Jul 20, 2008

Top 10 online time wasters workplace productivity, an Internet safety solutions company, announced it has compiled the "Top 10 Online Time Wasters" that currently diminish employee productivity at the workplace.

"Surfing the web for personal reasons while at work continues to compromise the effectiveness of American workers", said Shane Kenny, President and COO of "Billions of dollars in lost productivity are the result, which is why courts are upholding employers’ rights to terminate employees for excessive web browsing. It’s important for everyone-companies and workers alike-to understand the drain that results from casual Web use."

See their list top 10 online time wasters.

Jul 11, 2008

Neurological effect of information overload

They are numerous studies to suggest that information overload makes us dumber: Persons exposed to excessive amounts of information are less productive, prone to make bad decisions, and risk suffering serious stress-related diseases.

University of London researcher Glenn Wilson showed in a 2005 study that people taking an IQ test while being interrupted by emails and phone calls performed an average of 10 points lower than the baseline group without those interruptions.

A frightening footnote to this study is that another test group had been tested after smoking marijuana, and they only performed an average of 4 points lower than the baseline group – from which one might reasonably conclude that persistent interruptions have a two-and-a-half times more detrimental effect on the brain than smoking marijuana.

Some studies have shown that sufferers of information overload:

* Suffer distraction, inner frenzy, and impatience.

* Have difficulty staying organized, setting priorities, and managing time.

* Become highly selective and ignore a large amount of information or give up and don’t go beyond the first results in many cases.

* Need more time to reach a decision.

* Procastinate.

* Make mistakes.

* Have difficulties in identifying the relationship between the details and the overall perspective.

* Waste time.


Jul 2, 2008

Lost in e-mail at workplace: Facing a self-made beast

Cellphone calls and e-mail and instant messages is fracturing attention spans and hurting productivity. It is a common complaint. But now the very companies that helped create the flood are trying to mop it up.

Some of the biggest technology firms are banding together to fight information overload.

Recently they formed a nonprofit group to study the problem, publicize it and devise ways to help workers cope with the digital deluge: Information Overload Research Group.

Their effort comes as statistical and anecdotal evidence mounts that the same technology tools that have led to improvements in productivity can be counterproductive if overused.

Many people readily recognize that they face continual interruption, but the emerging data on the scale of the problem may come as a surprise.

A typical information worker who sits at a computer all day turns to his e-mail program more than 50 times, and uses instant messaging 77 times, according to one measure by RescueTime, a company that analyzes computer habits.

The company, which draws its data from 40,000 people who have tracking software on their computers, found that on average the worker also stops at 40 Web sites over the course of the day.

Companies are also realizing that there is money to be made in helping people reduce their digital gluttony...

There is a vernacular forming around information overload. Silicon Valley denizens speak of “e-mail bankruptcy,” or getting so far behind in responding to e-mail messages that it becomes necessary to delete them all and start over.

Another relatively new term is “e-mail apnea,” which refers to the way that people, when struck by the volume of new messages in their in-boxes, unconsciously hold their breath.

But the problem, researchers say, is not just volume but also etiquette. Bad actors hit “reply all” on a message instead of responding to an individual, or forward jokes to big groups.

Some say the problem has a psychological dimension in that e-mail messages provide an insidious feedback loop.

See more on The New York Times.