Archive for the 'Organizational Solutions' Category

Unplugged Weddings: People are Pushing Back!

Posted on January 27th, 2015 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

At last: some pushback The “democratization” of photography in the smartphone age has wrested the role of the professional wedding photographer and distributed it among all the invited friends and family members; and this change happened almost overnight, in line with the exponential speedup of technology introduction in recent years. The relevance of this to information overload was the subject of my recent post, Wedding Photos and Managing Information Overload. Another interesting development, which came surprisingly close on the heels of the former, is the appearance of the Unplugged Wedding concept. This is a clear instance where people are beginning.. 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

When Cultures Clash: Open Door Policy vs. Information Overload

Posted on October 29th, 2014 · Posted in Organizational Solutions

The causes of Information Overload are always tightly intertwined with organizational culture, so it is small wonder that solving the first requires messing with the second… and there are times when my work to help organizations mitigate information overload runs into apparent conflicts with existing cultural values. When that happens, we must tread carefully! One such case is the contradiction with the Open Door policy that is quite common in progressive organizations in the western world. The conflict The basic idea of Open Door is that managers are available to their subordinates whenever the latter feel they have something to.. Read more

Should IT Customize Outlook to Reduce Information Overload?

Posted on October 24th, 2014 · Posted in Analysis and Opinion, Organizational Solutions

I was giving a workshop on Information Overload at a midsized hi-tech company where it was agreed to use a standard format for meeting invitations: in addition to the subject, time and place required by Outlook, each such invitation would contain an agenda with a timetable, a list of desired outcomes, and “homework” to be prepared ahead of the meeting. That’s an excellent idea, which I urge you to consider applying in your own group. But then one attendee asked: can we build this into the Outlook platform, so these added fields would be required and enforced automatically? And that.. Read more

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