typical for western countries economy of excessive supply and severe competition for customers’ attention.
For any person, a wide zone of acceptance for available choices was a highly adaptive trait in the old economy, but nowadays can be a source of frustration, with an abundance of choices around us – choices of all kinds: shopping, educational, social. What should I choose, if I like all available options? On the other hand, those who have a very narrow range of acceptance for available choices had suffered in the socialist economy, but are likely to be thriving now – being “picky” protects them from the abundance of available choices.
That’s why the problem of “overflow” is not a simple, linear issue of environmental abundance, of a flood of digital, easily multiplicable information, but instead needs to be analysed on a finer level, taking into account interaction of external, environmental conditions and personal traits. This area of research, pursued for many years by one of the keynote presenters, prof. Grażyna Wieczorkowska-Wierzbińska, will be highlighted at the “Managing Overflow” conference, organized in September this year by our team from the Department of Managerial Psychology and Sociology at the University of Warsaw (http://overflowconference.pl). The event will gather in Poland a group of top scientists researching the topic of overflow: prof. Barbara Czarniawska, prof. Orvar Lofgren, Sabina Siebert, prof. Wieczorkowska-Wierzbińska, and others.
Grzegorz Krol, PhD
Department of Managerial Psychology and Sociology
Faculty of Management
University of Warsaw
The Information Overload Research Group is seeking organizations wishing to partner with us in pursuing our mission of reducing Information Overload.
If you recognize the importance of this problem, and wish to take an active part in addressing it, read on!
IORG, founded in 2008 as a 501(c)6 US non-profit, is dedicated to reducing the Information Overload that devastates the productivity and quality of life of knowledge workers worldwide. We strive to do this by facilitating conversations, collaboration and networking among people who experience information overload, people who study it, and people who are developing solutions to address the problem; and by spreading research-based solutions, including best practices and technologies.
A key strategy in our activity is to bring together people from diverse backgrounds: academics, corporate practitioners, solution vendors, consultants, and analysts. By having them share their different points of view, we create a lively exchange of knowledge and opinion.
Our activity to date had focused on holding annual conferences and online webinars, maintaining a web site (http://iorgforum.org) and maintaining the IO Resource Center, an online reference library of every kind of publication related to the problem. This activity is managed by a volunteer board of directors and steering committee.
At this time, we have concluded that we need to extend our reach and scope of action, and we therefore seek organizations willing to take a part in our activity in whatever manner makes sense, such as:
If your organization is willing to engage in any of this, please let me know at email@example.com.
President, the Information Overload Research Group
What a great Information Overload Awareness Day we had this year, thanks to our two speakers, Yoram Kalman and Francis Wade, and special presentation from board member Jonathan Spira. The insights and discussions during our webinar were certainly food for thought.
Our speakers have graciously accepted to make their slides available as well.
The Information Overload Awareness Day 2015 event, sponsored by the Information Overload Research Group, is a workplace observance, now in its eighth year, that calls attention to the problem of information overload and how it impacts both individuals and organizations.
This year’s event includes a free 60-minute webinar at 11 a.m. EDT, with several information overload speakers, and is hosted by Jonathan Spira, one of the leading experts in the field and author of “Overload! How Too Much Information Is Hazardous To Your Organization.”
To register for the Information Overload Awareness Day Webinar, please click on the Eventbrite logo below which takes you to the Eventbrite registration page:
In conjunction with the observance of Information Overload Awareness Day, the Information Overload Research Group issued a Lower the Overload challenge to knowledge workers everywhere.
1) Send only those Emails, IMs, and texts that have to be sent. This includes replies.
2) Only use reply-to-all when absolutely necessary.
3) Cut back on the number of recipients in the “to” and “cc” fields.
4) Resist the urge to forward Email messages if not critical.
We look forward to you joining us for this event, and please forward this to any of your peers that may be interested in participating!
“Tame the Overload” is the theme of Information Overload Day on Oct. 21. This year’s event includes a free 90-minute webinar at 11 a.m. EDT featuring speakers from Microsoft, Yahoo, and Knowmail, and hosted by Jonathan Spira, one of the leading experts in the field and author of “Overload! How Too Much Information Is Hazardous To Your Organization.”
The Information Overload Day event, sponsored by the Information Overload Research Group and held entirely on the Web, calls attention to the problem of information overload and how it impacts both individuals and organizations.
The webinar will include an Information Overload Clinic, in which experts will answer questions from attendees on how to address their biggest Information Overload challenges. Audience members can submit questions in advance via iorgforum.org/ioday2014/#clinic.
The speakers also will present their latest research on Information Overload and multitasking. Topics include:
Learn more about the speakers at iorgforum.org/ioday2014.
“Information Overload Awareness Day comes but once a year,” said Nathan Zeldes, IORG president, “but information overload itself never lets up. Spending a few hours to address what can be done to contain this scourge is a crucial activity for knowledge workers.”
To register for the webinar, go to https://ioday2014.eventbrite.com.
By Jonathan Spira Information Overload causes people to lose their ability to manage thoughts and ideas, contemplate, and even reason and think. It has resulted in work days that never seem to end, completely destroying work/life balance. Information Overload Day 2016 takes place on October 18th, and is a good time to take action to […]News Archive
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