How much information do you get from Internet daily? And more importantly - do you want more of it… Or maybe less?
Less or more either - Internet users struggle for control over that incoming stream of stuff. No one wants to look at clock and realize he had wasted hour absolutely aimlessly. It’s good to look at clock and think how much you had done in that hour.
This post isn’t about magical software or online service to instantly make you information guru (I wish there was one). It’s about my coping with information stream and invitation to share your methods on same.
My favorite trick is to treat incoming information based not on its contents but on where it is at moment. Each place determines values and priorities of content inside.
Zone of RSS feeds
This is place where people complain most. RSS is pure content and it’s easy to lose nerve when you receive something that pure (without design and context to set a mood) in great quantities.
Most important thing here - you don’t have to read every single RSS item.
RSS is about what happened recently. It’s not about important things or urgent things. It’s about things that simply happened. For myself I define RSS as:
- high priority
- low value
There is a lot of stuff but as soon as you stop worrying about missing something it becomes very easy to scan and digest.
I scan through around two thousands items daily but few get further.
Zone of browser
Here things get more important. It’s already stuff that caught attention in RSS or important enough to justify daily visit. Using same scale I treat pages in browser as:
- moderate priority
- value must be determined
Most important thing here - determine value and act on it. If page sucks close it. If page is interesting read it. If page is life-altering - decide what to do with it. Good practice is having no opened pages when you are finished (leaving work, going to sleep, etc).
Usually I open and process around hundred pages a day.
Zone of bookmarks
This is place for stuff I really want to get back to. I define it as:
- low priority
- extremely high value
Most important thing here - purge crap from bookmarks and put serious information there.
It’s articles that I consider very important, software that I need to test, projects that I need to move forward, tweaks I need to implement in blog.
I process at most two-three bookmarked items per evening. Sometimes none.
Zone of email
I am not much of email user and it’s bit hard for me to handle these. Sticking to same system:
- extremely high priority
- totally unknown value
Mail can be anything - from important notice on project to spam. But it means something happened right now. It’s like cross between RSS and browser for me and it’s not really good combination to handle.
What’s your trick?
Well I hope that sitting down and writing this properly (it’s more of habit than something conscious for me) was of use.
How do you handle your information? Do you set rules on it? Do you not care as long as you get news fix? Tell me. :)