01:33 PM

Rethinking How We Work (or Just Read Every Other Line of Your E-mail)

Information is the new currency of our society yet workers'accounts seem to be mostly overdrawn. A typical worker gets at least 200 e-mails, dozens of instant messages, multiple phone calls (office phone and mobile phone), and several text messages, not to mention being bombarded by a vast amount of content that he/she has to contend with. Information overload has become a significant problem for companies of all sizes, with some large organizations losing billions of dollars each year in lower productivity and hampered innovation.It's not just a case of too much e-mail, too many interruptions, too many projects, and too much content. It's all these things clashing, sometimes like an orchestra without a conductor. Put succinctly, information overload affects everyone reading this column. Just yesterday, I was speaking with a rather overloaded manager in the automotive industry. "I read every other line of an e-mail" she told me, explaining how she copes. Her tongue-in-cheek comment aside, its clear that important items are missed, both in e-mail and the many other places where we keep content, such as intranets and portals, Weblogs, wikis, Web pages, journals... the list goes on and on. This week we officially released our report Information Overload: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us. Although I realize it may temporarily add to your overabundance of information (my father would say "zu viel des Guten" - or too much of a good thing), you can download the report without charge at our Web site at

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