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Overcoming Information Overload and Gaining Productivity

We are constantly bombarded with data. We can get information from print, television, email, internet news sources, twitter, Facebook, text, …

We are constantly bombarded with data. We can get information from print, television, email, internet news sources, twitter, Facebook, text, or phone call. It’s impossible to turn off this constant stream of data, especially during the work week.

The constant barrage of information isn’t just dizzying, it might actually be making us less happy and less productive workers. The Economist writes on the effect of data distraction in, “Too much information: How to cope with data overload.” The article references a Reuters survey that found 2/3 of managers say excessive data has detracted from their work satisfaction or hurt their personal relationships. Another 1/3 say that it has damaged their health!

While that may be on the extreme end of the spectrum, there is no doubt that data affects our everyday lives. Employees (who are now equipped with smart phones) are constantly checking inboxes for work, or searching the internet for news and entertainment.

The Economist finds three major concerns with current data norms:

  1. Data overload can cause anxiety and stress
  2. Data overload can decrease creativity
  3. Data overload can make employees less productive

Solutions? Have your employees look at what they’re doing and determine what their tasks are accomplishing. Is what you’re doing helping you reach a goal? If not, that’s what needs to be filtered out — and CEOs can help encourage this. And personally, try to take a time out. One business leader also allows himself “thinking time” when no one can disturb him.

Read: Too much information: How to cope with data overload

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