Archive for the 'Organizational Solutions' Category

Is Information Overload a Symptom of Incorrect Staffing?

Posted on August 21st, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

Of the 164 solutions to information overload included in my Definitive Guide, the last one is probably the least likely to be implemented – and that’s truly a shame. The problem we seldom mention I was discussing Information Overload a while ago with a thoughtful executive at a Fortune 500. The guy agreed with me that things were out of control, but he wasn’t impressed with the fact that he was receiving some 250 work-related email messages a day, most of which were pretty much useless. He said to me, “The problem is not the 200-odd useless emails; those I.. 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

New Insight Article: How to Reduce Meeting Footprint in Your Organization

Posted on May 14th, 2014 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

  Meeting load is a problem in many enterprises, and a good way to improve productivity in them is to have less of people’s time spent on meetings, freeing them to do other work. At first this seems to mean holding fewer meetings, but of course that is an oversimplification: meetings are a vital part of doing business. What you really need is to optimize what I like to call the footprint of the meetings you hold. My recent insight article, titled How to Reduce Meeting Footprint in Your Organization, analyzes the many ways this can be effected. Enjoy!

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

Solving Information Overload: a Hard Look at TO, CC and BCC

Posted on March 12th, 2014 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

Some of the best solutions to information overload are simple and free Now that I’ve finally published The Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions (whew!…), I can look at all the available solutions in one place; and one clear pattern I see is that some of the most effective solutions out there are so simple (and cost nothing) that you’d think everyone would adopt them. Which, sadly, is not what I see when I work to help my customers. Among these solutions is the concept of properly applying the distinction, provided by all email programs, between TO, CC and BCC.. 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

The two Faces of Anytime, Anywhere

Posted on February 14th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

A cool idea (or so we thought) … It really did sound like a great concept at the time: Work Anytime, Anywhere! Catchy slogans like that always sound good, like Andy Grove’s prediction in the nineties of “Free MIPS, Free Bauds” (which is pretty close to reality by now). And the concept of being able to do your work from anywhere as if you were in the office, and at any time of your choosing rather than 9-to-5, seemed particularly cool – so liberating and exhilarating! We in IT were certainly delivering the capability. Admittedly secure remote access was a.. Read more

Coming Next: the Definitive Guide to Information Overload Solutions!

Posted on February 10th, 2014 · Posted in Individual Solutions, Organizational Solutions

Whew! Finished at last!… As I mentioned in a post a few months ago, I’ve been hard at work writing an encyclopedic compilation of every solution I know to Information Overload, from software to training tools, from behavior change drives to personal strategies, from commercial products to innovative ideas. This seemed to be a never ending task, with new solutions popping up all the time; I finally had to recall that wonderful adage, “In every project comes the moment to shoot the engineers and move into production”! So, I arbitrarily closed the list and found that I have 164 solutions.. Read more

Default Settings for Scheduling a Productive Meeting

Posted on November 8th, 2013 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

In a perfect world… In a perfect world, your calendar application would have a slider control in the meeting scheduling interface captioned “Productivity”. The slider would have calibrations next to it, ranging from “Total waste of everyone’s time” to “Superbly productive meeting”.  Anyone scheduling a meeting could select whether they wanted the meeting to be effective, and how much so. Then again, in a perfect world, would anyone select a setting other than “Superbly productive” for their meetings? So  we could eliminate the slider, and just have the default setting be  the productive one. Right? … and in our world.. Read more

NIZ and NIW: Warding Off Dangerous Workplace Interruptions

Posted on September 27th, 2013 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

Workplace interruptions can kill. No Interruption Zone around amedication cart in an ICU  (Source) We’re so used to them that we forget how the incessant disruptions caused by phones, BlackBerries, incoming mails, and coworkers popping in for “just a quick question” are wreaking havoc on our ability to focus and think, with dire results for our productivity and creativity. The problem becomes outright fatal in critical work environments where lack of focus can lead to life threatening mistakes: distracting people like medical staff, airline pilots, or flight controllers can definitely lead to disaster. Then again, even where danger to life is.. Read more