For all the benefits of the information technology and communications revolution, it has a well-known dark side: information overload and its close cousin, attention fragmentation.
These scourges hit CEOs and their colleagues in the C-suite particularly hard because senior executives so badly need uninterrupted time to synthesize information from many different sources, reflect on its implications for the organization, apply judgment, make trade-offs, and arrive at good decisions.
‘Drinking from the firehose’ is a turn of phrase you might not be familiar with. But believe me, if you are reading this blog and many others like this, it’s exactly what you are doing every day. It’s not water you are trying to gulp down, but a torrent of information. Information overload is the more precise term. Also, I am pretty sure you are drowning. Digital information and information overload are the Yin and Yang of our present age.
Research into information overload has been extensive and cross–disciplinary, producing a multitude of suggested causes and posed solutions. I argue that many of the conclusions arrived at by existing research, while laudable in their inventiveness and/or practicality, miss the mark by viewing information overload as a problem that can be understood (or even solved) by purely rational means. (more…)
What is information overload?
27 instant messages. 4 text messages. 17 phone calls. 98 work emails. 52 personal emails. 76 email listserv messages. 14 social network messages. 127 social network status updates. 825 RSS feed updates. 30 pages from a book. 5 letters. 11 pieces of junk mail. 1 periodical issue. 3 hours of radio. 1 hour of television.
That, my friends, is information overload!
Wow. The iPad is almost here. Some of us are very excited. Is this the tablet computer that we have been awaiting for years?
There are mixed opinions on the iPad right now. As whenever Apple releases a new product, there is the usual critics vs. fans hoopla. Personally, I think Apple has again hit the sweet spot between features and functionality. I also believe that the critics continue to underestimate the base provided by iTunes, the iPhone, and the App Store.
But, today I want to look at the iPad from one angle: Time Management.
This checklist is for those who are concerned with the ever increasing amount of information they are required to handle and describes a structured approach to controlling information overload.
In a climate of uncertainty where it is difficult to distinguish a real opportunity from a red herring, there are twin problems in restricting the amount of information to a level that is manageable, and in extracting any gems from the mass available. Too much information causes anxiety, stress and inefficiency; insufficient information leads to ineffective decision making, management by guesswork, even stagnation and decline. Controlling information flow requires a highly disciplined and consistent approach to the processes of selection and evaluation.
This was a shared session, and my half was about dealing with information overload – which is the devil. I stand by that assertion. I also stand by my assertion that information overload does indeed exist. Anyone who says it’s a myth clearly isn’t as busy as the rest of us, or hasn’t studied the history of information overload over the last century’s progress, and/or simply hasn’t invited enough inputs into his or her life to know what it’s like to want to cry when you open your feed reader or inbox.