Interruption Management
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Interruption Management

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Put Information to Work for You - Interruption Management

When I was researching information for my book Breathing Space, first published in 1990, I found that more information became newly available in a 24-hour period than a person could comfortably ingest in the next 80 years. By 2011, the acceleration of information generation meant that in less than a single second, more information became available than was ingestible in the next 80 years.

When you counted up all the television shows, radio broadcasts, magazines, newspapers, books, articles, signs, reports, blogs, and every bit of communication that became newly available within a one-second interval, at normal viewing or reading speeds, it would take an individual 80 years to consume it all at normal viewing, listening, and reading speeds. In the next second, another 80 years worth is generated and in the next, and the next, etc.

The reality of living in this millennium is that we cannot escape from information. It surrounds us and bombards us in every aspect of our professional and personal lives. If you own a mobile device, and most people now do, you’re connected to the rest of humanity as a result of a network of 16 million miles of fiber optic cable that span the globe with each cable simultaneously able to accommodate 10 million communications.

The challenge for each of us, everyday, and almost every moment has become to extract from the mountain of information we encounter the handful of vital bits of data we need and then assemble such information so that it leads to knowledge we can act upon and wisdom we can accumulate.

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Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Oh, the Noise! - Interruption Management

Sixteen years ago, the article “Noise Busters” by Richard and Joyce Wolkomir appeared in Smithsonian Magazine. From the authors:

“Nature quiet is now preserved in only 7% of Arizona’s Grand Canyon national park and nowhere in Hawaii’s volcano’s National Park.”

“Among city dwelling Americans, 87% are exposed to noise so loud it has the potential to degrade hearing capacity over time. But you will not necessarily find peace in the suburbs or countryside either, not with the on slot of leaf blowers, snow blowers, lawn mowers, chain saws, snow mobiles, power boats, and all terrain vehicles."

“Researchers have demonstrated that noise can raise your blood pressure and change your blood chemistry… Adrenaline levels can rise, indicating the imposition of stress.”

Noise is unwanted sound, derived from the Latin word for nausea. In 1960 there were no leaf blowers, no jet skis, no car alarms, and few snowmobiles. Noise on one side of the school has been shown to diminish some children’s test scores, compared with that of children on the other side of the school in a relatively noise-free zone, who otherwise have the same academic capabilities and demographic profile.

Do you want to do your best work? Get away from the noise.

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Monday, May 29, 2017

Dialects and Economy - Interruption Management

According to the New York Times, only about half of China's population can speak its national language, which is Mandarin. China’s 55 ethnic minorities, and the majority Han population, converse in a total of 1,599 dialects, most of them incomprehensible to Mandarin speakers.

With the bewildering array of information that cannot easily be conveyed, it might be a while still before China’s economy becomes all it could be.

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Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Notes from "The Power of Focus" - Interruption Management

Notes from The Power of Focus by Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, and Les Hewitt

        People who are busy all the time will never get anywhere in life if they lack focus. For such a short word focus packs power.

        * Steam rising from a boiling pot is unfocused. Steam surging through a turbine engine will propel vehicles. Light from a flame is unfocused. Light from a laser beam is so highly focused that it will cut steel. 

        * The unfocused in business or career might do well but frequently wonder if they are living up to their potential. They promise themselves that someday, it will be different. They stay busy doing things that seem urgent, but as time passes they don’t seem to get far. They might have good products or services but haven’t found ways to turn them into integrated systems that can bring large contracts or bigger deals.

        * Focus on personal identity – in 25 words or less, who are you as a person without using your name, address, age, gender, education credentials, social status, position, religious affiliation or nationality. 

    What do you value most? 
    What one thing do you worry about most? 
    What one thing do you talk about most? 
    Which of your talents have you developed most fully and rely on most often?
    What challenges do you find most appealing? 
    What are you most proud of? 
    What would you like to have done differently? 
    What are the three keys to your personal identity?

     * Focus on professional purpose – in 12 words or less exactly what do you do? 

    What is your guiding or controlling area in life? 
    What is your strategy for implementing that idea? 
    How would your staff describe your professional purpose? 
    What are your three greatest strengths, and how are you capitalizing on them?

     * Focus on your career vision – are you a calculated risk taker? 

    How does what you do all day square with how you see yourself? 
    What is your most vital role? 
    What is your secondary role? 
    What role do you want to play? 
    What is your career mission? 
    How do you know when you are accomplishing it?

