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Flourishing in an Era of Over-Communication

The future of business belongs to those who understand the importance of information and communication management

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We are confronted by staggering amounts of new information and communication every day. Career professionals in particular can be easily overwhelmed by the wealth of information which can lead to information anxiety.

We have access to a variety of information and communication tools, yet how do we narrow down tens of thousands of journals, magazines, newsletters, and blog posts at our disposal and manage information coming in?

How do we flourish amidst thousands of printed pages, not to mention millions of pages on the web, and hundreds of emails, phone calls and text messages?

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More Confusion

While we enjoy a growing capability to extract relevant information that supports our careers and our lives, most of what we encounter is of marginal value, at best, and often stands in the way of our goals and objectives.  We don’t have hours on end to contend with everything that competes for our attention; most days, it feels as if we don’t have sufficient time at all.

Fortunately, we can employ 10 strategies in a manner that will be productive and even enjoyable and fight that information overload:

  • Contemplate in advance the kind of information you seek.
  • Identify the vital information carriers.
  • Streamline your intake capability.
  • Beware of information crutches.
  • Establish a distribution system.
  • Be thoughtful when sending information.
  • Design responses.
  • Do away with paper.
  • Constantly review and update.
  • Acknowledge the benefits of remaining organized.

Contemplate in Advance the Kind of Information You Seek 

Have a reasonable idea of the type of information you want and need to gather. Such information encompasses news about your industry or profession; notable product and service developments; significant regulations and new legislation; client, customer, or consumer-related information; special applications; intelligence on competitors; and emerging trends and prospects.

Identify the Vital Information Carriers 

Identify the small number of key information sources, including publications, websites, blogs, and hard news sources, that cover what’s occurring in the field. You’ll really only need three to four sources; you’d be surprised at the amount of coverage overlap you’ll see.

Streamline Your Intake Capacity 

Once you recognize the kind of information you require and a handful of the best sources, you need to establish a methodical way of receiving, synthesizing, and applying such information that will benefit you, your team, and your organization.

Staying attuned to your goals and objectives and focusing on the kind of information that supports your efforts gives you the best chance to accomplish what you want. You might consider avoiding social networking, depending on your job functions. Your quest is to maintain a constant inflow of relevant information in as simple a manner as possible. Yes, on occasion you can give attention to peripheral issues. In general, however, focus on the information that will make a difference in your effectiveness.

Beware of Information Crutches 

Many people have a predisposition to collect and retain information that confirms what they already believe or know to be true. They don’t need to save such information; the practice is more like a reflex action. With the vast amounts of information on the Internet today and the power of search engines, it’s not necessary to hang on to much.

More vital is the ability to find what you need in a hurry, which often requires only a few keystrokes. Retaining piles and files of hard copy information is of diminishing value and can impede your effectiveness. Moreover, files and information that you retain for more than 18 months often can be deleted with no detrimental effects.

Establish a Distribution System 

As you rise in your career, don’t spend inordinate amounts of time gathering information. Much of what you seek can be identified, collected, and disseminated to you by junior staff. You can use them as information scouts and as a clipping service of sorts to pre-read for you.

Once freed from the constant task of identifying and assembling information, you’re better able to think conceptually in ways that will help to propel your team, division, or department forward. This is especially true when introducing a new product, service, or delivery system.

Be Thoughtful When Sending Information

Sometimes the staggering amounts of information is due to our lack of organizing guidelines. Such guidelines could otherwise spare us from unnecessary, excessive exposure to information that does not support our current challenges.

Learn to be more discriminating when exchanging information. Try to eliminate acronyms, abbreviations, and jargon that can lead to misunderstandings, and limit the length of your correspondence with others by including only what is necessary to know. Overwhelming our recipients with information is no more welcome to them than when they overwhelm us. We also must encourage one another to stop CCing and BCCing when it is not necessary, and avoid submitting “FYI” kinds of messages altogether.

Design Responses

Throughout the course of your workweek, you’ll receive many different types of requests. Many are routine, so you can automate your responses by using your email’s signature function. Most email software programs today support at least 20 different signatures. You can create and save signatures by category that enable you to respond promptly and effectively to customers and clients. The signatures that you’ve developed can also be personalized to address the particulars of a specific inquiry.

What kinds of signatures might you create in advance? Rosters, standard letters, product descriptions, service descriptions, price lists, background of your team or organization, credentials, organizational history—the more signatures you establish, the quicker and more productively you can answer questions from inquirers.

Do Away With Paper (When Practical) 

A variety of hard copy files and documents will need to be retained. Nevertheless, you can undertake a campaign to reduce the volume of paper you’re retaining, whether it’s in filing cabinets, desk drawers, or storage bins.

Evaluating each document you receive and consider whether it merits saving. Will a scanned version of said document suffice? If so, scan it and recycle the hard copy. Yes, scanning requires extra time and effort, but in the long run the payoff is more than worth it. When you effectively label each of the documents you’ve scanned, you enhance your ability to quickly locate them on your hard drive or online. Finding such e-documents is generally easier than finding the hard copy.

