This Chart Shows That Information Overload At Work Is Literally Hurting Our Brains

The above clip is from the show Portlandia. Like many of us, Fred Armisen has found himself in a technology loop. He has so many different sources of information and communication that he literally can’t get anything done so he just constantly finds himself in a loop. We live in an age of information overload. Just constant. We’ve reached a point where the channels through which news and information are delivered are almost limitless: email newsletters, live online content, web cams, constant streaming, instant messaging, RSS feeds, Twitter, etc. We have immediate access to everything. The world’s knowledge is literally at our fingertips. But what does this mean in terms of work productivity? Nothing very good.

According to a study by LexisNexis, 57% of U.S. workers say that since the economic downturn, the amount of information they have to process has significantly increased. Another 73% report that search engines give them access to huge amounts of information but don’t help them prioritize their work. And even when workers aren’t sifting through search results, they’re under a barrage of other information competing for their attention. News and updates are constantly pushed to workers over the Internet, whether they like it or not. A study at Temple University found too much information leads people to make stupid mistakes and bad choices due to a drop in activity in the dorsolateral PFC region of the brain. The study also found that “the brain’s emotion regions — previously held in check by the dorsolateral PFC — run as wild as toddlers on a sugar high,” causing anxiety and frustration.

Plus, it is actually cost us millions. It’s great that we can watch the Season 5 Cosby Show intro whenever we want but it is not helping us get our work done. Interruptions caused by information overload cost U.S. companies $650 billion a year. As we reported in December, time spent searching futilely on the Internet for information costs British companies more than £1,200 per employee and approximately two weeks of time a year.

This is why we are featuring this awesome “Reigning in the Information Deluge” infographic from Mindjet depicting all this information overload in fun, visual form. Look at your braining literally burning because of information overload! But luckily it provides some helpful tactics as well so you don’t find yourself in a mind loop as well, like Fred Armisen on Portlandia.

 

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