Thursday, January 22, 2009

Information Overload Calculator

Want to calculate the information overload productivity waste in your business?

We've found a company that has a calculator you can use to estimate how much time you can reclaim by taking control of your information overload. Basex, a research firm, has developed this resource. Visit for the INFORMATION OVERLOAD CALCULATOR. Be sure you're sitting down when you view the results! Then turn to our resources to help you take your productivity back.

Here's the link to the BASEX blog, too. Alot more great info there, by chief analyst Jonathan Spira...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A Perennially Empty Inbox - How 'bout THAT for a New Year's Resolution?

Happy New Year, everyone!
This is the time when many people make resolutions for the New Year... so I'd like to add my two cents.

Resolve to empty your inbox every time you view it.

OK, so you might think I'm crazy... Whadabout those 200 emails you get every day? Yep. That's alot. BUT. It can be done. I do it. Many of my clients and associates do it. They've found new freedom from stress.

We've talked about this several times in this blog, but the key to it all includes two mindsets:

1. Distinguish between "work" and "sort."
2. Check your inbox as few times a day as your business allows.

1. When you go into your inbox with the intention of sorting that newly rec'd email, you'll triage the work to be done in its correct priority, rather than become distracted by each incoming newfound treasure. the concept is easy, the practice is a bit more challenging. See our March posts for the summaries of our 12 Steps.

2. The world won't collapse if you don't check your email for 90 minutes or so, even tho' you think it might. By spacing your inbox views, you actually allow yourself to focus on other work. Amazing! You'll get more done, and when you do go into that inbox, you'll have enough new mail to sort (and triage) that it makes it worth your while as a task.

So, are you up for that new resolution?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Zzzmailing -- a new late-night culprit?!!

We’ve all heard of sleep walking, sleep talking, and even sleep eating, but now there’s a new late-night culprit – sleep e-mailing, or zzzmailing, as it’s now been dubbed.

The first reported case, as told by the University of Toledo to the Telegraph, involved a 44-year-old woman getting up two hours after she’d gone to sleep, logging on to her computer, and e-mailing her friends to invite them to a wine and caviar party. The woman didn’t realize what she’d done until a friend accepted her invitation.

What this says to me is that e-mail use has clearly become a deeply-ingrained habit. The constant connectivity offered by email and PDA tools has people logging on so frequently that we’re even starting to do it in our sleep.

While people have been sleepwalking for ages, reports are only now beginning to surface about sleepers undertaking complex, detailed tasks – such as logging onto computers to send emails. Egan, an internationally renowned e-mail productivity expert, finds this new trend disturbing because, even though this may be an amusing anecdote, this says something very real about the extent to which e-mail has become a part of our lives.

We need to take steps to break the habits of e-mail addiction and misuse. We need to take charge of our inboxes instead of letting them take charge of us.
To read the complete Telegraph article, visit

Monday, December 15, 2008

Work induced ADD?

More interesting "stuff" from "Workplace interruptions cost US economy $588 bn a year"

by The EditorsFinancial Express, 01/09/2006

"Over the past decade, psychiatrist Edward Hallowell has seen a tenfold rise in the number of patients with symptoms that closely resemble those of attention-deficit disorder (ADD), but of a work-induced variety.

“They complained that they were more irritable than they wanted to be. Their productivity was declining. They couldn’t get organised.”

Hallowell and his frequent collaborator, Harvard psychiatrist John Ratey, believe that the neurochemistry of addiction may underlie the compulsive use of cell phones, computers and blackberrys.

Psychologists call the increasingly common addiction to web-based activity ‘online compulsive disorder,’ Hallowell calls it ‘screen sucking’." THAT'S a label!

Here's the link to the press release:

Friday, December 12, 2008

And you think Email interruptions aren't costly?

This is the most recent survey we could find... we can only assume the numbers are growing.

"Workplace interruptions cost US economy $588 bn a year"
by The EditorsFinancial Express, 01/09/2006
Here is an excerpt:

Interruptions consume 2.1 hours a day or 28% of the workday and cost American economy $588 billion a year, a 2005 survey showed.

The survey by Basex, an information technology research firm, found that the time lost for productivity included not only unimportant interruptions and distractions but also recovery time associated with getting back on the task.

The survey reported in an issue of Time Magazine, was based on study of 1,000 office workers.

Estimating an average salary of $21 an hour for knowledge workers, those who perform tasks involving information, Basex calculated that workplace interruptions cost the US economy $588 billion a year.

A team led by Gloria Mark and Victor Gonzalez of the University of California at Irvine tracked 36 office workers and found that the employees devoted an average of just 11 minutes to a project before the ping of an e-mail, the ring of the phone or a knock on the cubicle pulled them in another direction.

Once they were interrupted, it took, on average, 25 minutes to return to the original task, if they managed to do so at all that day, Time reports. Workers in the study were juggling an average of 12 projects apiece, a situation one subject described as ‘constant, multitasking craziness.’

The five biggest causes of interruption in descending order, according to Gloria Mark of the University of California, were: a colleague stopping by, worker being called away from the desk (or leaving voluntarily), arrival of new e-mail, worker doing another task on the computer and a phone call

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Attention Deficit? Conference Board Review article...

James Krohe, Jr wrote a great article about technology and its influence on productivity published in The Conference Board Review. He even quoted me in the article!

Here's the link.
What do you think?


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Into Tomorrow -with Dave Graveline

When it rains, it pours! I'm a guest for our national radio show "Into Tomorrow with Dave Graveline" this week, so please visit to listen in. We talked about how email habits can really get in the way of your productivity. Dave's a funster - it was a great interview.