About six months ago, I posted here that Information Overload (IO) was going to become a pertinent topic for discussion this year as study of the problem would intensify. A recent Information Overload Conference (great link for the statistically inclined) in New York City hosted by Basex is evidence of the growing concern and discussion/search for solutions.
Observations started at YKM as early as September 2005 with Knowledgeworker interruptions (from email, text, land/cell calls, visits, et al). Basex is at the forefront of the issue with continual observations and regular reports in their weekly TechWatch newsletter.
The Information Overload link above is chock full of facts from the conference, but the research is showing some generalized results:
- It was reported that most interruptions are non urgent/important, but are treated as such (and we allow the interruption). This, and the time it takes to re-focus, represents 28% of the day.
- 25% of our time is spent productively in content creation (including email).
- We spend 20% of our time in meetings.
- 15% of the day is spent in searching for things.
- Thinking and reflecting (productively?) represents 12%.
Expect more research into IO. I have received some comments, and there are postings, that the $650 billion dollars in waste that Basex has estimated that interruptions cost the US economy is probably on the conservative side.
While Basex continues to dig into interruptions and email mis-use, research has and should continue to be done on some of these other areas of our day, including the productivity of meetings, search, and reflection.