Reducing Information Pollution
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 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?
During the 1990’s, organizations shifted from a functional-centric structure to a business process-centric structure. After completing difficult change management actions, benefits were harvested, e.g., reduced cycle time, decreased rework and improved customer satisfaction. Information overload can occur from individual actions during and outside of work as well as team activities. The cited references describe some root causes of collaboration overload and suggests remedies. The benefits from a business process-centric structure can be reduced by collaboration overload. It’s worth reading these materials to achieve your expectations from collaboration benefits. Marty B #IORGforum
When I started working on mitigating Information Overload at Intel, back in the mid-90s, it was all about email overload, and the solutions we worked on then were all about how to send less and better email, sort and process incoming email faster and more sensibly, and – once we figured out the underlying cultural causes – improving norms and expectations within the organization. Nobody even considered Mindfulness then…
But recent years have seen a rapid change in the public’s awareness of Mindfulness in general, and this is fast moving into the info overload space. Just Google “Information overload and mindfulness”! People are realizing that mindfulness and meditation techniques are useful components in the battle on the hijacking of our focus and attention by the incessant incursion of messages and social media. It’s a good trend, and I recommend you pay attention to it.
Three friends of IORG are particularly active in this matter:
Recently I was invited to give a keynote lecture at the XV International Conference on University Libraries in Mexico City last month. The conference was dedicated to the changing role of university libraries, and their place in the United Nations’ “Agenda 2030” program. My lecture, titled “Libraries and Knowledge in the Age of Information Overload”, took a close look at the impact of today’s pervasive state of Information Overload on the academic library, and vice versa.
Preparing this lecture was a fascinating experience for me, as was the knowledge exchange at the conference. Libraries, after all, had served as key vehicles for the dissemination of knowledge since ancient times, yet today far more knowledge than we could ever process is available online. Who needs libraries, then?
The conclusions I reached are that libraries will definitely retain their relevance, but their role is already changing. Rather than maximize access to information, they need to help their users filter knowledge, weeding out the fake and the irrelevant and helping them apply the latest techniques – including those enabled by computer science – to home in on what they really need. And amusingly, one reason students and faculty flock to their university library is to seek refuge from information overload – even when the information is accessible from the outside, the library provides a haven from distractions that is very precious.
You can read my report about all this in an article I published, accessible here.