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Chapter 17. Causes of information overload > Identifying important information

Identifying important information

Distinguishing important information from unimportant information can be a time-consuming process, which can be made easier by using the following process:

  • Check dates. Verify that the information you receive is still valid by checking the date it was sent to you or the date it was published. You might be able to disregard information because it has “expired.”

  • Consider the source. Check from whom you receive the information. This step is especially crucial when you find information on the Internet. You must make sure your source is reliable before acting on the information the source is providing.

  • Find the ultimate source. Make sure you know from whom the information is coming in the first place. By the time information reaches your desk or by the time you find information on the Internet, it might have already been filtered through several different sources. Finding the ultimate source of information can help you determine how valuable the information is to you.

  • Separate fact from opinion. Facts can be verified. For example, if you hear that overtime will now be mandatory for all employees, you can check the validity of that statement. You can determine whether mandatory overtime is actually a newly instated policy or whether it’s merely what someone thinks should happen. Opinion statements are much easier to disregard than factual statements because you might be able to disprove opinion statements because they might not be based on indisputable facts.


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