Stack of newspapersOne effect of living with so much electronic information is a continual state of information overload. It’s not possible to take it all in. There’s always more than you can cope with.

Managers today need to discern what is important and what’s not. The simple answer is to read everything, but that’s just not possible. And it gets worse. Information is only the start point. No one is paid to manage information. It’s what they do with it that counts.

When the information is processed, through thinking and reflection, it becomes knowledge, wisdom and insight. And these are the commodities that are highly prized in the commercial world.

Here are some stories to consider from today’s business headlines.

  • UK networks in crunch 4G meeting
  • ‘Flat year’ for UK house prices
  • UK economy ‘grew in last quarter’
  • JPMorgan sued over mortgage bonds
  • Boeing wins $6bn Brazilian order

If you read the articles, there is no question that you’d be more informed. But would you be any more valuable to your organisation?

The key is to ask yourself the question “why am I reading this?”

If you can’t make a convincing argument to read the article or report then stop reading and move on.

Someone once said that information overload is simply the failure of the filter system. Put in place a filter system that works for you and you will be amazed at how much time you can save to then use profitably.

If not, you may fall victim to this adaptation of an old saying: read, and weep!

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