Information is one of the most valuable commodities in the knowledge economy. But what happens when it is overloaded ????
What is Information Overload? Information overload is a description given to the phenomenon where so much information is taken in by the human brain that it becomes nearly impossible to process it. Alvin Toffler, an academic from Russia, is credited with coining the term. Since the term was first used, it has become very popular, especially in the computer age, though some say information overload is more a time and presentation issue, than an actual data issue. Source: http://www.wisegeek.com/what-is-information-overload.htm
Information overload affects—and afflicts—both individual knowledge workers, struggling to perform their jobs while drowning in data, and entire office organizations, whose productivity and customer care suffer as a consequence Information Overload makes us DUMBER The flood of information produces more pain than gain. Bombardment of emails and RSS feeds sometimes result in negative impact on performance of the employee as well as that of the company. The immense volume of information available through various channels acts as an interruption to the work and in turn may affect productivity , innovation and decision making. Information Overload Is Killing You and Your Productivity Source: http://www.neuronglobal.com/negative-effects-information-overload-workforce
<ul><li>Become highly selective and ignore a large amount of information or give up and don’t </li></ul><ul><li>go beyond the first results in many cases </li></ul><ul><li>Need more time to reach a decision </li></ul><ul><li>Make mistakes </li></ul><ul><li>Have difficulties in identifying the relationship between the details and the overall </li></ul><ul><li>perspective and </li></ul><ul><li>Waste time </li></ul>Sufferers from Information Overload:
Conservative estimates by International Data Corporation (IDC) suggest that an organization with 1,000 employees wastes at least $2.5 million per year due to the information overload dilemma such as failing to find existing information, searching for outdated information or recreating information that is outdated and poorly designed. The opportunity costs are even greater, exceeding $15million annually.
<ul><li>Highlights of the average number of hours spent globally per week by knowledge workers </li></ul><ul><li>on the four main business activities include: 9.00 hours a week is spent on preparing, </li></ul><ul><li>running and summarizing actions for meetings while 6.78 hours are spent managing and </li></ul><ul><li>consolidating information such as documents, emails and web research. </li></ul><ul><li>For communication and collaboration such as building power point presentations, writing </li></ul><ul><li>documents with others and communicating the results to colleagues takes 5.74 hours per </li></ul><ul><li>week. Finally, 10.70 hours is spent on project and task management. </li></ul>
<ul><li>European results show that the knowledge worker in the UK is slightly more efficient than </li></ul><ul><li>the rest of Europe in managing meeting effectiveness, spending 7.83 hours per week as </li></ul><ul><li>opposed to 9.55 hours in Germany. </li></ul><ul><li>However, the UK comes last in information management, spending 7.08 hours per week, </li></ul><ul><li>with France spending 6.69 and Germany 5.91 hours. For communication and collaboration, </li></ul><ul><li>the UK with 5.38 hours does slightly better than France’s 5.70 hours and worse than </li></ul><ul><li>Germany’s 4.72 hours. </li></ul><ul><li>When it comes to project management, Germany is supremely efficient spending 9.15 </li></ul><ul><li>hours per week against the UK at 11.16 hours and France at 11.33 hours. </li></ul>Source: http://www.realwire.com/release_detail.asp?ReleaseID=7900
<ul><li>60% of professionals feel that their productivity is being affected due to the increased </li></ul><ul><li>amount of information they are required to process, according to the 2010 International </li></ul><ul><li>Workplace Productivity Survey by LexisNexis. </li></ul><ul><li>One in two professionals are demoralized because they are spending slightly more than </li></ul><ul><li>half their work day receiving and managing information, rather than actually using </li></ul><ul><li>information to do their jobs. </li></ul><ul><li>At least one third to half of all the information they receive is not useful in helping get the </li></ul><ul><li>work done. </li></ul><ul><li>Even though respondents preferred to receive important </li></ul><ul><li>information via email: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>85% of respondents in Australia, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>60% in US, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>62% in UK, </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>57% in China, found the constant flow of email and other information distracting. </li></ul></ul>Source: http://www.smartmanager.com.au/web/au/smartmanager/en/pages/information_overload.html
Information Overload a Real Downer, Professionals Say Of 1,700 white collar employees polled in the United States, China, South Africa, United Kingdom and Australia, 6 in ten are burdened with information overload.
