Information Addiction is Hard to Kick
It was not until I turned everything back on that I realized how big a problem I had. A few years ago I found myself struggling to make time to prepare some end-of-year performance reviews. As the deadline loomed I did something drastic, something I had not done in some time, I shut it all off; the Blackberry, the e-mail client, the news feeds, the instant messenger, I put the phone on do-not-disturb, I closed my office door.
The first half hour was agony. Although I refused to let myself start MS Outlook, the urge to clear a few e-mails was surprisingly strong. I thrashed to stay focused on the task at hand, and found myself agitated at being disconnected. Then something magic happened – I looked up and 2 hours had sped by. I had given my full attention to one important assignment. That was the day I realized the toll that information overload had taken on my performance. That was the day that I started to view information-overload as an addiction.
Technology is seductive and I had been seduced. Since then, I have paid more attention to my own behaviors, and decide more consciously when and how to leverage information as a productivity tool. It takes concerted effort to break old habits, and some days are better than others.