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Information Overload is the Product of Expectations Overload

by Tom Austin  |  October 13, 2010  |  Comments Off on Information Overload is the Product of Expectations Overload

If you’re not in control, you are out of control. Simple as that.

People who complain about having too much information to deal with have themselves to blame. (Or their boss which is really a reflection on their willingness to put up with information abuse.)

Set the right expectations and you’ll be fine.

If you get too many interrupts to be able to do the job at hand, shut off the source!

The mammalian central nervous system evolved to deal with huge numbers of inputs, prioritizing and attending to the most important. Standing on the edge of the savannah, we had to be constantly alert in search of prey and predators. Family — and the roaring fire in the mouth of the cave — provided comfort, safety and solace at night, providing you were inside the cave, not out.

Social tools are good to the extent that they can help prioritize, filter and selectively attend. If they’re just another stream of inputs, everyone of which you absolutely must deal with, you’re standing outside the cave, at night, with no way to get in.


[Turn OFF your iPhone/crackberry/etc from time to time, please!]

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Tom Austin
VP & Gartner Fellow
20 years at Gartner
41 years IT industry

Tom Austin, VP, has been a Gartner Fellow since 1997. He drives Gartner's research content incubator (the Maverick Program) and is leading a new research community creating research on the emerging era of smart machines. Read Full Bio

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