Thomas asked this question during the PMI Learning, Education and Development Community of Practice presentation I gave recently about Collaboration Tools for Project Managers. We were talking about using social media tools at work for communication and collaboration, and – of course – the topic of information overload came up.
Normally I’m asked how to deal with information overload, so it was interesting to get a question about what drives it and what happens as a result of it – it made me think!
Here’s my response.
What drives information overload:
- An insistence that all communication goes through you
- Lack of trust in the team
- The team’s lack of trust in each other, so they include you in all communication
- A failure to see what is relevant to the task being done
- Being copied in to things ‘for information only’
- Not managing your software tool alerts effectively and getting alerts for absolutely everything
- Not managing interruptions effectively
- Sleep deprivation
What results from information overload:
- Feeling overwhelmed
- Constant interruptions which dents productivity
- A feeling that we are really important because people need us all the time (this isn’t good, by the way)
- A full inbox, but normally full of stuff that isn’t really important
- A project that slows down due to bottlenecks in communication
- Difficulty archiving everything and therefore difficulty finding anything
- Lack of focus
- Lack of trust in the team (yes, it’s a virtuous circle)
What else would you add to these lists? Let us know in the comments below.