An executive briefing titled “Too Much Information” in HR Magazine’s January 2011 issue stated, “62% (of workers) admitted that the quality of their work suffers at times because they can’t sort through the information they need fast enough.”
“Some U.S. Professionals said they spend half their workday receiving and managing information.” I am working with a company now that has a process for everything. Because of the sheer multitude of information in the processes and the pace at which business is moving, when a process needs to be referenced to figure out how to perform a new task or operate a machine correctly, they don’t turn to the process because of information overload. Production workers feel like it takes too much time to find what they need to answer their question. What took someone lots of time and thought in order to draft standardized processes gets abandoned because it is simply what the workers see as too much information to deal with. The Executive Briefing goes on to state, “to cope (with information overload), 91% of U.S. workers admit to deleting or discarding work information without reading it.”
The HR Magazine briefing goes on to state that “Nine of 10 U.S. professionals say they need to search for old e-mails or documents at least once a week and not being able to access the right information at the right time results in a huge waste of time.”
So in this age of information overload, what can we do to cope? I suggest a few things:
1. Have a mechanism for organizing your information. For example, use your email system as a filing system to catalogue and store information that is easily accessible.
2. Subscribe to services that condense relevant information to your industry or line of work into one email or publication instead of trying to read 7 newspapers, 8 blogs and 10 magazines related to your line of work a day. For example, because of the economic and workforce development work I do primarily in the manufacturing sector, I’m a member of a group that sends me a Manufacturing News Daily that condenses relevant news.
3. Set aside time to “unplug” everyday. More on this in the next post, but in short, put your blackberry or your iphone or ipad and/or computer away so you aren’t checking emails constantly causing you to deal with information input constantly.
Please suggest more ways you have or can manage information overload!