Information Overload: How to Separate the Wheat from the Chaff
Posted 13 July 2016 by Stacey Papp
Summer is officially here, which means lots of people are planning to travel. The rub about going anywhere, however, is the getting there – and if you’re flying, you know that’s been becoming more and more of a pain in the … you-know-what these days.
Let us count the ways:
Airlines are seemingly trying to squeeze every last penny out of beleaguered fliers by making them pay dearly to pack more than a toothbrush and upgrade to a seat with more than six inches of leg room. Lines to get through airport security are growing ever longer as TSA budgets tighten, causing frustration in the best-case scenarios and resulting in missed flights in the worst. Meanwhile, airports continue to take pride in charging $15 for soggy sandwiches and changing gates at the last second.
After you’ve paid out the nose for your ticket and bag, gotten to the airport several hours early to avoid missing your flight, and camped out at the gate to be on top of any mumbled gate changes, you finally get on the plane. Now you’re trapped in a hunk of metal zooming through the air at 500 miles an hour – you and a few hundred of your closest buddies, wedged practically on top of each other.
And then it happens. The baby in row 8 starts to shriek. The octogenarian couple in row 10 begins a heated argument about who was supposed to remember the Imodium. The teenager in the row across from you decides to treat the whole plane to Beyoncé videos on her tablet with the sound on.
What do you do? You smile and whip out the new travel must-have: noise-canceling headphones. You plug them in, turn on music or a podcast, close your eyes and will the pilot to put the pedal to the metal. Noise-canceling headphones have been a game-changer for travelers, helping to make what can be a harrying experience just a little bit nicer by blocking out unnecessary sounds and enveloping you in only what you want to hear.
Imagine if you had something similar in the workplace – a way to sort out all the blather from the information you really need to know to effectively run the business. While we (unfortunately) don’t have magical headphones for this, there are other ways you can help ensure you’re getting and using only information that is helpful and necessary:
Listen to those you most trust.
Every owner and operator should have people (employees, relatives or friends) who can act as a sounding board and give unbiased advice without any BS.
Don’t forget to ask the customer.
While it’s true that customers are not always right
, on the whole, they are a useful, honest source of information on what you’re doing right and how you could improve.
Stay engaged with the market.
Not every news event will have an effect on your business, and you don’t need to attend every conference or seminar, but you should keep track of the goings-on in your particular niche and the market conditions that will affect you.
Learn from your mistakes.
The best source of information can be experience. For every decision you make, think back to similar situations and what you might have changed or done better. Was something affecting your judgment that made you act the way you did? Is the same factor involved now? How can you mitigate it?
Remember that technology is there to help. Fleet management software organizes all of the information that is constantly coming at you – customer records, invoices, schedules, quotes, etc. – in a way that makes sense.
It can keep you from devoting too much time to tasks that are mundane or less productive, like paperwork and invoicing, as well as the endless phone calls involved with scheduling a job – you don’t need to get on the horn with your entire team when you can schedule them and send all pertinent info with the click of a button.
Best of all, it can provide detailed reports on any aspect of your business with just what you want to know, helping to weed out the unnecessary details and helping you to focus on and analyze specific information.
Like noise-canceling headphones, the software travels with you easily via the web or in the form of an app. And while it won’t drown out the loud music your crew likes to play on jobsites, or muffle the arguments over whose turn it is to pick up the lunch order, it suppresses much of the white noise inevitable in every business by taking all the really important information and keeping it one place, making it searchable and accessible in just a few clicks of the mouse.
Have you taken a trip over to our Resource Center? Go ahead, check it out!
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