Coping with the flood of information

Coping with the flood of information 19.09.2017 - In Project management it is of the utmost importance to be well informed of current project developments, in order to lead a project to success. Information is therefore a fundamentally important basis forProject management. Over the last few years, the distribution and exchange of information has increasingly been taking place in digital formats, however traditional types of information exchange, such as telephone calls, letters and plans have not become obsolete. By means of the new media and methods, many things have been simplified, however, it has also been observed that the abundance of information has increased as, for example, it is very easy to send information via email to a large number of people. Every day, Project managers receive unending amounts of information of various kinds by means of the most diverse channels. Therefore, it is important to have a system that allows you to differentiate between important and unimportant information and thereby maintain an overview. 

The flood of information in Project management

In addition to the innumerable emails that a Project manager receives every day, there are also plans, dossiers, telephone calls and appointments, which are to be acknowledged and processed. In addition to business matters, of course, you also receive information that is of personal interest to you, such as news from friends, the opinions of colleagues, newsletters, news about politics and society, which can be found on the Internet or on the radio. To speak of a flood of information is by no means an exaggeration. Several times a week, every overloaded Project manager undertakes not to be distracted by irrelevant information, not to surf so much on the Internet, or simply to ignore different messages - however this is easier said than done. It is easy to get caught up with a link from an appealing newsletter or stay a little longer on the phone than was actually allowed for in the schedule.

Working free of stress and efficiently

Various studies have shown that when under stress, the human brain turns to what it is familiar with. The brain of someone who is constantly stressed at work, tends to search for familiar structures.

A brain that is overloaded, thinks in familiar ways, which for a Project manager in the long term  is not advantageous. For this reason alone, Project managers should pay particular attention to letting their brain have a break from time to time in order to remain flexible and efficient. Only a rested brain can make balanced and well thought-out decisions gathering and evaluating all information appropriately. Those who are under stress, according to a study conducted by Manager magazine, are more likely to make decisions that correspond to familiar structures and unconsciously push aside innovations and unknown things. This however is not desirable for an ambitious Project manager, as in Project management all aspects must be considered, especially those that are out of the ordinary and new. In order to avoid stress, not only breaks are important, but also adequate light in the workplace, fresh air, balanced nutrition and above all a sufficient supply of liquids create the best conditions.

Filter and manage information

In order to manage and process the information that we are bombarded with every day without missing important details, some tricks are needed. After all, it is almost impossible to read, evaluate and answer all emails and then carry out the really important activities.
How should information be dealt with then? When time is short, the information that is not relevant and which does not serve the project should be deleted. If an email can be deleted harmlessly, then it should be done. For emails and calls which contain a task that can not be deferred, the first question must be: Can it be delegated and to whom?
As far as the storage of emails and documents is concerned, the question should be asked whether there is a reason to keep the information. Does a law dictate that it must be kept? Will I be asked about it maybe in a year’s time? If not, then such emails and documents can also disappear.
Then, all the important tasks remain which you have to deal with yourself. Anything that can be done within a few minutes should be done immediately. Whoever follows this rule, has to memorise considerably fewer tasks, does not have to write them down and does not have to add them to long lists. Tasks that can not be dealt with immediately should end up on a to-do list, regardless of its format, in order to avoid the danger of forgetting them. It is best, and also polite, to send a short reply to the sender of such an inquiry, in which the person is informed of when the task will be dealt with or that its completion may take a little more time.

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