How to navigate the high-tech world of information overload in a more efficient, less stressful manner.
In an age in which portable PDAs make people accessible around the clock, the deluge of e-mails, spreadsheets, text files, photos and video clips can overwhelm even the savviest technophile. Enter Hurst, a consultant who works to improve people’s productivity in the increasingly technological world. To avoid being controlled by bits, a catchall that covers all e-media, he argues that users must let some bits go. He offers several solutions, from simple to systematic, including reducing inbox counts to zero every day by responding to, deleting or moving e-mails to appropriate job folders; maintaining an online to-do list and not using e-mail for that task; cutting out visits to unnecessary or unhelpful websites; and maintaining a simple, two-level storage system for digital files. Many of the author’s solutions are obvious to anyone who regularly uses a computer. Others, however–such as creating macros and switching over to a Dvorak keyboard layout–are suggestions that may greatly increase efficiency for some users. Hurst demonstrates how he has put each of his suggestions into practice–both in his personal and business life–and persuasively argues that the changes have increased productivity and reduced stress. He also incorporates some geeky humor throughout, which keeps an otherwise dry narrative moving. As effective as some of Hurst’s suggestions may be, however, they are not magical fixes–it still falls to the user to implement them. Without the motivation to put these tips into practice, users will find themselves struggling in vain against digital overflow.
A practical guide to managing digital communication.