Posts from August 2007.

WSJ: It’s Time to Stand Up to Your Email

Now the Wall Street Journal has got an article running on email overload.  This one’s a hodgepodge of suggestions from the likes of David Allen, Merlin Mann and Mike Song (among others).  I like this tip from Julie Morgenstern:

Another idea, if your job allows it: Ignore your in-box for the first
hour every morning, instead focusing on an important project. "Once you
open the email there are a million and one interruptions," Ms.
Morgenstern adds. "It’s very hard to settle your mind down and

Read more for the usual tips on email effectiveness,

How little bits of information are costing Intel a billion dollars a year

Intel recently had their analysis of Infomania (“the mental state of continuous stress and distraction caused by the combination of queued messaging overload and incessant interruptions”) published at The paper, Infomania: Why we can’t afford to ignore it any longer, is aptly titled; it shows that Intel stands to save almost a billion dollars annually by overcoming the inefficiencies due to information overload: 

The bottom line: Infomania causes a damage of about US$1 billion per annum for a knowledge–intensive company of 50,000 employees. As usual with such calculations, this value is conservative, representing only more direct aspects of the problem. Additional, harder to measure damages exist but are not included.”

The paper hints that the calculation above, based almost solely on measurable employee efficiency losses, may only be the tip of the iceberg. The group also found that information overload had a very tangible, negative impact on intellectual property generation, work quality and employee satisfaction. For example: 

“It is critical to understand this huge impact: because of Infomania, employees are not creating new ideas to the extent they could. New, significant inventions remain un–invented. Better solutions to major problems that may be hobbling an organization’s performance toward its goals are left undiscovered. The engineer who could have the “Aha!” insight leading to the next major product innovation is trying to find 30 minutes to think about it, and failing. The supervisor who could double a fabrication line’s efficiency can’t because they are nearly brain dead from staying up until one AM working on e–mail. Across the industry, knowledge workers and managers are thinking less, inventing less, producing less, succeeding less.”

If you think that your organization suffers from these same issues, please forward this paper to a technology buyer at your company and let them know how IMS Pro has helped you get on top of email and become more efficient. Send them my email address (brad at clearcontext dot com) and let them know that we would be happy to help them understand the scope of this issue and the solutions out there to help combat it. Thanks! 

A final note – I found this via the IT@Intel blog. If you’re interested in the solutions they are implementing to solve the problem outlined in this paper, see

The Times: E-mail stress keeps workers on edge of Inbox

The Times reports on research that found that 61% of workers felt “stressed” or “driven” by email.  The money quote from this article:

“E-mail is the thing that now causes us the most problems in our working lives.  It’s an amazing tool but it’s got out of hand.”

Somebody please tell these guys how IMS Pro can help!  Thanks to Mike Koehler for the pointer.

NBC: Is your e-mail inbox out of control?


NBC Nightly news ran a piece last night on email overload.  From their website:

“As our society becomes more and more dependent on e-mail and text messaging, it’s easy for all that communication to get out of control.  NBC’s John Yang reports on how some people are coping.”

Andrew Baron is featured in in the interview and is in the process of declaring email bankruptcy, but says he hasn’t figured out what he’s going to do to manage email more efficiently going forward.  Sorry we can’t help you out, Andrew, but IMS Pro isn’t available for OS X yet.  In the meantime, check out our tips for handling Email Overload.