"Turn Them Off and See Who Complains..."
How many newsletters do you get in your inbox every day? How many emails do you get with an update on some issue or department or project? How many notifications do you get on your phone with the latest piece of “must-have” information?
Now, how many of them do you actually read?
One of the great benefits of the digital age is the availability of data and the ability to easily share that data.
In fact, we finally have the ability to harvest data across all aspects of our businesses or our world at large, and aggregate them up to see the big picture or drill down to get to the root of a specific issue that we might be grappling with. We also have never-before-seen ways to visualize massive amounts of data and news and then share it with a broad populace (however you define that).
In fact, whether it’s qualitative or quantitative, the issue we have these days is not so much the lack of data, but rather the lack of useful, meaningful insight - insight that we actually value.
“…that we actually value.”
That’s the real question: what do we actually value?
I’m not sure we’ve taken the time to ask that of ourselves - on many levels for sure, but certainly when it comes to our information intake.
In fact, we opt-in to all sorts of data sources and news groups, insert ourselves (or get inserted) into various distribution lists, and even request myriad report types, that our inboxes are brimming to the max.
Why? Do we need the information to be able to deliver our work? Is it a real desire for insight to drive our performance? Or is it FOMO, an insecurity in our position and status, a need for relevance?
The result either way is so much noise in the system that separating the wheat from the chaff becomes more than half the battle. We become information rich and insight poor. We become distracted in doing meaningful work as we try and keep up. Our attention spans are compromised as we flit from one notification to another.
Here’s an alternative: shut off everything and see what you miss.
(OK - not everything, identify those specific reports you actually need to directly do your job, to stay informed on your prime interest/influence areas at work. I guarantee you that’s not more than a handful of emails and reports and briefings.)
This is a spin off the old adage that plagues many corporations - the preponderance of system-generated reports coupled with all manner of distribution lists. Where the ability to produce and share a report is conflated with the actual need for it as well as who need to see it. (Hint: not everyone). Just because we can produce a report doesn’t mean we need to.
Similarly, just because we can get a report (or a newsletter or an email or be part of a distribution list) doesn’t mean we should get it.
So, shut them off for at least a few days, and see what happens. See who complains.
My guess is, you’ll be able to get on with what you actually need to do.
My guess is, you’ll be able to dive deeper into your goals and objectives and move the ball forward on your priorities.
My guess is, nothing will happen other than you’ll be able to focus on actually identifying the change you need to make.
And then getting on with it.