Do either of these photos depict how you feel each day when confronted with the seemingly never-ending amount of information you must process?
Perhaps, at the end of your work or school day, you feel something like this:
These pictures happen to be 3 of my personal favorite surrealist pictures, but which are useful in illustrating a very real-world problem: information overload. These days, much is being written about the topic. Perhaps, it is because studies increasingly show that we are drowning in information. For example, a recent study of Canadian executives found that approximately 50% are suffering from information overload. Conditions in the academic sector are even worse, with nearly 61% reporting information overload. This figure is up from 42% just one year ago.
In this “Era of Information,” it is getting increasingly difficult to sift through all the information sources we must sift through just to find reliable information — or even reliable information about information, for that matter. Those sources include, just to name a few, Google alerts, RSS feeds, paid data services, newsletters, Twitter and Facebook updates. All in the name of finding that proverbial information needle in a haystack.
The result, as one expert writes in the Social Times, is that “information overload is drowning the American worker.” And the cost is neither hypothetical nor conjectural. According to a recent study, information overload is deemed responsible for nearly $997 billion in annual lost productivity for companies.
What is the solution? Everyone has a tip, technique, strategy or scheme – one article I read recently suggested that if we all just took naps we could more efficiently handle the information burden. Really? I like naps, and taking them probably would not hurt. But come on…are you kidding me? Who’s got time for a freakin’ nap when there’s a deadline to be met!?!?!
In the end, you likely will have to find a solution that works best for you as an individual, tailored to the unique demand of a legal professional. However, you may wish to consider some of these suggestions, kindly gathered and curated by the excellent writers at UnifiedInbox.com:
- Two tips to avoid information overload on the internet. http://cot.ag/myKaC3
- 6 Powerful Practices for Coping with Information Overload. http://cot.ag/jAoWB4
- Ex-Google CIO Shares Five Secrets Of His Success. http://cot.ag/kiyg0v
- 7 Steps to Dealing with Information Overload. http://cot.ag/l7dhOv
- Generation Wired Goes To Work: 5 Tips for New Grads and ‘Old’ Bosses. http://cot.ag/mCDV1e
- 6 Secrets to Preventing Email Overload. http://cot.ag/jWlMcZ
- Information Overload Awareness Day: 10 Ways to send 10% Fewer E-mail Messages. http://cot.ag/iRV9nx
If any of these seem particularly useful to you, let me know or comment about them. If you know of other useful tips, let us know. In the meantime, take consolation in the fact that you are not alone. Consider the following: 59% of respondents in one study reported that they check emails from the bathroom…From the bathroom!!!
Perhaps, that should not come as such a shock to me, considering that 107 trillion emails were sent in 2010. It can truly be said, as Thoreau once put it, that “men have become the tools of their tools.”