Blog. Insight, issues, opinions and productivity solutions

What would Ada Lovelace think of Knowmail?

Posted on November 3, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions

This post was first published on the Knowmail blog. Cross-posted with permission.   The computer will never be creative or intelligent by itself; it can only do what we tell it to do. I like to call this statement “The Frankenstein clause”: it plays down the primal fear we humans have of our machines getting better than us, then taking over the world. Basically it says, “Move along, folks… Nothing to worry about, we’re the real brains here… These dumb computers will always obey us…” This statement was made by many during the 20th century, but the first to articulate.. Read more

The conflict between being productive and being available

Posted on October 11, 2015 · Posted in Impact and Symptoms

The conflict In my business of helping companies solve information overload,  I get to interview many managers and employees about their communication habits. This brings to light interesting observations. I was talking to an employee in a hi-tech company and he raised a problem: he was actually quite self-aware about the importance of focusing on his work without the extreme productivity hit of interruptions, so he kept his cellphone in silent mode. Smart move! Smart move? Not necessarily. It threw him into the heart of a conflict many knowledge workers grapple with. You see, his peers and his supervisor would.. Read more

Join me at the Oct 20 Information Overload Awareness Day Webinar!

Posted on October 7, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized

October 20 is Information Overload Awareness Day, and we’re holding an online event at 11 AM EST. Attendance is free but we ask that you register now at The Information Overload Awareness Day 2015 event, sponsored by the Information Overload Research Group, is a workplace observance, now in its eighth year, that calls attention to the problem of information overload and how it impacts both individuals and organizations. This year’s event includes a free 60-minute webinar at 11 a.m. EDT, with several information overload speakers, and is hosted by Jonathan Spira, IORG’s VP of Research. On the webinar’s agenda:.. Read more

Wearable Devices: Cool Tech or Big Brother?

Posted on August 21, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

How to measure knowledge worker productivity  is a recurrent question, and in my business of reducing information overload my clients often ask me how we can characterize the benefit of my recommendations for action. For years I used to reply, “Easy! You fix a Productometer gizmo to every employee’s skull, and it senses how productive they are!” Of course, that was nonsense: Characterizing the impact of a productivity program in domains as complex as knowledge work is a challenge requiring less direct means. It may not remain nonsense for long, though… Not just a cute gadget Wearable sensing technology has.. Read more

Backs, Chairs, Wrists, and Office Ergonomics

Posted on July 30, 2015 · Posted in Uncategorized

An epiphany from my past Back in the late eighties my company brought in a chiropractor to give a lecture to interested employees about back pain and how to avoid it. I went to listen, and learned about proper sitting positions and the like: the way you sat at your computer, it turned out, was critical to keeping your spine in good shape. And then I noticed two things: first, the chairs we all had – luxurious, amply padded ones – were definitely not what this guy was advocating; and second, almost all the attendees already had lower back pain;.. Read more

When Hobby and Work Come Together: Wayda Go!

Posted on June 15, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

An auspicious convergence Most people have hobbies and interests of various kinds – as well they should: this makes them happier, better-rounded persons. Used to be that you’d do your work at work during the day, and your hobbies at home evenings and weekends. This model is disappearing fast as work and home become inextricably mixed up. Instead, one must resort to practicing one’s hobby as part of one’s job. In this post I want to make the following point: that it is quite valuable when people’s hobbies and their work come together, with the blessing of their employer; and.. Read more

How to Avoid Forwarding Gaffes With Email

Gaffes in communication are common in all media, and email is no exception. It does, however, enable special opportunities to be very sorry for what you said… The problem with Forward The main reason is that an email, once sent, is no longer yours . You must assume – and to your detriment often forget to assume – that it will get forwarded and re-forwarded. Everything you said to your intended recipient will likely as not be placed before numerous other people. It is astounding how thoughtlessly a recipient can set loose a message meant for their eyes only! The.. Read more

New Insight Article: Effective Hiring – What I’ve Learned from Experience

Posted on May 6, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Hiring is one of the most critical things you do as a manager, and yet corporate training curricula seldom have a course on how to hire people. This is a pity, because not only are there best practices to be learned from the world at large, there are also specific traditions and processes that have become part of the corporate culture in each individual company. In three decades in various organizations I’ve seen and done enough as a manager to form my own opinions on hiring. Opinionated they may be, but I nevertheless share them in my latest insight article.. Read more

The Importance of Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth is

Posted on March 18, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

A key component of leadership A major challenge all managers face is how to motivate their employees to do the best job they can. This is problematic because – despite the usual corporate values of “we respect our employees” and “open door policy” – there is always an element of mistrust between management and employees (I discuss it in the context of Information Overload in this article); and mistrust is a major demotivator. So, managers need to assure employees that they are sincere in what they tell them – and, until someone invents a mind reading device, this is tough. Of.. Read more

Mixed Blessings of Technology: Insights From a Family Physician

Posted on February 17, 2015 · Posted in Impact and Symptoms

Given my focus on mitigating Information Overload, I often discuss it with people I meet in other contexts; many interesting insights usually result. Especially interesting are discussions with those people who are responsible for executing literally life-saving jobs under extreme pressure: medical practitioners. I was visiting a family doctor and raised the subject. This doctor had a computer on her desk, where she was required by the HMO she works for to type in details of everything she did, from patients’ complaints to diagnoses to prescriptions. What’s more, this was a progressive HMO and it allowed patients to communicate with.. Read more