One of my friends dropped me an email yesterday asking:
If you had a top 7 tips list for managing the flood of digital information, what would it be?
Here it is:
- Write a blog. Of anything that I’ve done in the last 5 years, becoming habitual about writing a blog post almost daily has tremendously helped my information management. I no longer have a huge stack of “interesting” web links that I should / could / must look into sometime. It’s all on my blog. If I want it in the future, I just Google my blog to find out what I know.
- Don’t live in an email client. New messages are just “one form of input” (as David Allen likes to remind the world). Buy or build something for yourself that enables you to live from a list of projects and tasks.
- Look for the commonalities. Much of the guff that is written down is just a data point within a wider framework. Look for the commonalities within your area of focus, so that you can reason from general principles to particular situations. And if you already know something that you’re reading, stop.
- Read more deep stuff. The majority of press releases, blog posts and news items are “here today, gone tomorrow”. There’s a sense that “keeping up” is good for you, but not always. Commit some of your reading and learning time to more classical texts and books that have stood the test of time.
- Get to know the key people who flood you with digital information. Knowing where they’re coming from and from what mental models they view the world is tremendously helpful for understanding a specific item of digital information from them. If possible, do this in person or face-to-face.
- Build a personal knowledge management system. Build, use or maintain something that you can use to store articles, your analysis and critique thereof, and cross-references to other interesting and related items. Merely using Windows Explorer along with file name and date stamp is ABI (a bad idea).
Well that’s six. What would you put down as number seven?
Here’s some of the #7’s I’ve noted:
- Create a process and time box for different information sources, from Jack