Archive for December, 2010

This computer is no friend of mine…

Posted on December 28th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

Recently I had occasion to observe a medical expert, a senior professor at a major hospital, as he tried to access a patient’s medical information on the hospital’s computer network. This took a while, and he turned to me and said “As you can see, this computer is no friend of mine”. He then added, apologetically, “Now, if only my grandson were here, he could do this in no time”. Obviously the doctor was of the pre-computer generation, and many would dismiss his difficulty as a natural result of his age. But as I thought it over, it occurred to.. Read more

Six steps to elicit a response to your emails

Posted on December 20th, 2010 · Posted in Individual Solutions

I’ve discussed the harmful effects of Online silence, the phenomenon where you send email and no reply arrives for days. Since this phenomenon persists, driven by the endless flood of incoming messages, here are some tactics to apply when you run into it. Be proactive. Write your emails to encourage a response – short, to the point, and with clearly marked action items. Make the subject reflect the urgency and the required response: “Can you send me the financial summary by the Tuesday staff meeting?”, not “Staff”. If the mail is fast to read and process, the response is far.. Read more

Is there a downside to Quiet Time?

Posted on December 13th, 2010 · Posted in Impact and Symptoms

I was lecturing at Ben Gurion University about Information Overload, and one attendee challenged me with this question: has the cost of disconnecting from the continuous barrage of communications been quantified? What he meant was this: the accepted wisdom in the Info Overload community is that it is advisable to take time out, “Quiet Time”, pre-assigned time slots in the workday when you don’t pull in incoming messages and calls and try to secure some isolation from interruptions. This allows one to get a stretch of concentrated focused thinking, which can do wonders for creativity, quality and effectiveness. But, as.. Read more

Why email is more stressful than paper mail

Posted on December 6th, 2010 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion

I was trying to get my email Inbox down to zero for the weekend, and though I was making good progress, I felt a mounting sense of stress. Realizing this, I stopped to introspect: why stress? Here I was, going down the list of incoming messages, deleting the useless ones and addressing the more important stuff, and generally doing a good job. Why stress, rather than a feeling of accomplishment? So I examined more closely what I was doing in the process, and I realized that many of the emails were carrying “gifts” of additional activities. One message might direct.. Read more