Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Information Overload, Part I

Too much information~ Runnin’ through my brain~ Too much information~ Drivin’ me insane~
--The Police, Too Much Information

The best thing about the Information Age is that there is SO MUCH STUFF!! If you’re like me and you love STUFF, it’s a veritable gold mine.

The worst thing about the Information Age? SO MUCH STUFF!!

As evidenced by my Friday link posts, I spend a lot of time following links from Twitter, Facebook, blogs, etc., looking for nuggets of Useful Information. Some of the stuff I find is great—it jumpstarts ideas, clarifies problems, helps me get my procrastinating rear end on a better path. But a lot of it is just crap.

For a while, I was sifting through blog posts and printing out everything that looked marginally interesting, then putting it in a pile. I’d read it later, I figured, and find all the wonderful nuggets of wonderfulness contained therein.

Well. That produced a really big pile of paper. So I tried a different approach.


I like Staples. I got there a lot, and I come out with notebooks, pens, folders, binders, sticky notes…it’s a sickness. But I was looking at my pile of papers, then at the bag full of folders I’d just come home with from Staples, and I had a thought.

I sorted the papers into piles according to subject: Blogging, Social Media, Writing Tips, etc. Then I punched holes in them and put them into folders. (These are the 3-hole punch folders with the metal tabs in the middle, so when you’re done you have a sort of compilation rather than a bunch of loose papers in a folder.) Sometimes I download free .pdfs of material that seems useful. The larger of these I put into separate folders.

So. That produced a large pile of folders. Next step?


Implementation is a good word here, because it sounds really important. I mean, if you’re implementing, you’re really Getting Shit Done, right?

Let’s hope. Anyway, I looked through each folder and decided what looked extra useful and what didn’t. I tossed stuff that didn’t hold up. Then I picked up one folder and started working through all the articles and blog posts there and taking notes. Everything that sparked my brain is now in a notebook, where it can foment and percolate and grow Important Intellectual Bacteria, or whatever it is that ideas do to turn themselves into Action Items. In this case, I ended up with a list of information and ideas on brand definition and development and how that ties in with platform.

I also followed a lot of links that brought me to more interesting material, which I then organized into its own folders, both on my computer and in hard copy. I’m kind of looking at each folder as a mini-course in the relevant subject. I take a “course” every few days by sorting through these themed collections.

So here’s the process, in a nutshell:

• Collect anything that looks interesting
• Cull anything that proves not interesting
• Sort by topic
• Compile notes
• Form action items and plans to implement what you’ve learned

Next time: Information Overload Part II—applying this process to video and podcasts.


angelaparsonmyers said...

Another good post. But I'm not that organized yet.