Archive for the 'Individual Solutions' Category

How Can You Deal With Social Media Overload?

Posted on December 30th, 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 18th, 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

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

What would Ada Lovelace think of Knowmail?

Posted on November 3rd, 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

How to Avoid Forwarding Gaffes With Email

Posted on May 21st, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

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

Call to Action: We Need a Benchmark of Email Classifier Performance!

Posted on December 10th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

A vibrant menagerie of email classifiers If you look through  my Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions you will see an entire chapter dedicated to automation of incoming email classification – that is, software solutions that classify incoming messages by a variety of attributes to achieve two main goals: prioritize messages that are important to the recipient over those who are not, and aggregate messages into groups of a common nature. These solutions form a collection which is a wonder to behold. They define the outcome of message classification from a great many angles, including: Prioritizing messages by the assessed.. Read more

Nathan’s Favorite Solutions to Information Overload

Posted on August 14th, 2014 · Posted in Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

When I consult about Information Overload, I often get asked what are my favorite solutions to this problem. Of course this is a simplistic approach: what works in one company won’t necessarily be a good fit to another, as it all depends on the local culture and other factors. Still, the question is raised, so with the above caveat I will try to answer it. Now that I’ve published the Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions (available in PDF and Kindle versions), I have a long list to choose from: 164 solutions are included in the guide, and a few.. Read more

Taking Proactive Action Against Information Overload

Posted on June 25th, 2014 · Posted in Individual Solutions

Two messages So, just after I wrote the post  Oh, the Horror: What if You Miss an Important Message?! I get two message in my Inbox. One is from MailChimp, and informs me that a subscriber has unsubscribed from my monthly newsletter. This happens from time to time; I’m sorry to lose a reader, but for every one that leaves a couple of others join the list, so I accept that it’s just a part of life and move on. This time, however, was different: there was the second message. This was titled “Information overload – why I unsubscribed”, and.. Read more

Solving Information Overload: Technology Assisted Behavior Change

Posted on March 19th, 2014 · Posted in Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

An interesting hybrid If you scan the Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions you will see two prominent classes of solutions: Behaviour change solutions and Technology based solutions. The former class contains a variety of methods for making people change the way they communicate so they become more effective, and help their coworkers do the same. You want people to send less mail, compose it more skillfully, process it more judiciously, avoid interrupting others and themselves (a sizable part of the interruptions people undergo are self-induced!), and so on. These solutions may involve training, educating, and informing people through multiple.. Read more

Announcing the Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions!

Posted on March 5th, 2014 · Posted in Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

I’ve done it! I’m proud to announce the publication and availability of Solutions to Information Overload: The Definitive Guide, my first e-Book. Check it out at, or read on to find out more about it. How the Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions came to be Twenty years ago, when I discovered Email Overload as an incipient problem at Intel, there were almost no solutions available to me, so I had to develop my own. In the next decade the problem’s global impact grew, and solutions started appearing, some as commercial products and some as homegrown programs and strategies.. Read more