Wednesday, July 20, 2011

10 Tips for Easing Information Overload

By Wayne Turmel | July 18, 2011

Photo by flickr user chrisinplymouth CC 2.0

… Handling all the email, messages, memos and stuff coming at us is like trying to drink from a fire hose. ...

In his new book “Overload-How Too Much Information is Hazardous to Your Organization”, author Jonathan Spira says it’s not just personal productivity that suffers. Too much information to handle effectively costs the US economy $900 Billion a year in bad decisions, delays and wasted time.

… Here are 10 tips he offers in the book for gaining some measure of control in your worklife.
  1. Don’t email someone, then immediately follow up with an Instant Message, a phone call and a tweet.
  2. Don’t combine multiple themes or requests in a single email.
  3. Make sure the subject of your email actually says what your request or information is about.
  4. Read your email over for tone and clarity before sending it out.
  5. Don’t overburden people with unnecessary replies like “Great!” and “Thanks”. And for heavens sake don’t reply to everyone unless everyone needs to know.
  6. Don’t get impatient if people don’t respond right away. They may be, you know, busy.
  7. Keep your status up to date on IM and email.
  8. Recognize that the intended recipient of your email or message isn’t a mind reader.
  9. Recognize that typed words can be misleading in both tone and intent. Strive for simplicity and clarity in your communication. This means we can even forgive an emoticon or two if it helps set the right tone :-)
  10. Understand that as overwhelming as information overload is for you, it’s no easier for anyone else.
You can hear a full interview with Jonathan Spira on The Cranky Middle Manager Show podcast by clicking here.

Wayne Turmel Wayne Turmel is obsessed with helping organizations and their managers communicate better, even across cyberspace. He's a writer, a speaker, the president of, and the host of one of the world's most successful business podcasts, The Cranky Middle Manager Show, where he helps listeners worldwide deal with the million little challenges and indignities of being a modern manager. His book 6 Weeks to a Great Webinar: Generate Leads and Tell Your Story to the World is the leading web presentation book on Follow him on Twitter @greatwebmeeting.
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