With No Time to Read, Workers Hit Delete 91% of American professionals, 84% of Chinese, 82% of Australians, 73% of Brits 71 % of South Africans admitted to deleting work information without fully reading it.
On the Edge: Professionals Close to Information “Breaking Point” Source: http://www.multivu.com/players/English/46619-LexisNexis-International-Workplace-Productivity-Survey/
Overloaded by Information, Legal Professionals Say Quality Suffers
How to Cut Out Information and Become More Productive Possessing knowledge is essential to getting work done. However, there is a difference between knowledge and information, and information overload can stop productivity dead in its tracks. An important step in optimizing your work time is to cut out all of the information that is not relevant to your work. Here are a few ways to abandon irrelevant information and increase efficiency. Outsourcing is a solution towards reducing information overload. It provides company’s of all sizes a feasible option to manage information better. By outsourcing the data gathering and data mining services to specialized BPO/KPO providers company‘s can reduce the amount of time their employees spend on information gathering and net searches. Given the number of outsourcing company’s offering a variety of packages firm have the option of trying subscribing to these services and let their employees to concentrate their more important work rather than struggling finding or managing vast range of information (e.g. finding information on the web). <ul><li>Outsource Your Work </li></ul>
Taking on a small outsourcing company gives clients a customized and personalized service and operations process. Knowledge Process Outsourcing (KPO) enables companies to increase business value by maximizing resources and managing information overload. Outsource Your Work Contd. Sources http://www.globetask.com/time-management/information-overload-how-to-cut-out-information-and-become-more-productive/ http://www.adaptavant.com/outsourcing/kpo
2. Reduce Information Intake to the Essentials Decide what your essentials are. Which types of information and source actually provide value to you? Decide how much time you truly need to spend on things like TV, Internet, magazines, news, etc. After you’ve decided, make it a habit. Spending less time on gaining information that is nice to know and more time on things that we need to know now . 3. Avoid Utilizing Instant Communication Whether using an instant messenger or constantly checking your emails, instant communication distracts you from what you’re doing. People are not as good at multitasking as they’d like to believe. Switching back and forth between tasks drastically reduces productivity across the board. Reserve a specific time of day for communications.
4. Purpose “ Start with the end in mind” before you’re about to do something. Doing this helps you become very efficient at managing your time. Having a clear purpose to your time keeps you on track and focused, while allowing you clearly recognize distractions. 5. Planning Schedule time to ‘work’ on each of the essential information tasks. You might want to break these tasks into smaller items. 6. Set Time Limits We all have our information weaknesses, whether it’s checking the latest blogs, playing online games, watching too much TV, or carrying a cell phone or blackberry. By setting time limits for tasks, it forces us to get down to the bare essentials.
7. Don’t multitask Multitasking can give us the illusion that we are very productive and smart. But since we can truly only focus on one thing at a time, multitasking forces us to do extra processing due to the cost of ‘context switching’ (the time it takes to switch our minds when we move from one task to another). Sources : http://workawesome.com/communication/managing-information-overload/ http://thinksimplenow.com/productivity/how-to-reduce-information-overload/ http://www.lifehack.org/articles/productivity/dealing-with-information-overload.html 8. Meditate Meditation can help us immensely with information overload. Preferably you will want to meditate once a day just before bed. Even if it is just for 5 minutes, with meditation we can stop that ever constant chatter that goes on in our head and indulge into the restful sleep we so desperately need.
9. Try An Information Diet Decide to go without checking an information source for a set amount of time. Many people try giving up TV for a week, for example. Once you have completed the fast, evaluate your feelings. Did you notice a positive difference in your life? Did you loose anything by not consuming that piece of information? Is this something you would like to give up (or greatly reduce) permanently? Low-Tech Days – Choose a day of the week when you shut down and go ‘low-tech’ for the day. This allows you to recharge and process all the information you received during the week. Reduce Gradually – Be gentle with yourself, and reduce gradually. For example, if you’re addicted to TV, try reducing the amount you watch a day/week/month and commit to stick to that schedule. This way, you start to reduce your TV watching to the most essential or most valuable to you. Phone-Free Periods – Turn off your phone, or put on vibration mode in the evenings or for several hours during the day. You’ll be amazed by how much you can get done without interruption.