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Foreword

Foreword

Before the World Wide Web, e-mail, faxes, cell phones—and even before personal computers, when photocopy machines were young—I went to graduate school to be a librarian, a Master of Library and Information Science. How naïve and arrogant that sounds now. Although I never worked in that profession, I now use the “information management” skills I learned then every day.

One of the most important things I learned about managing information was that knowing what you want and why you want it (i.e., what you will do with it) is far more useful than knowing everything. This remains true for us today, as we face the mountainous maze of information before us—veritable libraries of news, mail, reports, memos, messages, books, articles—all in multiple formats!

So you thought we were kidding—read another book to better manage information overload?! Why should you do it? Will this be worth it? I believe so, because what this is really about is the value of time—how you use it and what you get in return. We all want to know how we can get through that maze of stuff—data, information, junk, and gems—without wasting time and with something of value to show for the time we invest.

Your guide through this maze is Odette Pollar, consultant, trainer, author, speaker, and productivity-improvement specialist. Drawing on the latest research in the field, and her own formidable knowledge, she shares powerful truths and leads you through exercises designed to help you get the most for the time you spend sifting through, searching for, managing, and using information, in whatever form it comes to you.

The truths Odette tells are these—that most of us are confused and overloaded, that you often have to go slow to go fast, that some of those “timesaving” information tools don’t really save you time, that you have to stop and think about what’s really important for you to make the best decisions, and that multi-tasking really doesn’t work. (But you knew this all along!) The time you invest in the book’s exercises does “slow you down,” but just enough to think about what you’re actually doing, what you want to be doing, and about how to bridge the inevitable gap. Odette can help you find your own truth, the information that will be useful and important to you in your work and life.

So block your calendar, forward your phone (see, you’re learning already!), take a few deep breaths, and get started Surviving Information Overload.

Helen Argyres, MA, MLS

Manager of Employee Development

East Bay Municipal Utility District

Oakland, California

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