Set parameters to avoid an overload.
The information age has spawned its own problem: information overload. Wes Kasbaum, president of Priority Management Systems, an organizational skills training franchise in Oklahoma City, offers these tips for managing today's information flood:
- Schedule time to deal with incoming information. Kasbaum recommends setting aside time in the morning and afternoon to deal with your paper mail, e-mail and voice messages.
- Keep your files thin. Don't retain copies of minutes, reports and correspondence if someone else in the office has a copy. Note a throw-out date on all paperwork before filing so it can be regularly cleaned out.
- Set up a central location for maintaining reports and other research. It's not necessary for everyone in the organization to have a copy in their offices.
- Purge your flow of inbound information. For one month, track every report, subscription and memo distribution list you are on. At the end of the month, go through the list and decide what you need to continue receiving, what should be discontinued and what should be routed to someone else.
- Set policies to control duplication. Instruct employees to send material only to the appropriate people. Resist duplicating communications unless it's absolutely necessary. Finally, keep your communications brief and to-the-point, and be sure everyone in your organization follows your example.