Struggling with information overload by Larry Magid

Larry Magid really hit upon a growing problem for many of us - one that we might not recognize, nor admit - reduced productivity and less than high quality results.

The distraction of information overload from our email, social networking, etc., can, or already does lead to the deterioration of the quality of our output - lowering performance levels and jeopardizing our path to success .

How many emails are in your emailbox first thing every morning? And as Larry points out in his article, "Struggling with information overload", it's not just emails -

                    ----------Larry Magid's article ---------------

This article appeared in the August 1, 2011 edition of the San Jose Mercury News

Like many of you reading this, I have to deal with a constant barrage of emails along with tweets, Facebook messages, text messages and now Google+ updates. And that’s on top of my landline and cellphone ringing as well as my dog needing attention and the usual interruptions from family members.

I work at home. People who work in an office often have to deal with colleagues stopping by asking, “Do you have 30 seconds?”

Well, even if that interruption really is only for 30 seconds, recovery time turns out to be between 10 to 20 times the duration of the interruption, according to Jonathan Spira, the chief analyst at Basex and author of “Overload: How Too Much Information Is Hazardous to Your Organization.”

Spira, a panelist at a Churchill Club event last week appropriately titled “Information Overload 2.0,” said it “takes time for the neurons to fire and it takes time for you to regain your thoughts and recapture the flow of what you were thinking.” And sometimes, he added, what’s lost cannot be recaptured.

I used to think I could manage my own often-interrupted life by “multitasking.” But except for things like walking and chewing gum, multitasking is a myth. When it comes to cognitive tasks, our brains aren’t really capable of competently doing more than one thing at a time.

While I’m sitting in front of the two monitors attached to my PC, I have a Twitter feed in the lower right corner of my main screen, my word processing document in the center and a Gmail session on the other monitor. What I’m really doing is switching my attention back and forth between these three information sources. Trouble is, every time we switch our attention back and forth, it takes a little time. ....

Read Full Article HERE

-------------be sure to read the rest of the article---------------

How about you - do you see it affecting performance and productivity in your workplace, too?

In spite of work rules set by many employers, nearly every employee with access to a
computer at his work station or office is tempted to go online for a last minute check of their email, a quick peek at their twitter time line, maybe looking for a new post on their facebook wall, and not just during a coffee or lunch break.

According to the expets, the human mind has it's limitations when multitasking is involved - and constant distraction and return to a task at hand challenges outstanding results.

And isn't that what we all strive to achieve - outstanding results from our efforts?

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