Members of the evok account strategy and public relations teams recently attended the HIMSS Conference (Healthcare Information Management Systems Society) where 34,000+ professionals convened to discuss Health Care Management through information technology and management systems. Talk among exhibitors included Big Data warehousing on the cloud, real time records, risk management and predictive modeling; while others were focusing on patient engagement, health information exchange and the best way to manage healthcare records across all platforms.

Information overload is a problem many face every day in the business world. According to Baydin, an email management service, the average email user receives 147 emails a day and deletes 48%. Many have to sort through hundreds of emails weekly or even daily and quickly decide what includes valuable information needed right away, or what should be tabled for a later, more in depth read all while concurrently juggling multiple tasks. It is important to able to break down information in manageable bite-size chunks. People have a thirst for knowledge, and a large part of information overload has to do with a person’s inability to filter and decide what is important and what is not. The tips below should assist in streamlining the process through which you receive information and manage the intake effectively.

  • Control when you receive information. Turn off your email and cell phones until you are ready to receive calls, texts, RSS feeds and Facebook updates. Constant communication can cause distractions from important tasks (or company) at hand.
  • Speed read and break apart information by skimming data. Decide quickly whether you need to keep and file the information or discard it. If you are interested in monitoring what people are saying about a specific industry, sign up for HootSuite. It is a free online service that not only assists in managing social media, but also allows you to track industry conversations at a glance.
  • Be discriminant in joining newsletters, Google alerts and RSS feeds. RSS feeds are a great way to manage information, but filter what is most relevant and remove the others from your feed. Hubspot stated that people are 12x more likely to sign up for a newsletter than an RSS feed. We recommend that you do everything in moderation to help manage the flow of information.
  • Manage your email and data by sorting and categorizing the information. Try color-coding emails from people you communicate with regularly so that when you receive emails you can mentally sort them by importance, or know that it does or doesn’t need your immediate attention at first glance without having to open the email and get sidetracked. It may help with greatly improving your productivity.
  • Apply the 80/20 rule. Allocate 20% of your time to dedicated information consumption and 80% solely towards work and results.
  • Unplug from technology. It’s beneficial to give your mind time to rest and recharge from time to time. Consider blocking out time on your calendar where you can work without being interrupted.

Are you contributing to information overload? Give in-depth thought to how often you forward unnecessary jokes, comments, emails and most importantly how you and your coworkers utilize the “reply all” button.

Quality over quantity – in the grand scheme of productivity, it isn’t all about how much work you can get done; it’s about the depth of the relationships you build.