Leadership tip #9: It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure

“It’s Not Information Overload. It’s Filter Failure” – Clay Shirky


With the Internet, we are exposed to much more information then ever. However,

we fail to set ourselves appropriate filters. In Singapore, we spend 2.2 hours a day

on social media, which ranks us the 15th in the world. Are these 2.2 hours well spent?

Or do we all need to filter our social media consumption more?


Information overload has a paralysing effect, launching us into a state of inaction.

In addition, we lose up to 80% of the knowledge within 48 hours if we do not put it

to practical use. Getting caught in looking for more and more information a productivity issue.


What can you do to say no?


#1: The first filter must be a conscious one: say “no” to Facebook & Co. Or at least: limit it to one (defined) time slot every day. And stick to it!


“A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention” – Herbert A. Simon


#2: Be aware of the communication flows that you are creating. Do you copy a lot of people on emails? Can you add an executive summary at the top of reports and extensive emails to save others’ time?


#3: Take some information detox time. When we’re in a state of overload, we’re not absorbing. Bundle your information consumption on, for instance, Friday afternoons. This not only allows you to be more creative during the rest of the week; it also allows you to truly prioritise what you should consume during the time you’ve reserved for reading. And most important of all: when you take time to consume, you are more likely to consider how you are going to put the information to practical use


MetaMind Pte Ltd, c/o WorkCentral, 190 Clemenceau Ave, #06–08, Singapore 239924

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