O'Reilly logo

Overload!: How Too Much Information is Hazardous to Your Organization by Jonathan B. Spira

Stay ahead with the world's most comprehensive technology and business learning platform.

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required

CHAPTER 11

HEADING FOR a NERVOUS BREAKDOWN

Everybody gets so much common information all day long that they lose their common sense.

—Gertrude Stein

One of the more interesting aspects of my work comes from the many discussions I have with knowledge workers on the topic of Information Overload, how it impacts them, and what they are doing about it.

When I meet someone for the first time and explain my research in Information Overload, I usually brace myself. Everyone has an Information Overload story to tell. Some stories relate to coping and some to how the onslaught is simply overwhelming.

Nathan Zeldes, president of the Information Overload Research Group (IORG), a tech industry consortium, and Intel’s former Information Overload czar, told me how he copes with too much information. He feels strongly about the value of such e-mail management strategies as checking e-mail only once a day, in his case after lunch, and setting up a folder system that separates messages into those that must be dealt with immediately, today, or can be followed up on later. Another point he stresses is that e-mail should not be used as a to-do list.

Zeldes also uses tools, such as a local search engine, to quickly find e-mail messages, and he offloads as much as possible to RSS feeds, which in turn can help to reduce the frustrations that arise from an overloaded and unwieldy inbox.

Shari Lawrence Pfleeger, a senior information scientist at the RAND Corporation, sees Information Overload as an impediment ...

With Safari, you learn the way you learn best. Get unlimited access to videos, live online training, learning paths, books, interactive tutorials, and more.

Start Free Trial

No credit card required