Information Overload is a common topic of discussions in the press and literature. It is also the subject of research, tools, and techniques. But there is also an important but related problem: Decision Overload.
Information Overload occurs when the information available exceeds the processing abilities of the individual or can be processed in the time available.
By contrast, Decision Overload occurs when the vast amount of available information makes it difficult to decide upon the correct course of action(s).
“A weekday issue of the New York Times contains more information than the average person was likely to come across in an entire lifetime in the seventeenth century.”
Variants of this statement (give or take a couple of centuries) are commonly seen when reading about Information Overload. Of course I agree that there’s more information available today than back in centuries past, but this particular statement always seemed suspicious to me. Is it true? And what if it is?
One major issue is that everybody uses email, and email creates multiple “black holes” – isolated, locked repositories that email disappears into, never to be seen again, forever outside the reach of people who need it.
The root cause of stress and work-related exhaustion does not come from what is happening in our external environment, but how we respond to it from our internal landscape; more specifically – from how our mind reacts to what we are experiencing and the extent to which we are able to effectively manage our mind, or not.
You can hardly be alone, in this modern age. Bombarded with gadgets that fit your palm to the huge screens that have replaced walls, you cannot escape the captivating attraction of being connected, entertained, stimulated and engaged all at the same time!
And what happens when your senses are overactive – when you are checking your inbox, a whatsapp message, an SMS, the latest beer commercial, the number of “likes” on your clever status message? You end up being, what is colloquially called, a Multitasker – one who does many things at once.
It’s easy to spend a large portion of your working day just trying to make a dent in your email backlog, to the detriment of other, often more pressing, priorities. With the average worker spending 13 hours a week dealing with emails, businesses are potentially losing up to 28% of work time to email admin.
Here are four strategies that might help you to reduce this burden, improve productivity and streamline internal communication.
Let’s face it: there are many unsolved challenges in today’s business communication. But luckily, there are many ways and tools to keep it productive and organized as well. In this article, we’ve put together the most reliable approaches to avoid plunging into talkative chaos at work.
And now we hear of a study done in the US that links the alarming rise in teenage suicide and depression (we’re talking doubling rates between 2007 and 2015, for girls) – and the rise in Smartphone and social media use in the same period. Gen Z kids spend hours and hours on their smartphones – connected but physically alone.
Evolution never planned for such a change to happen in less than a generation’s time. The outcome shows up in the research data: Teens who spend more time than average on screen activities are more likely to be unhappy, and those who spend more time than average on non-screen activities are more likely to be happy.
Last month I gave an invited keynote lecture at the XV International Conference on University Libraries at UNAM, the national university of Mexico. The conference theme was how libraries can face the challenges of the coming years, when infinite knowledge is available to anyone at the swipe of a smartphone screen, and continue to provide value to their users and to society; my keynote was to address the phenomenon of information overload and its repercussions for both libraries and users.
The way we’re working isn’t working. Even if you’re lucky enough to have a job, you’re probably not very excited to get to the office in the morning, you don’t feel much appreciated while you’re there, you find it difficult to get your most important work accomplished, amid all the distractions, and you don’t believe that what you’re doing makes much of a difference anyway. By the time you get home, you’re pretty much running on empty, and yet still answering emails until you fall asleep.