Five Ways Executives Can Master Information Overload
Information overload has emerged as a palpable epidemic among the Fortune 1000 companies and small businesses alike. The amount of data executives are required to consume, comprehend and compute each day is staggering. Dr. Edward Hallowell, a New York-based psychiatrist and expert on the topic of distraction, states that “never before in human history have our brains had to process as much information as they do today.”
And while current working environments are nothing short of a non-stop firehose of information, it’s making us less effective. Fortunately, there’s an antidote to remedy this ever-pressing issue of information overload. Below are five of the key ways we at Turbine Labs solve for this massive flow of information.
Establish efficient systems and processes
“There’s an app for that” is not just a pop culture slogan. It’s the truth. App intelligence firm SensorTower estimates that five million apps will be available on Apple’s App Store by the year 2020. Tens (or hundreds) of thousands will be for the purpose of information aggregation and consumption.
For example, pick an app for news aggregation (such as Flipboard or News), and integrate paid news subscriptions into it so that all subscription, non-subscription and blog content can be consumed from a single app. Then, set limits on how much time you spend on consuming this kind of content. Placing these restrictions allows you to process what you need to know now and not be bothered by related, yet trivial information.
Subscribe to a distinguished source
2018 marks over five decades of evolutionizing Big Data as millions of stories and pieces of information are now strewn about databases and software applications. This has activated an influx of information that needs to be condensed to enable appropriate consumption of impactful content.
And while a supposedly reputable source may face certain scrutiny depending on which side of the political spectrum it leans, there are many online news sources that present objective, straightforward coverage. By offering daily email summaries on current events and news briefings from distinguished sources, services like Turbine Labs’ JetStream are able to provide meaningful content without forcing executives to rummage through virtual clutter on their own.
Prioritize and refine
For business leaders and decision-makers, time is a precious commodity that should not be wasted on trying to consume everything, which, mind you, is an impossible feat. Instead, leverage automated tools that help filter and compress the right information in the right context. Consolidated, accurate information allows leaders to then focus on decisions and strategy.
Take a break. Better yet, walk away
Unplugging, even if it is just for five minutes, can do wonders on mental health. Researcher and psychology professor Alejandro Lleras proved this point as he ran a study on vigilance decrement and attentional resources.
“Constant stimulation is registered by our brains as unimportant, to the point that the brain erases it from our awareness. [...] From a practical standpoint, our research suggests that, when faced with long tasks, it is best to impose brief breaks on yourself. Brief mental breaks will actually help you stay focused on your task,” Lleras said.
Be Flexible To Change
As more and more corporate organizations inherit enhanced technology models and software applications, the need to quickly adapt in this modern era of digital disruption has become significantly more important. As of 2016, 85.2% of corporations among America have adopted cloud computing services while 68.9% of these large companies have embraced artificial intelligence and machine learning capabilities to facilitate daily work functions most effectively.
Consequently, less experience with different tools and interfaces is an extreme disadvantage; but being flexible to change will support competence in technologies that efficiently ease workflow and even have the power to minimize information overload.