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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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Elections

America No More…

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After watching with over a hundred others the newly released movie, Civil War, I left the theater stunned, and I was not alone. Was it a good movie? Just a deeply unsettling one! Could it really happen? You don’t even want to imagine it! But with Biden’s assault on America continuing and Trump reemerging as the favored GOP candidate, the American division is growing. More and more citizens are getting angrier as their standard of living is in jeopardy and illegals are getting benefits citizens can only dream of.

Spoiling the movie’s plot is never appropriate, but when Western forces from Texas, Florida, and even California take on the elected President, the country is left in a civil war. We watch as desensitized media professionals cover the death of hundreds of American citizens. To the film’s media, the war is just a once-in-a-lifetime story that deserves to be captured one picture at a time. After all, it’s the media’s job. They are just feeding citizens what they want—blood, gore, winners, and victims. What would happen if America descends into such chaos? This movie provides one disturbing view, one that, God help us, must never happen.

One thing is clear, when a country loses trust in its leader’s ability to preserve their cherished freedoms and ensure equal treatment under the law, even insurrection seems somehow possible. That is a nightmare no American should have to entertain, but more and more Americans seem to be losing hope in the future of our country. They don’t trust elections. Many don’t even like the Presidential choices presented to them.

The Founding Fathers valued freedom enough to unleash a revolution against the greatest power at the time. Enough citizens joined them in securing what most at the time believed impossible, independence. Yes, insurrection hatched our beloved America. Belief in equal rights and freedom are powerful forces that have always driven patriotic Americans to action.


Even with our differences, most Americans believe in property rights, voting rights, law enforcement to keep us safe, freedom of speech, and personal responsibility. Unfortunately, more and more Americans feel these values are in question, and they are not sure America can be saved!

Many Americans no longer even believe that elections will produce a lawful winner. They don’t trust the voting machines. They want paper ballots that can be counted. They don’t believe multiple days are needed. Hasn’t one day of voting always been enough? They want required IDs and signed mail-in ballots. They fear ballot harvesting is just another name for ‘manufacturing” all the votes you need to ensure a fraudulent victory. Are American fair elections no more!

Many no longer believe that the enforcement of law is fair and sure. While former President Donald Trump has been charged with multiple “crimes,” President Joe Biden’s similar actions aren’t even charged. Hunter Biden’s influence peddling with money set aside for the “Big Guy” are not even covered in the mainstream media. The Dept. of Justice is quick to charge Trump, but with the Bidens, we hear nothing but crickets. People who commit crimes are being let go instead of being held accountable. Is American law and order no more!

Under President Trump, our border was finally more under control. Under Biden, his open border has been continually flooding our country with illegals from around the world. They come expecting benefits at the expense of taxpaying citizens. Illegals overwhelm services in our urban areas. Legal immigrants had to wait years to enter and are fuming at this invasion of illegals rushing to the front of the line and expecting to be accepted, supported, and allowed to become citizens. Is America’s secure border no more!

We thought in America, your home was your castle. If you work to buy the home of your dreams, you were sure that your property rights were secure in a community that you loved. But today, squatters are taking over vacant homes and fending off owners who want them to leave their property. Illegals are being told to come to America, find an empty home, and move in. In the name of equity, governments are rezoning the suburbs and requiring the building of low-income housing where it is not wanted. Are America’s property rights no more!

Do you believe America is lost? Do you believe nothing can reverse this march to chaos? Do you believe that it is time to buy your own guns to protect your family when the government won’t? Is a civil war coming? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, you are in danger of losing the optimistic attitude that has characterized Americans for two centuries. This is our country. This is not the time for surrender. It’s time to fight to preserve America the best way you can—vote for candidates who promise to preserve the rights you value most.

Your vote does matter. There are no perfect candidates, but the party positions make a difference in this critical election. If you want law and order, secure borders, fair elections, property rights, and a return to personal responsibility, there is only one party to support. Vote for every GOP candidate you are given the opportunity to support, or it may very well be America no more!

