Blog. Insight, issues, opinions and productivity solutions

BLUF! A Great Method to Get Your Message Across

Posted on March 30, 2017 · Posted in Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

BLUF: Put the main takeaway – the bottom line – of your message at its very beginning.   BLUF? What on Earth is that? BLUF stands for “Bottom Line Up Front”. It is a term coined, apparently, in the US Army, and it denotes a model for effective message writing. The idea is to reverse the usual method, where you first present your case, your arguments and justifications, and then – at the end – draw the conclusions or decisions. Instead you put the conclusion, the main thing you need the reader to understand, at the very beginning of the.. Read more

The Problem with Work-Life Balance

Posted on February 24, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Guest post by Toby Ruckert (Twitter / LinkedIn) Originally published on my blog. I’ve been self-employed essentially my whole life, and this year marks the 25th anniversary since starting my entrepreneurial journey in 1992. Being an entrepreneur naturally comes with a lifestyle that makes it hard to draw the line between work and life. Discussions about work-life balance simply aren’t very productive when your business is (such a big part of) your life, especially when you’re the one who started it. And while many told me that we should separate life from work to be happy, I don’t believe in.. Read more

Thoughts on the Pew Report on Information Overload

Posted on January 20, 2017 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

The news about a report from the Pew Research Center drew some media attention recently. Pew surveyed the American public and found that Information Overload is not a big deal! Specifically, they found that: Some 20% of the surveyed adults in the U.S. say they feel overloaded by information, a decline from the 27% figure from a decade earlier. 77% of them told Pew that they like having so much information at their fingertips. 67% say that having more information at their fingertips actually helps to simplify their lives! 79% say that having a lot of information makes them feel.. Read more

How Can You Deal With Social Media Overload?

Posted on December 30, 2016 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions

The Info Overload guru is taken by surprise I was talking to a college student, and she threw me a question:  how can she deal with the overwhelming  information overload afflicting her life? She then elaborated, and to my surprise it turned out the overload was not the familiar push-mode problem typical of email; she was talking about pull-mode, specifically, Facebook and RSS. This was a surprise for two reasons: first, because here was a Gen Y person complaining about Facebook, the social network that her cohort is so famously in love with; and second, because I’d always advocated RSS.. Read more

Tips to Reduce Information Overload on Information Overload Day

Posted on October 18, 2016 · Posted in Individual Solutions

October 18 is Information Overload Day, an awareness day promoted by the Information Overload Research Group since 2010 to raise awareness of Information Overload. This is a good opportunity to take a hard look at your email and communication practices, and make some decisions that will improve your state for the better in the coming year. There are two kinds of steps you can take: improving how you process your own email, and reducing the burden on your coworkers by making the email you send out more effective. To help you with this, here are some useful resources to consider:.. Read more

Proofreading: an Art and a Parable

Posted on August 14, 2016 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Off-topic

Taking on the formidable Murphy These days I’m working part of my time as the editor of Coller Venture Review, the journal of the Coller Institute of Venture at Tel Aviv university. An interesting job, where I get to interact with interesting researchers and experts around the world who write interesting papers for this interesting publication. And then there’s the less interesting – yet vital – part of the job: making sure everything in the printed journal is perfect and error free. In other words, Quality Assurance, which in this domain is called proofreading. As an engineer I’ve learned very.. Read more

Should We Reintroduce Computer-free Activity into the Workplace?

Here is a strange idea: reduce the use of computers in the workplace. Huhh?!?… Bear with me and read on… Computers and Stress Back in the nineties management at my Intel campus realized that non-stop computer use was causing health damage in the form of RSI (repetitive stress injuries – remember all those weird wrist bandages?). To address it, we implemented structured “stretching sessions” where everyone stopped typing and came together to do directed exercises with music and fun. Today we see that non-stop computer use is causing health damage in other forms – and it may be time to.. Read more

Should You Buy a Smartphone for Your Child?

Posted on February 6, 2016 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Should you? Not without first understanding the implications. This question derives from a real life situation, which happens a lot: a kid approaches a parent asking for a smartphone. Please? Pretty please?? All the other kids have them! I’ve heard of six year olds popping the request, and parents in our society of abundance are all too likely to give in. But a smartphone is not a toy; it is a supercharged technology powerhouse, with incredible potential for both good and evil. It’s not exactly like giving a loaded gun to a kid, but it merits some serious thought. After.. Read more

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