Constantly Review and Update 

Periodically review your documents. Is the information still relevant? Does it need to be combined with something else? Should it be reclassified? Your goal is to keep your holdings to a minimum.

Tackle only a handful of file folders at a time, so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Ask yourself, “What can be deleted? What should be merged? What can be extracted so that the few gems of wisdom crucial to my success can be applied as needed?” Think of this task with a project management hat on and take it step-by-step.

Acknowledge the Benefits of Remaining Organized 

Staying organized might make you anxious. Organizing is certainly not a glamorous task. Yet, in a world that overwhelms us with the volume of information and communication, becoming the master of your files, and maintaining them so they serve you, is more important than ever before. Information overload occurs when we let things pile up. The people who become adept at recognizing, gathering, retrieving, and applying the right information at the right time are valuable to their organizations and their teams.

The Future

The future of business will be dominated by ultra-productive executives who understand the importance of information and communication management.

Regardless of the obstacles they face, these adept information managers are capable of pointing their team or organization in the appropriate direction. Why? They have a well-developed ability to identify, assemble, and impart knowledge that they extract from information. Ultimately they can draw upon their knowledge to lead with wisdom.

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Jeff Davidson is the world's only holder of the title "The Work-Life Balance Expert®" as awarded by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. He is the premier thought leader on work-life balance, integration, and harmony. Jeff speaks to organizations that seek to enhance their overall productivity by improving the effectiveness of their people. He is the author of Breathing Space, Simpler Living, Dial it Down, and Everyday Project Management. Visit www.BreathingSpace.com for more information on Jeff's keynote speeches and seminars, including: Managing the Pace with Grace® * Achieving Work-Life Balance™ * Managing Information and Communication Overload®



 
 
 

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Six Dozen One-Sentence Tips on Reducing Stress

Under Biden, the nation’s stress level, collectively and individually, keeps ratcheting higher

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As we enter year three of the “Biden Administration,” enduring a clown who was installed, not elected, the nation’s stress level, collectively and individually, keeps ratcheting higher. As such, here are more than six dozen one-sentence tips on reducing stress for your edification:

Half the battle in alleviating stress is simply being aware of how you react to situations.
Let go of low level decisions.
It’s hard to feel stressed when you’re looking good.
You feel less stress if you allow yourself to be who you really are.

Take a break by helping someone else with their problems
To win the war on stress requires you only need small consistent steps.
Make your boss look good–he or she will appreciate it.
One good laugh can change your whole temperament.

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If a choice is of little consequence, let someone else choose.
Given enough time, people will usually apologize for blowing up at you undeservedly.
For most people, most of the time, most of the stress they encounter is self-induced.
Narrow your priorities and focus on what’s vital– the clock of your life is ticking.

Never make a promise you can’t keep.
If someone tells you to “take it easy,” heed the advice.
Give yourself quiet time throughout the day.
Sing in your car – it’s the best stress reducer when barreling down the highway.

Allow yourself five minutes to worry, then put the issues in the back of your mind.
Look for the best in others.
Screen your calls; you don’t have time to be available to everybody.
You always have the option of not answering the door.

Find ways to make yourself indispensable on the job.
Combat perfectionism because you are not perfect; nobody is.
It could always be worse; try to find the good points in everything.
Treat your children as full-fledged human beings.

Be true to yourself; don’t jump off a cliff simply because the lemmings are.
Build your life on a solid base, then don’t worry about the foundation.
Strive for objectivity.
Accept input and advice from trusted others.

Be conscious of what you say to yourself.
Compete with yourself, not others.
Challenge yourself to perform better than you have in the past.
Never mind the symptoms – get to the root causes of issues you face.

Avoid participating in the rumor mill.
Your instinct will often guide you – don’t be afraid to listen to it.
Don’t let juggling tasks become procrastination.
Take long, deep breaths whenever you choose to.

To feel more content be less concerned with what others think about you.
Move with a purpose.
Revenge is almost always counterproductive.
Delegate, delegate, delegate.

Open your mail over the wastebasket.
Laughter can lower your blood pressure.
When you’re under stress, sips of water can make you feel better.
For more energy, ignore the clock and go to bed when you’re tired.

You can’t use of all the promotions and bonus offers you encounter – so don’t worry about them.
Jumping into water changes your outlook.
Take responsibility for your mistakes rather than trying to assign blame.
The key to organization that works every time is grouping similar items together.

The hardest task is doing something different from the way you’ve always done it.
Let negative comments fall away like water off a duck’s back.
When you have trouble finding your way, step back and look at the big picture.
Look for the good in others and they’ll see the good in you.

Treat new employees with the same respect you show your CEO.
Let go of the excess and clutter in your life.
Avoid making decisions in anger.
Build enough slack into your schedule to deal with routine upsets.

Over-focusing on yourself leads to eye strain.
Step back and develop perspective – will you recall what’s bothering you, a month from now?
All else being equal, the better shape you’re in, the less stressed you’ll experience.
Learn from your mistakes or prepare to repeat them.

