How to manage information overload and get the most out of your life
This week’s PADI article on Managing Information Overload is written by Andrew Pankow, founder of the popular Australian Financial Service Network (AFSNET) website, which provides free financial and other information services for customers.
The AFSNET website has grown from a single site in 2004 to become the third-largest financial information provider in the country.
The PADi article, published today, highlights the importance of managing information overload, and also discusses some of the issues and concerns that have led to some of Australia’s largest financial centres to adopt more effective measures to manage this issue.
Pankow says it is a difficult problem to tackle, because information overload is often a result of a lack of knowledge about the relevant issues and the impact on the financial system.
“We know from experience that if you don’t understand the issues that are affecting your finances, you don the information that is being put in front of you,” he said.
“And that’s the biggest thing.
Because people who don’t know don’t have a sense of what is going on.
They don’t really understand the impact.”
The AFSnet website is currently undergoing a major upgrade, but many of its content is still inaccessible to many customers.
“The biggest problem is the fact that most people don’t actually understand what they’re being told,” Pankov said.
“They’re not aware of the impact of this, they’re not fully engaged.
So the amount of information that’s available on the site is simply overwhelming.”
There’s a lot of content that’s just a pile of data that’s all wrong, but most of that information is really, really wrong.
It’s just really hard to get the information out of people’s heads and they just don’t take the time to understand it.
“Pankov says many organisations have adopted the following approach: “We’ll do a bit of research on the topic and then we’ll try to put together some sort of plan to manage the information overload.””
We’ve got a team that we call the Information Assurance Team that we’ve got people who are in a very similar position to us.
They’re experts in their fields, they’ve worked in the financial sector before and have some experience in this sort of thing, and they’re here to do the best they can with what we’ve been given.””
They’ve had to do a lot in order to get all the information they need and what they need is to be able to do it, but we’ve had a good balance of people who have really got the experience to make sure that we’re doing everything that we can.
“Pankser said the AFSnetwork website was not always as effective as it could have been, and it was important to consider how the website was being used and managed to ensure it was serving all the customers that were accessing it.”
It’s really important that we make sure there’s a balance between those who are accessing it, and those who aren’t.””
We worked really hard, we worked really closely with the people that we had on the website.”
It’s really important that we make sure there’s a balance between those who are accessing it, and those who aren’t.
“The website uses a data-driven approach to manage content and information.”
Our approach is that we focus on the content and the people accessing it,” Pankser says.”
So if you’ve got something that you think is really important to a particular customer or a particular organisation, you’ll do your best to put that content into the site.
“The site uses a combination of automated and manual processes to ensure the content it is displaying is accurate, timely and relevant.”
Most people will find that the content that they see on the AFSA is really not as relevant as what they’d get from the website,” Pelser says, adding that there is no way to predict which content is going to be displayed and which will not.”
Because the website is really about giving the information you need, it’s very difficult to make a judgement about the quality of the information and so we’re not really sure whether it’s really accurate or if it’s just not very useful to people.
“Pats Panko, the Chief Executive of AFSA, says the AFSB has been using the site to make decisions on a regular basis to ensure its information is as relevant to all its customers as possible.”
People come to us for information and services, and we need to be sure that when they get the website they’re fully engaged,” she said.
Panks said the website has also helped to tackle the issue of fraud and the lack of financial literacy.”
For the first time in our history, we’ve actually been able to measure and report on fraud, which means that we are able to see it,” she says.