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News

Biden wants to tie Israel’s hands

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After Iran launched an extensive drone and missile attack against Israel, Iran’s president vowed to completely destroy Israel if it proceeds with a military response. In plain language, Israel is not allowed to react as any other country would after being attacked. That seems to be the opinion of many world leaders, including Joe Biden.

That’s like saying that the US had no right to retaliate after Japan’s attack on December 7th. This absurd policy applies only to Israel. If Iran launched missiles against the US, imagine what we would do in response. (Of course, with a wimp in the White House, there is a good chance that we would do nothing.)

On the evening of 13 April 2024, Iran launched hundreds of deadly missiles against various sites in Israel. Iran’s attack was presumably in retaliation for an Israeli strike on the Iranian consulate in Damascus. Israel’s justification for its attack is that the Iranian consulate has been the center for Iran’s terrorist activities throughout the Middle East. The consulate “did not have diplomatic immunity,” according to attorney Alan Dershowitz, “because it was not being used for diplomatic purposes; it was being used to plan military attacks against Israel.”

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With assistance from the US, the UK, neighboring Jordan and other nations, Israel successfully intercepted nearly all the missiles and drones. Despite the lack of damage, Iran’s intent clearly was to inflict serious harm. Iran underestimated Israel’s ability to defend itself. Now Iran’s president Ebrahim Raisi has vowed to completely destroy Israel if it proceeds with even the “tiniest invasion” of Iran.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country would be the one to decide whether and how to respond to the Iranian attack, brushing off calls for restraint. “The state of Israel will do whatever is necessary to defend itself,” Netanyahu said. “Everything is on the table right now,” said a source in the Israeli government. Israel possesses an impressive range of high-tech weaponry, including nuclear weapons and F35 fighter planes that can overwhelm Iran’s outmoded air force.

“Iran declared war on Israel by sending more than 300 bombs in Israel’s direction, aimed at civilian as well as military targets in Jerusalem and other locations,” said Alan Dershowitz. “As a matter of law and morality, Israel is entitled to respond to this act of war by overwhelming, even disproportionate, force against Iranian military targets.”

Biden has not supported Dershowitz’s argument. Instead, he has “sent a clear message to the mullahs that there would be no consequences for their rogue actions,” said Lisa Daftari, a leading Iranian-American expert. “What we are seeing is a manifestation of weak policies and the ayatollah’s correct read on American foreign policy.” Biden’s policy, said Yaakov Katz, a leading Israeli security expert, “does not work and the world’s strategy of diplomacy and sanctions is not effective. The world needs to shift gears and change the way it has tried to confront Iran.”

Former Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe agreed that the Biden administration’s tepid policy has emboldened Iran. “Joe Biden’s reaction to that hit in Damascus sent a message to Iran and to the rest of the world that the US was not with Israel, that the US was reluctant to support Israel on this. And I think that emboldened Iran. And as one of the former intelligence officials in Iran said to me, with friends like Joe Biden, Israel doesn’t need more enemies.”

Biden has warned Israel not to take action, said Alan Dershowitz. “Biden wants Israel simply to proclaim victory and not respond appropriately. This will only encourage Iran to take further military action against Israel either directly or through its numerous proxies,” Dershowitz warns. “If the [Iranian] regime felt endangered, it could attack Israel with its nuclear weapons, as it has threatened to do. That is an important reason why Iran’s potential nuclear arsenal should be destroyed before it can be deployed.”

“This is the time to act,” Dershowitz concludes. “Iran has provided Israel and the United States with a complete legal and moral justification for destroying its nuclear weapons program and for beginning the process toward regime change. If we do not act now, it may be too late.”

Ed Brodow is a conservative political commentator and author of two No. 1 Amazon Best Sellers, AMERICA ON ITS KNEES: The Cost of Replacing Trump with Biden, and THE WAR ON WHITES: How Hating White People Became the New National Sport.

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