There is nothing so stressful as attempting to be someone you are not.
Be on the lookout for distraction-free sanctuaries, wherever they are.
Challenge yourself to make small improvements daily, and big ones will follow.
The best results often show up a day or two after you thought they would.

Regard each stressful experience as an opportunity to learn.
You cannot change the past but you can always learn from it.
Use the stairs instead of the elevator.
There’s always more to learn, so enjoy the process.

The natural state of human beings is alertness, health, and mental clarity.
Boil it down – get to the essence of things.
Acknowledge the accomplishments of others; everyone seeks acknowledgment.
Despite it all, maintain your ethical standards.

Give your complete and undivided attention to one task at a time.
Have fun with new ways of doing things – don’t let your habits become ingrained.
Practice the art of doing one thing at a time .

 

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Leftist ‘Journalists’ and Media Outlets: Quite Far From Impartial and Objective

The Left grants free passes to Joe Biden for his legions of treasonous, immoral, and illegal transgressions.

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Hollywood loves to portray leftist media outlets, newspapers, and journalists as fair and impartial. Indeed, there is no other way that these institutions and such individuals have been portrayed, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary. A recent example is the movie She Said, which is the latest in a long line of productions that extol the virtues of one of the nation’s oldest newspapers, the New York Times.

Starring Carey Mulligan, Zoe Kavan, Patricia Clarkson, Andre Braugher, and Ashley Judd, as herself, She Said is a story about the New York Times investigation of Harvey Weinstein. Some of the heartfelt testimony of the people the reporters interviewed are quite touching. Yet, the movie oversells the impact of the Times reporting. Investigative reporter Ronan Farrow had already published a major, professional, factual expose on Weinstein in the New Yorker.

Impartial, Caring, Concerned People?

She Said goes out of its way to present the New York Times editorial staff as carefully line-editing stories, and as impartial, caring, concerned people, interested only in truth and in getting articles right before publishing them. A major case in point is how veteran actor Andre Braugher portrays Dean Baquet, who served as the executive editor of Times from May 2014 to June 2022. Baquet is depicted as the voice of reason, proceeding with calm, cool clarity.

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In reality, Baquet is one of the major players on earth who kept the now thoroughly-debunked ‘Trump Collusion with Russia’ hoax alive and along with Adam Schiff did major damage to this country. For three years, and without evidence, pretty much daily the Times falsely claimed that Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russia to steal the 2016 election.

The hopelessly biased Baquet decided to switch gears after the Mueller Report imploded. At Baquet’s direction, the Times would shift its focus of its coverage from the ‘Trump-Russia affair’ to the president’s ‘alleged racism.’

Not a Journalist, in Any Way

“We built our newsroom to cover one story, and we did it truly well,” Baquet said, rather proudly, apparently grossly unaware of the historically profound idiocy of his statement. “Now we have to regroup, and shift resources and emphasis to take on a different story.” A truthful story?

Through daily erroneous reporting, the ‘newspaper of record’ would now seek to expose ‘the racism’ of President Trump, which, to this day, it has not proven.

Baquet is not a journalist in any sense of the word; not even close. He is a shill of the Democrat party; what Vladimir Lenin termed a ‘useful idiot.’ Keep this in mind as you watch this otherwise engaging movie, and then ask yourself this: Where is the Times in relation to Joe Biden?

Baquet remained in his post for the first 17 months of the Biden administration. While the Times and the Left in general are perpetually eager to identify, dissect, catalog, and endlessly detail the faults of Donald Trump (real, imagined, or most concocted out of whole cloth), they deny or downplay a mountain of misdeeds by Joe Biden, as they also did with Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Hillary Clinton.

Lifetime Free Passes

Many pundits now exclaim that to block Biden from running in 2024, the Times and the leftist media machine in general have now turned on him. The current classified documents scandal aside, the Left grants free passes to Joe Biden for the legions of transgressions in his life. They overlook or downplay that he cheated in college, cheated in previous political campaigns, is a serial liar, and worse. All of this well-documented. They ignore, contort, or censor news that he has made legions of racist statements for his whole political career; e.g., “If you have a problem figuring out whether you’re for me or Trump, then you ain’t black.”

The Left belittles or ignores Tara Reade’s quite credible sexual assault accusation against Joe Biden, and that of seven other women, as well. They pretend that Creepy Uncle Joe does not have a fetish for sniffing little girls’ hair. They pretend that Biden does not constantly invade the personal space of females.

The Left ignores solid reporting and extensive documentation indicating the Biden family received millions of dollars via influence peddling to Communist China, as well as from Kazakhstan, Romania, Russia, and, above all, Ukraine. They will never acknowledge that Biden is an enabler for both his brother James and his son Hunter, and that Biden is credibly accused of selling out the U.S. They excuse the multiple batches of classified documents found recently in Biden’s domains.

Above it All

The Left especially avoids referring to any signs that Biden is suffering from ever-worsening dementia, despite his numerous mental lapses on the world stage.

In short, prior to the ever-growing classified documents scandal, leftist journalists and media outlets, constantly demonstrated how far they are from being impartial and objective. They had, defacto, deemed Democrat Joe Biden to be above the law, and now are actively undermining his continuing political aspirations.

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