Last month’s Ariadne carried a great article on managing information overload: Being Wired or Being Tired. I think the whole time management thing has become amplified since I became a remote worker. The distractions have become bigger (that pile of washing, that DIY that needs doing) but there are also less useful distractions (coffee with colleagues, a lunch break!) so at times I start to feel like I’m handcuffed to my desk.
So here are Sarah Houghton-Jan’s ten techniques to manage the overload. The article is really worth reading.
- 1. General Organisational Techniques
- This suggests starting off by making an inventory of information received and the devices you use. You should then read up on dealing with information overload. Other ideas include thinking before sending (for emails and the like), you could always talk to someone face-to-face. You also need to schedule yourself, schedule unscheduled work and use your ‘down time’ to your benefit. Another key factor in being organised is staying tidy and keeping lists.
- 2. Filtering Information Received
- Weed out what matters, schedule unplugged times and encourage your team to do the same.
- 3. RSS Overload Techniques
- Only use rss when applicable, limit the number of feeds and organise the feeds you do use.
- 4. Interruptive Technology Overload Techniques
- Interruptions make us less effective so only use interruptive technology when appropriate and do not interrupt yourself
- 5. Phone Overload Techniques
- Again use the phone when appropriate, feel free to turn your mobile phone off or let it ring (a tricky one for people with children) and keep your number private. Remember Work = Work; Home = Home.
- 6. Email Overload Techniques
- Set aside time to do emails and clear your inbox. Filter and file messages, delete and archive. Limit the number of lists you join.
- 7. Print Media Overload Techniques
- Recycle it if you don’t need it and cancel unnecessary subscriptions
- 8. Multimedia Overload Techniques
- Be strict with yourself and limit television viewing
- 9. Social Network Overload Techniques
- Schedule time on your networks and pick a primary network to use.
- 10. Time and Stress Management
- Use your calendar, take regular breaks, eliminate stressful interruptions. If you need to look for time-management software to help. Make sure you balance your life and work.
Some great tips in there, I’m going to try a few…when I get time!