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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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Roe v. Wade: For America to recover some decency, its precedent must fall

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Roe
Photo credit: Mindy Olson P

When it comes to Roe v. Wade—and everything else—I am pro-choice. I believe everyone should be free to choose how they live their lives. But no one has the right to deny others their ability to choose. My body, my choice? Yes. Destroying another’s body inside yours? Absolutely not. Your choice is your choice. Their choice is to LIVE.

No one has the right to end another life in the name of choice or freedom or privacy or any other tortured word used to justify killing for convenience.

Birth control is for birth control. Abortion, by and large, is for consequence avoidance. Planned Parenthood is almost exclusively for profit. The Supreme Court is for interpreting the Constitution, not contorting it to create rights.

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If it overturns Roe v. Wade, the choice of restricting or allowing abortion returns to the states. If this happens, voters get to decide whether and how to allow abortion. It’s called democracy. Everyone’s free to choose, but all choices carry consequences. Children are blessings. If not for mothers AND fathers seeking abortions—for those who desperately want them.

Abortion restriction as punishment

As the Supreme Court hears oral arguments over the Mississippi abortion case, Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a common rallying cry of pro-choice activists is that any restriction on abortion is a “punishment on women.” The logic is that abortion is a natural “consequence” of unwanted pregnancy rather than pregnancy being the natural consequence of sex.

The truth is that Roe v. Wade creates absurd piles of profit for Planned Parenthood. PP pretends to be interested in women’s health, but provides only single-digit percentages of non-abortion services. According to their own 2019-2020 Annual Report, 96.9 percent of pregnant women use their services to get an abortion. 0.7 percent seek adoption referrals, and 2.4 percent go for prenatal care of any kind.

Planned Parenthood’s business model is reliant on abortion on demand and unfettered by red-state restrictions. This is why they deploy activists to rally during Supreme Court abortion cases and to vilify justice nominees like Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett. It’s also why they push empty arguments about why women need abortion access to ensure equity with men.

Their side’s opening arguments last week amounted to nothing more than you can’t take back what you already gave us with Roe v. Wade. They didn’t offer substantive logical or moral arguments because they have none.

I’d like to see the Court confronted by women (and men) who deal daily with post-abortion consequences like sadness, guilt, shame and emotional baggage that never truly goes away.

Speaking of stench

If this happened, perhaps even Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who recently questioned an unborn baby’s ability to feel pain and compared a fetus to a brain-dead patient, would see the issue through a passionate rather than political lens.

Justice Sotomayor also said that reversing landmark rulings that reinforce abortion rights would damage the court’s reputation. During arguments, she said, “Will this institution survive the stench that this creates in the public perception that the Constitution and its reading are just political acts? I don’t see how it is possible.”

How morally cloudy has this issue become? We have a staunchly liberal Supreme Court justice warning us about public perception regarding constitutionalism. A more essential question is this: How will America survive the stench of leading the world in killing its unborn in the name of freedom?

The Mississippi case is an opportunity to overturn a tenuous and tortured precedent set by activist justices. It’s also America’s chance to recover a shred of decency by de-nationalizing a barbaric and selfish stain on our national conscience.

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The Intolerant Left and Their Sign Charade

Having been sheltered for decades in the liberal mainstream media bubble, Liberal yard sign bearers have a twisted world view

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Drive through nearly any town in America, during an election season or not. You’ll see signs on front lawns or in picture windows proclaiming, “Hate has no home here,” “Science is real,” “Black lives matter,” “Love trumps hate,” “Love is the answer,” etc. On car bumpers you’ll see stickers proclaiming, “No hate in my state.”

These virtue-signalers are quick to post BLM signs, just so you know that they are sufficiently ‘woke.’ They fervently believe that all conservatives and anyone who voted for Trump are a hate-filled, despicable lot, who dislike immigrants, children, old people, dogs, and clean air.

Having been sheltered for decades in the liberal mainstream media bubble, these yard sign bearers have a twisted world view. For them, all news and information arrives heavily filtered through the New York Times, Washington Post, L.A. Times, Chicago Tribune, AP, Reuters, NPR, ABC, NBC, CBS, MSNBC, CNN, etc.

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Untold Looney Contentions

The Left erroneously espouses that President Trump hates immigrants, a contention that is simply wrong: Unlike Biden, he didn’t want endless floods of illegal immigrants arriving, especially when orchestrated by Leftist groups continually seeking to undermine U.S. sovereignty.

Under Biden, illegal immigrants storm our borders and overrun our facilities. Contrary to Leftist drivel, they account for a disproportionately high amount of crime. They jump ahead of people who’ve been waiting in line legally for months, or years, to become U.S. citizens.

The misguided Left contended that President Trump is an anti-Semite. This is ridiculous on its face, as Ivanka Trump Kushner, his politically prominent daughter, converted to Judaism to marry a Jew, and her three children – his three grandchildren – are all Jewish. Moreover, Trump’s support for Israel is unyielding.

While Biden is pure of heart to the Left, they would have you believe that Donald Trump is a racist who harms Black people. Yet, before he ran for president, he was honored on numerous occasions by the NAACP and other African-American groups. Amazingly, the nano-second he ran for president, that all changed!

Claiming Much, Knowing Little

The Left always knows best, even when they know little, which is most of the time. If members of the Left occasionally proceeded beyond the mainstream liberal media bubble, in which they are firmly ensconced, and read more widely, these cloistered folks might realize that it is Democrats, ‘progressives’, and liberals, in general, who promulgate most of the hate in society today.

‘Love trumps hate’ is a pleasant thought, and an intriguing notion. Thus, it is shameful that Leftists are so venomous. Here are a few items and issues, out of scores more, that many of those on the Left loath:

Individuals and group who disagree with them politically, acknowledging the rights of the unborn, fair and effective voter I.D. laws, acknowledging the cerebral differences between men and women, encountering acts of patriotism, free speech on campus (unless of course they agree with it), merit-based college acceptance,  anyone who does not conform to political ‘correctness,’ maintaining U.S. sovereignty via secure borders, and African Americans who deign not to be Democrats.

They also dislike anyone who is deeply religious except Muslims, news features about illegal immigrant crime, school vouchers, returning power to state and local school boards, anyone who runs for, or wins, office as a Republican or Libertarian, and seeing 20,000+ people at Trump rallies (peaceful protests), with thousands more outside who wanted to attend — when Biden drew 10 to 50 people, if that many.

Not Tolerant Compared to Conservatives

Pew researchers found that liberals actually are less tolerant than conservatives based on liberal’s tendency to “unfriend” or to stop following someone a social media site when their viewpoints are challenged.

“Roughly four-in-ten consistent liberals on Facebook (44%) indicated they have blocked or de-friended someone” because they “disagreed with something that person posted about politics.” Only “31% of consistent conservatives” and 26% of Facebook users overall have acted similarly.

Could their ingrained lack of tolerance be the driving force behind their constant virtue-signaling? Yup. Liberals seek to feign that within them intolerance reigns.

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