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Welcome to the age of information overload

Of all the tools we use in the modern office, few are the double-edged sword that e-mail has become. Once a method for quick and easy communication, e-mail has evolved into a time-consuming—but necessary—evil in today's workplace. In fact, the average user spends over 30% of his day creating, organizing, reading and responding to e-mail.

But it's not just overflowing inboxes that vex today's knowledge worker. Blogs and RSS feeds keep you constantly connected to the world at large. Social groups such as Facebook and LinkedIn keep you continually networking. Then there's the actual work you have to do. In fact, on average, you start doing something new every three minutes.

This is more than a busy day. This is information overload.

PC Magazine defines information overload as "too much information for one human being to absorb in an expanding world of people and technology. It comes from all sources including TV, newspapers and magazines as well as wanted and unwanted regular mail, e-mail and faxes."

Luckily, there's a new surge of interest in overcoming the e-mail avalanche and better equipping workers to handle this surplus of communication. From improved workplace practices to new communications tools, the e-mail mountain might just become a mole hill again.

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