We all deal with information overload. The sources of information, much of it necessary to our jobs, seem endless. Magazines, journals, memos, email, web sites and more, combined with endless meetings, provide us with more data than any person can handle.
To cope, we must possess skills that allow us to process huge amounts of data yet stay current on the information we need to perform at a winning level. Consider these three methods to bring your information flow under control.
- Learn to scan before reading. When you encounter information of interest, read the first paragraph or two, scan the body for key words, and read the conclusion. Then decide if you want to keep the article for future “in depth” reading.
- MANAGE EMAIL. Today it’s easy to receive fifty or more emails each day. It’s often difficult to determine which are important and which are junk. To save time sorting, simply filter that email you KNOW is important into separate folders. Then once a day look at the rest. Use your email programs FILTERING capabilities to accomplish this.
- Set aside “in depth” reading time. Identify times in your week when you can spend one or two hours alone. Make these your reading and research times. Use this time to read in depth the articles, memos and more that you set aside in step one.
Information overload is a very real concern for today’s business person. Learning to “preview” information before deciding to spend your valuable time on it will save you many hours over the course of each week. You will then be free to spend those hours on the things that matter most.