Just reading a piece by Linda Stone, who coined the term “continuous partial attention” to describe the state of today’s knowledge workers, regarding “email apnea”: the unconscious suspension of regular and steady breathing when you tackle your email.
There are even claims that the relentless cascade of information lowers people’s intelligence. We pay a high price as we struggle to deal with information of limited value.
A study by Microsoft found that once their work had been interrupted by email notification, people took, on average, 24 minutes to return to the suspended task.
The answer to this? In an ongoing knowledge sharing project for our largest community, a key element is to define and enhance the role of the Knowledge gatekeeper – the head of this ‘sharing/networking/communicating’ community. Its almost Zen-like. We have to let go of the need to know everything completely. Trust your community, and particularly the gatekeeper of a community to filter and flow the right things to you when you need to know them. It really is turning back the clock. We should no-longer feel we need to know and connect to everyone but have faith (a key word) that the community gatekeeper will guide the relevant content as and when its needed.