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Watch Out For Information Overload

ISM's 93rd Annual International Supply Management Conference

St. Louis, MO
May 2008


Paul D. Larson, Ph.D., Director, Transport Institute, University of Manitoba

If you have a nagging feeling you are being buried by information every day, you are probably right.

According to Paul D. Larson, who spoke at a workshop entitled: "Dealing with Information Overload: Tools and Techniques," the vast majority of supply management professionals lose a considerable amount of productivity each day due to this problem.

Among his findings from his research are the following points:

  • 56 percent of managers feel they get too much information;
  • People are spending as much as 20 percent of their workday reading and responding to e-mail;
  • The three biggest time-wasters are meetings; dealing with communication from others, and communicating to others;
  • Unnecessary interruptions take up 28 percent of a manager's day;
  • $588 billion is the annual cost due to interruptions
  • Information overload increased levels of stress to 92 percent of respondents in one study he did.

Larson's main advice to the audience was to give yourself a block of time in which you cannot be disturbed by e-mail, phone or other co-workers.

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