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.
What was happening is something I often observe: the younger generations –Y and Z – use many new messaging channels that their Baby Boomer parents often don’t use at all – and vice versa.
Where the older folks are primarily email users, younger people are all about Facebook, Skype, WhatsApp and so on. But the problem isn’t just that that they don’t share a channel to communicate on. There are many interesting implications here…
The causes of Information Overload are always tightly intertwined with organizational culture, so it is small wonder that solving the first requires messing with the second.
No man is an island, and these workers form part of teams and organizations. Information overload has started to play havoc with organizational processes in the nineties, and by now we’re so used to this that we barely remember the cause as we live with effects that we simply take for granted. Below I investigate how information overload is breaking vital processes in practically all knowledge‐based organizations.
Quiet Time in the information overload context is the conscious act of securing isolation from interruptions for at least hours at a time, in order to enable your mind to concentrate and excel. I’m not talking about occasional time out; this is about a structured, recurrent, pre-scheduled sequence of quiet intervals, week after week.
This last article in the series addresses an impact of Information Overload that victimizes the individual knowledge worker directly, although the damage inevitably extends to the organization employing this individual. This is the degradation of the employee’s quality of life.
Information overload has started to play havoc with organizational processes in the nineties, and by now we’re so used to this that we barely remember the cause as we live with effects that we simply take for granted. Below I investigate how information overload is breaking vital processes in practically all knowledge‐based organizations.
If time loss is the most obvious way that Information Overload affects organizational effectiveness, the destruction of mental acuity is the least obvious one. It is also probably the worst, in terms of actual damage to the bottom line. What we’re talking about here is a reduction in a wide range of mental capacities, all of them highly relevant to the performance of knowledge work.
We know that Information Overload costs knowledge workers around one day a week, but few people understand where this figure is coming from, how it was measured, and what the underlying time-waste mechanisms are.