Info Overload? Feeling like there is no way to keep up with everything going on around you? This is the age of speed and the average Joe (and Jane) have been empowered through blogging and social media to deliver news even faster than many mainstream media like radio and T.V. That means that news and other very valuable information is now available from tens of thousands of sources which update all day, every day. Keeping track of blogs you read, news, Twitter, Facebook, forums… yeah, it can be difficult.
So what can you do about it?
First, realize that you can’t keep up with all of it. But you can create your own system for getting the most out of all the available information.
Second, organize. I subscribe to 50 or so feeds (which is probably a relatively small number compared to many of my friends) so one day of not checking my RSS feed and I’ve suddenly got hundreds of possible articles to read. The cool thing about Google Reader which I use with a pro subscription to Feed Burner is that you can organize your info so that it comes to you in a form you can digest. I’ll skim headlines until I see something I like. If I notice I’m not reading a particular feed ever, I may just cancel the feed. Use a feed reader if you don’t already have one.
Third, prioritize. I’ve got a list of at least 30 books I want to read, I’ve got my RSS feeds, Twitter account (@rbrianforrester), Facebook, Foursquare and I’ve got my educational research…all of this is constantly happening. So prioritization is key. Make a list of how what you want to get done, and factor in your reading time throughout the day. Find your favorite blogs that deliver the best content, and put those higher on the list. The key is to make sure you absorb the information that is most important to you, without worrying about missing out on something.
Get a system for organization. Preferably one that works across platforms and projects. I’ve been recommended a little service called Evernote which has been working out great for me. It syncs with my phone, my desktop and online so I can access my lists and ideas from anywhere.
Got any tools that you use to stay organized in the ever-clutter digital world? Feel free to share them with me.