Today I came across an interesting paper on Infomania — the deadly combination of email overload and constant interruptions. It's a challenging piece, which really got me thinking about Infomania's impact in my work and personal life.
Written by Nathan Zeldes, David Sward and Sigal Louchheim, the paper describes the severe effects of Infomania on productivity and quality of life for knowledge workers, as well as its impact on businesses:
In this work, we show that this phenomenon places knowledge workers and managers worldwide in a chronic state of mental overload. It exacts a massive toll on employee productivity and causes significant personal harm, while organizations ultimately pay the price with extensive financial loss.
Lately, I've been much more aware of interruptions and how they work against my productivity. I've spent about a month setting up my new home office, trying to establish a regular work pattern after the move — It's been difficult. In this in-between state I can see how damaging interruptions can be.
Fortunately, my office and work patterns have now stabilized, and I'm eliminating interruptions and distractions. Even so, there are always temptations to allow interruptions to steal my focus.
Solving this problem would have a positive and immediate impact on organizational results, while restoring computer–based communications technology to its rightful role as promoter of personal and organizational effectiveness.
I have more recently felt the need to physically avoid my office on weekends and evenings. I just want to be somewhere else, so I can recharge for the next day's work.
It's not for a lack of loving what I do — design work, my clients, and the company I work for — there is something deep within me that yearns for separation.
Time away from the computer during the workday is refreshing. I'm fortunate that a large portion of my work is research, thinking and sketching with pencil and paper.
What about your situation?
Do you feel the pressure of Infomania at work, at home? Do you have established times away from technology for refreshment? Have a journal you can write, sketch and get away from technology in?
I recommend Reading the paper and pondering the evidence.