Recent studies and articles make the case for better information management:
Information overload is escalating. While IT departments look for solutions, relatively few companies have policies and procedures in place deal with the issue or help their employees do so.
Here are some tips:
Gaining control over the information can help ease the sense of overload.
Relying on interaction through the inbox takes away an individual’s control of the information that comes to them – they are at the mercy of information that other people deem important.
An alternative way to interact that gives an individual control over information that is most important to them is through the use of internal social-networking tools, such as shared web pages (known as wikis) and collaborative sites, such as those facilitated through SharePoint.
Another way to focus on what’s important is to set up alerts and feeds from disparate sources, based on keywords. Of course, this means more email, so it’s also important to set up rules to direct less important messages into specific folders that can be checked only when needed.
Control can also be achieved by assuming a proactive, rather than reactive, work ethic. Organize the day into blocks of time that are quiet, focused work, where email is not checked, and specific times when you check email. During the quiet times, post a do not disturb message for instant messages.
Prioritize and Organize
Plan how to manage the messages as they arrive. Messages that can be dealt with in less than two minutes should just be taken care of and then deleted immediately. If the message requires more time, delegate it or defer it. If the message is deferred, move it to an action folder or a to-do-list (Microsoft Outlook has the ability to easily flag emails for follow up in the future).
It’s a well understood principle – the more email you send, the more you get. Here are some specific ways you can better manage the information flow:
While individuals can take control on their own, organizations that have well written, established and enforced policies and procedures will find that information management has been streamlined. These organizations will be rewarded with increased productivity.