     * Focus on your market – what is your unique niche in the market place? 
    What do you do better than anybody else? 
    Who are your customers, and what do they need given that you do better than anyone else? 
    What is their perception of value? 
    And of you?

     * Focus on your products – as an insider to your market, how can you capitalize on what you do to leverage to your differential advantage the unique customer needs?
     * Once you achieve focus in the five key areas, amazing things happen. You can constantly redirect your time, energy, talent, expertise and money from areas of low yield to high yield. You can systematically develop your most productive strengths and compensate for your most costly weaknesses. 

    You can qualify the results that you expect, and measure your performance hourly, daily, weekly, and annually. You can identify obstacles or problems and effectively attack them. You can identify the most productive ideas and go after the greatest opportunities. You can communicate clearly and persuasively with people who can help you achieve your goals. You can approach nearly every opportunity with complete confidence. You have a whole lot more fun at everything that you do.

    When you are in focus, your life takes on new clarity. Your mind focuses your thoughts, feelings, and actions to form a clear picture of who you are and where you are going. When you are focused you go far.

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Saturday, May 06, 2017

The Hazards of Noise - Interruption Management

The noise of modern life may affect "speech and language development" in the very young, according to a study that found the auditory parts of the brains of young mice are slower to organize properly in the presence of continuous sounds. Researchers at the University of California, San Francisco, reared a group of rats in an environment of continuous background noise and found that their brain circuits that receive and interpret sound did not develop at the same rate as animals that were raised in a quieter environment.

Edward F. Chang and Michael Merzenich, co-authors of the study appearing in the journal Science, said that the continuous noise delayed the organization of auditory neurons during a critical two- to three-week period after the rat pups were born. Although the rat is not a perfect model for what happens in humans, the authors note, the study does suggest that high levels of noise might affect some language learning in infants.

"These findings suggest that environmental noise, which is commonly present in contemporary child-rearing environments, can potentially contribute to auditory and language-related development delays," the authors write in Science. The authors noted that, although the brain development was delayed in rats exposed to the noise, “their brains did eventually mature normally.”

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Thursday, April 27, 2017

Disruption by Scores - Interruption Management

The NFL Red Zone Channel offers what it calls "showcasing" which means presenting all scoring or potential scoring moments of every active NFL game. This is exactly what stands don’t need!

Years ago, it was enough to see one game, and read about the rest in the sports page the next day. Then it was enough to have the "sports machine" with Washington DC's George Michael recap everything on Sunday night. Then it was enough to go to a sports bar and see a couple games on at the same time.

Now, expectations have gone through the roof. The ability to see every potential scoring opportunity as it’s occurring? -- I can only imagine what will happen to the health and well-being of the typical fan. After all, while they're watching others, it's not convenient to exercise, not to mention the level of disruption.

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Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Awareness Fatigue, National Distraction - Interruption Management

Kim Strassel, writing in the the Wall Street Journal a few years back, pointed out the fallacy of too many days and dates to keep in mind:

Chase Annual Events contains more than 12,000 entries and is more than 700 pages long. The book allows any sponsor of an event to send in an item and will publish, it free of charge, though it limits entries to those that are of national or broadly regional interest or that seem to have some special entertainment value. In one month, we find Listen to Your Inner Critic Month, Freedom From Bullies at Work Week, Create a Great Funeral Day, National Be Bald and Be Free Day, National Sarcastics Month and National She Loves God Week.

Awareness campaigns have become so commonplace these days that even presidents throw them about willy-nilly. Dozens of presidential proclamations abound ranging from National Safe Boating Week to Spirit of the ADA Month (celebrating the American With Disabilities Act) to National Day of Concern About Young People and Gun Violence.

The result of awareness-day fatigue is that some of the more serious groups -- those that had previously accomplished some charitable good with awareness days -- have thought about getting out.

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Jeff Davidson - Expert at Managing Interruption Overload

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Jeff Davidson: Bio

Managing Interruption Overload

Is the constant crushing burden of information and communication overload dragging you down, pulling you off course, and impeding your effectiveness? By the end of your workday, do you feel overworked, overwhelmed, stressed, and exhausted? Would you like to be more focused, productive, and competitive, while remaining balanced and in control?

If you're continually facing too many interruptions and too many demands, you need Breathing Space.


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