“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention.” ~ Herbert A. Simon
Every day, our brains process massive loads of information. From nonstop news and social media to client emails, proposals and contracts, the information overload seems inescapable. Just like computers with too many tabs open tend to run slower, we can also get bogged down. And just like computers, we are more prone to errors when there is too much going on.
So, how can you help your sales reps better comprehend and synthesize all the data that comes their way? According to Trish Sammer, a writer who contributes to the Atlassian blog, it comes down to organizing and prioritizing your flow of information so that you have what you need, when you need it without getting mired in extraneous information.
In this issue of Promotional Consultant Today, we share Sammer’s tips for managing information overload.
Create shareable digital buckets. Whether you use Trello, Asana, Google Drive or another tool, a great way to manage information overload is giving your sales reps a central place to share and find information. When everyone knows where to go for things like plans and status reports, you help free up their mind to work on the task at hand, says Sammer.
Establish focus time. Another way to get information overload under control is to set aside focused blocks of time. When your brain is distracted by the constant pings from Slack, texts and news alerts, you end up depleting your energy. Switching into focused work uses less energy. To help your team manage notifications, Sammer suggests using an app like Clockwise that integrates into the calendar to find periods of time for deep work.
Stay mindful about mindless scrolling. While you may intend to spend just a minute or two scanning a favorite news site or industry blog, you probably get sucked in for longer. That’s because web content is highly optimized to grab and keep attention, says Sammer. She likes to use a tool like Pocket that allows you to bookmark articles to read later. It’s a simple way to manage information overload and stay focused on the work in front of you.
Give the brain a different focus. You may encourage your sales reps to sign off at a certain time, but that doesn’t mean they’ll be able to do it. Instead of making unplugging a strict mandate, Sammer suggests giving your team something else to focus on. If you want them to unplug over the weekend, for example, challenge them to complete a home project or play a sport outside. These breaks give the brain a neural reset, which means everyone will be sharper and more productive at work.
Information can empower your team—or overwhelm it. To get ahead of information overload, it’s important to know how to manage the demands on your attention and time. Make it easy for your sales reps to share knowledge and find what they need. You can also use tools that help you track how you spend your time during the workday. Managing information requires commitment and patience, but it will help your team maximize their time and boost their productivity.
Compiled by Audrey Sellers
Source: Trish Sammer is the interim managing editor for Atlassian.