Information overload

Information overload means so many tasks, issues, messages and things to remember that a situation is difficult to manage. The amount of information and material is constantly increasing, but the information you need can be difficult to find or unclear, incomplete or contradictory.

Tips for controlling information overload

These large amounts of messages and information are caused by wide ranges of sets of tasks, projects, things to be taken care of, and collaborative parties. Numerous IT tools also require information and memory. Information overload manifests differently in different jobs and at different workplaces. Problems arise when necessary and useful information and messages cannot be found among the unnecessary information, the memory becomes overloaded, and work tasks become more difficult. Does your workplace have multiple communication channels, floods of emails and many shared issues? Is information difficult to produce or use? Are you overloaded with information?

Why should information overload be managed?

It is important to control information overload, as studies show that together with poorly flowing communication, it is linked to stress. Information overload can manifest as errors in perception and memory, which expose workers to near-miss situations and accidents at work. Unclear and contradictory instructions and other uncertainties related to information create unnecessary friction in work because issues have to be checked and fixed. Inadequate information creates a false picture, thus complicating solutions to problems and distorting decision-making. This can have huge impacts on an organization’s operations. Working in the midst of information overload and ambiguities is not practical.

Download a room chart to help control information overload: