Information overload is a lot like a disease, leaving people mentally exhausted and decreasing productivity in the workplace. People who get things done require focus and concentration for the task at hand. We all want our employees and team members to operate efficiently and to help our businesses succeed through their productivity – and yet we distract them with an endless onslaught of digital intruders like email, instant messaging, phone calls, texts, and social media alerts. When we are distracted, the possibility for error increases drastically, people feel more stress and productivity plummets. You can help treat the information overload disease and increase productivity in your office.
The Effect of Chronic Interruptions
The blinking notification in the corner of your screen signaling a new email, social media notification, or incoming instant message may seem like a productivity tool, but that interruption of only about 2.8 seconds doubles your risk for errors according to studies conducted at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory and Michigan State University. If you actually take the time to look at the incoming email or message and increase the interruption to 4.4 seconds – you triple your chances for making mistakes.
Not only will interruptions cause employees to make more mistakes, but it can actually decrease their intellect! Switching tasks rapidly can lower your IQ as much as 10 points. Each time you switch tasks, your brain needs time to figure out where you left off, which ends up slowing your performance by 50% or more according to psychology professor, David Meyer, at the University of Michigan. You may think multitasking is the solution to keeping up in today’s fast-paced world, but your brain actually has to switch back and forth between the tasks.
Business people receive an average of 109 emails per day. If your email automatically checks and alerts you every five minutes of incoming emails, you’re looking at the potential for 96 interruptions during an 8 hour work day. About 67% of business people report using texting for work purposes. People are answering messages from their desks, their cars, from the dinner table, and even from bed. It’s an onslaught of information and interruptions and it’s causing increased stress and decreased productivity.
The Cost of Interruptions and an MSP Marketing Opportunity
Business owners are not aware just how much time is lost to distractions and interruptions. If they knew and understood what the cost of these chronic interruptions was for their business, they would be more likely to seek out solutions. That’s where you come in! As a managed services provider or IT consultant, you can demonstrate how employee monitoring, web filtering, and firewalls can reduce interruptions and increase productivity for your clients. Use your MSP Marketing efforts to demonstrate how your technology solutions can save your clients money and increase productivity.
Tips for Reducing Information Overload and Distractions
If you are among the millions of American’s struggling with information overload and distractions in your own business, here’s what you can do to correct the situation:
- Stop multitasking. Don’t respond to messages or emails while on conference calls or in meetings.
- Turn off automatic email notifications and social media sites and schedule a block of time two or three times daily to check and respond to emails or social media instead.
- Start every work day with a no-intrusion block of time – two or three hours of concentrated work time where employees do not contact each other, phone calls go to voice mail, email is not checked, etc. Use this time to concentrate on an item from your to-do list.
- Write down your to-do list. Trying to keep a list of things you need to do is a strain on the brain! Write it down so you don’t have to use your energy remembering everything while you’re working on something else.