Posted by: healingtheworkplace | July 23, 2008

Are You Suffering From Information Fatigue Syndrome?

This disorder was first recognized in the 1990’s by a Dr. David Lewis who coined the term information fatigue syndrome.

Anyone out there suffering from information overload? Bogged down with the technology that is supposed to be helping you?

I remember when personal computers were first introduced (yes, I’m that old) and were hailed as a way to save time and reduce paperwork in the office.

This week I was working in an organization that is introducing a new computer system. The staff have been told they have to keep all the old paper files AND start entering data into the new computer program.

For the interim they have to enter the data twice. Everyone was busy before and now they have even more work to do! Not an uncommon scenario in most workplaces.

Add that to the fact that most people are expected to be available, if not 24/7, then for a good 8 to 10 hours a day and you have a recipe for stress and burnout.

And just like burnout, symptoms of information fatigue syndrome include the following:

  • increased anxiety
  • increased stress
  • sleeplessness
  • increased self-doubt in decision making (Do I have the right information? Do I have enough information? Have I backed up my information?)

Not only are many of us expected to keep up with the latest technology but we are overloaded with information from multiple sources…such as:

  • email
  • voice mail
  • meetings
  • faxes (does anyone use these anymore?)
  • internet
  • face book
  • blackberries
  • websites
  • blogs
  • have I missed any?

How many of you go on vacation and take your blackberry or laptop with you?

A close friend of mine went on vacation and took her blackberry. Of course she couldn’t resist reading her office emails (this was a gal who complained about being overworked).

She ended up responding to an email and getting embroiled in an argument with her boss which essentially ruined her vacation. Yes, she was at fault for taking her blackberry with her…but isn’t that the expectation?

Aren’t we supposed to be connected to work 24/7?

Speaking of being unable to leave the computer alone…it’s the middle of summer…time to turn off the blackberry and leave the pc at the office…

And go for a walk!




  1. […] overload and it’s overwhelming. Sometimes I wonder whether not I am suffering from “information fatigue.”  Wondering? No…I know I am. I don’t feel the extreme levels of anxiety or […]

  2. […] Are You Suffering From Information Fatigue Syndrome? July 2008 1 comment […]

  3. When I drive, I
    -Look at road signs-Listen to the motor and get car infos-Listen radio or CDs-Listen and look at the GPS-Get radar alarms-Get intrusive radio Highways alarms-Get phone calls and get remarks and advices from my wife. Hopefully Chidren are now on their own and dogs and cats rather calm…Is this not an exemple of potential info fatigue?

    • Hi! You make a good point. All of those things contribute to information overload and fatigue. I think that is why so many people are trying to find some quiet time each day…even 10 or 15 minutes can make a difference. Meditation is becoming very popular as a way of quieting the mind. Cheers, Lesley

  4. […] to your health.The International Stress Management Association’s David Lewis coined the phrase ‘Information Fatigue Syndrome’Psychologist Dr David Lewis states “We’re often seeing a failure of concentration. […]

  5. Hey there, I think your blog might be having browser compatibility issues.
    When I look at your website in Firefox, it looks fine
    but when opening in Internet Explorer, it has some overlapping.
    I just wanted to give you a quick heads up! Other then that, wonderful blog!

    • Hey there back! Thanks for the positive feedback and the heads up about “my” browser. I’ll check into it.

  6. […] being overwhelmed by competing demands for their attention. There is even a medical term for this: Information Fatigue Syndrome. With everything going on in everyone’s increasingly busy lives, carving out time to watch the […]

  7. […] I feel like I’m on another planet. Sometimes I wonder whether not I am suffering from “information fatigue.”  Wondering? No…I know I am. I don’t feel the extreme levels of anxiety or […]

  8. I think many of us are suffering from some form of information fatique. In fact one of the main reasons that people visit their GPs is because they lack energy.

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