There is just too much information out there, and with the Internet, the amount of information continues to grow exponentially. An article in the New York Times discusses the problem of information overload and what tech companies plan to do about it.
Google, Intel, Microsoft, and IBM have gotten together and formed the Information Overload Research Group, which aims to study this problem, publish information, and find ways to solve it. Their focus is primarily around workers who are easily distracted by incoming emails. I must confess, I'm definitely one of them - Outlook's feature displaying snippets of each incoming email in the bottom corner of the screen is just so distracting, yet I can't make myself turn it off!
Some possible solutions, or at least steps in the right direction:
1. Check email less often
2. Send emails more frugally (I wish some of the listservs I am on would practice this)
3. Be sure to reply to only those who need to hear your response.
And some interesting statistics:
1. "A typical information worker who sits at a computer all day turns to his e-mail program more than 50 times and uses instant messaging 77 times" (really? only 50 times?)
2. "In the United States, more than $650 billion a year in productivity is lost because of unnecessary interruptions"