I said don’t read the article! Even though the title specifically says, “don’t read this,” you still clicked on this link. As a matter of fact, the title and picture probably even made you more compelled to spend your valuable time reading this.
One of the great things about having high speed internet at our fingertips is that we have access to seemingly unlimited resources and information. One of the problems is also that we have access to seemingly unlimited resources and information. What I mean is that it is easy to be overwhelmed by all the data constantly surrounding us. According to Mashable in one day, enough information is consumed by internet traffic to fill 168 million DVDs. Each day two million new blog posts (including this one) are written- that is enough posts to fill Time Magazine for 770 years. In addition 250 million photos are uploaded to Facebook and 864,000 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube. Want more of these crazy statistics? Check out the full Mashable article here. (But don’t get sucked in too long!)
Even if you start with the best intentions, it is easy to get sucked into a black hole of content. Maybe you begin your day with checking out the local headlines, then you see a related article that seems interesting, then a video pops up that can show you how to grow your businesses and 45 minutes later you are watching funny cat videos. Sound familiar?
As someone who loves learning I know firsthand that it is easy to convince yourself that reading that one extra article or viewing that one more training video or attending one more webinar will give you the coveted information you need to get the upper hand on your competition.
However, the truth is it isn’t more information that will give you a competitive edge, it is more action.
I finally had enough of the information black hole and decided to make a rule for myself. I could read an article or watch a video, but could not move to the next until I did some kind of productive action from it. For example, if I read an article on how having a complete LinkedIn profile was important, I would review my LinkedIn profile and make updates as suggested before I could read another. Same with videos or any other information consumption. This helped me really get full value out of each article or piece of information instead of just reading and quickly moving onto the next piece of content. If you find yourself getting lost in a sea of information, this might be a good tip for you to test out too. Here are two ideas to help you take action right away from this article:
– A similar kind of time suck of information can be the numerous subscription lists you need to sort through in your inbox. Checkout Unroll.me to see a full list of everything you are subscribed to and delete what you no longer need. I did this and found I could delete over 200 lists that I had added my name to over the past several years! The free program helped de-clutter my inbox and free up some extra time when sorting through email.
– Another app for you fellow information lovers is pocket which you can get for free here.You can put articles, video or other content into your pocket app from your web browser, email, phone or with hundreds of other apps. Basically, if you come across a cool piece of content, but don’t have time to check it out now the app stores it for you to view later. This is awesome if you don’t want to read something immediately, but don’t want to forget about it. Plus, you can always have a queue of content you want to check out on any device you want!
– Lastly, before you click onto another article, video or piece of content take action NOW!
Email me at email@example.com or comment below to let me know how you avoid the information black hole and strategies to balance learning with doing. Do you have any other apps or tricks that work for you?