Context is critical.
As noted in previous attention research and a forthcoming book:
How Attention Works: Finding Your Way in a World Full of Distraction (The MIT Press) March 2019
“we gather only relevant information. We focus on one snippet of information and assume that everything else is stable and consistent with past experience.”
Our perceptual process attempts to focus on the most salient data or pixel set (e.g., bold type, color, relative position) to reduce IO.
As van der Stigchel’s quote above suggests, we can be mislead by ignoring related contextual attributes. Thus, we need to ask ourselves if the perceptual input is complete and consistent with our task objective. ]
Critical thinking skills can help.
Don’t be an IO victim.
Embedded algorithms processing big data are proposed to reduce human information processing demands.
Edward Tenner in his book The Efficiency Paradox: What Big Data Can’t Do [Alfred a Knopf, 2018] proposes that the efficiency from embedded Big Data Analytics can be counterproductive, e.g., missed opportunities, adopting new approaches, less intuitive thinking.
He provides a persuasive rationale for his position including many valuable examples. Tenner recommends that a selective combination of embedded algorithms and human intuition will improve judgments, learning and decision-making.
Our mental effort or workload is reduced when a set of information items or chunks are delivered as a story. Indeed our ability to recall the content also is improved. A new book Storynomics: Story-Driven Marketing in the Post-Advertising World by respected storyteller Robert McKee & Thomas Gerace (Twelvebooks.com; Hatchett Book Group; March 2018) provides a field-tested approach to creating effective stories.
Decades ago, I (others also?) proposed that Information was defined as more than “data relevant to the task,” but also an effective representation or format to understand and communicate the information effectively. Stories provide an extremely effective frame for delivering information content. A number of software modeling applications, e.g., Tableau and IBM WATSON Analytics have built-in capability for creating storyboards. These are elements that are more than a PPT deck–a set of slides integrated by a common storyline having a captivating beginning, followed by valuable content, and often concluded with some “call to action.” If you have not tried storyboarding to reduce the mental processing effort by your audience, jump onto the storytelling bandwagon.
David M. Levy, who has lived his life between the “fast world” of high tech and the “slow world” of contemplation, offers a welcome guide to being more relaxed, attentive, and emotionally balanced, and more effective, while online.
In a series of exercises carefully designed to help readers observe and reflect on their own use, Levy has readers watch themselves closely while emailing and while multitasking, and also to experiment with unplugging for a specified period. Never prescriptive, the book opens up new avenues for self-inquiry and will allow readers—in the workplace, in the classroom, and in the privacy of their homes—to make meaningful and powerful changes.
The message of this book is quite simple: multitasking doesn’t work.
The fact that you’re doing it and you’re still successful doesn’t mean the opposite. It probably means that you don’t have enough time to do anything else. And that you’ll finish twice as more if you start to singletask.
An insightful book containing the definitive experiment on “Quiet Time” in a corporate setting.
A lovely book about “Why we live to work in the 21st century – and how to work to live instead”. Mr. Price has a long experience in industry, organizational behavior, and the battle on Information Overload, but it is his study of the humanities that gives this book a refreshing intellectual depth.
This chapter discusses the concept of information overload. Information overload is often cited by researchers, as well as by journalists and consultants, as one of the main causes of work-related pressures. My goal in this chapter is to explore what we refer to when we talk of “information overload,” and to suggest that although the workplace pressures attributed to information overload are very real, the concept itself is vague and poorly defined. I then try to isolate the actual causes of the workplace pressures that currently fall under this all-inclusive term, and to unveil two underlying fallacies that hamper our ability to identify and address these causes. These lead me to propose a new agenda for researching and for dealing with these causes of workplace pressure.
This is an encyclopedic guide to over 160 solutions to Information Overload, categorized in a 2-level taxonomy and presented with their pros, cons, and lessons learned from their application where available.
This guide examines solutions to the two aspects of information overload that are responsible for the predominant impact on knowledge workers: email overload, and the interruptions caused by the endless flow of message alerts, ringing devices and other distractions.
A Kindle version is also available on the Amazon web site.
The email alert is a trigger to information overload. Mastering email can unload email overload and save thousands of hours of precious time. The MasteringEmail ™ methodology, published in Unload Email Overload, provides the principles, method and details necessary to mitigate information overload–and get home in time for dinner. (more…)