I gave a presentation this week on decision-making, and someone in the audience asked me if I thought information overload was an impediment to effective decision-making. “Information overload…yes, I remember that concept. But no one cares about it anymore,” I replied. In fact, nobody ever did.
But why not? We’ve been reading articles in the press about information overload being the bane of productivity for almost twenty years
The subject line grabbed my attention-“Information Overload: The Impact on the Organization.”
The thought of spending time listening to the webcast was itself pressure. But I was feeling particularly overloaded that day, so I registered for the free event from the nonprofit group calling itself the Information Overload Research Group (IORG; https://iorgforum.org). A key company in the organization is Basex, Inc. (www.basex.com), which describes itself as a “knowledge economy research firm” that serves IT vendors and buyers with an expertise in knowledge worker management and productivity. Here’s the compelling statistic: Basex estimates, based on data it has gathered, that information overload costs the U.S. economy a minimum of $900 billion a year in lost productivity and reduced innovation. That’s a big number.
Your data is multiplying, your channels are extending, the chatter is never-ending. You’re already having trouble keeping up with the stream of information. What happens when that stream becomes a flood?
Relaxation is a whole lot more intense than it used to be. I realized this one recent lazy Sunday afternoon: Before assuming my position on the couch, I gathered the television remote control, my smartphone, a print magazine, and my laptop. Apparently this form of multitasking isn’t all that uncommon.