Until very recently, I found myself with very little time to dedicate to pursuits outside of my family. If you were to ask around, everyone close to me agrees I prioritized the right stuff. However, while working on getting caught up I’ve realized there’s so much noise out there it’s pretty difficult to concentrate on just the important signal that I want to focus on. If anyone attempted to consume even a tiny fraction of what gets generated, they’d get lost in the static.
Oversharing and overexposure don’t even seem to phase people any more. And yet, in all of the cacophony that invades our senses, somewhere lies the important things that we want to learn about and grow from. I focus on two things when I read (or listen).
- Maximize the available time I have to find the content that’s most valuable and then…
- Consume the most valuable content.
No matter how much time we can build into our schedules, it’s critical to use it as efficiently as possible by carefully choosing what we consume.
So, What is Content Minimization?
Because of all of the noise in the feed, I have to make sure I select the most important things to read about. One of the greatest currencies we have available to spend now is our time. To ensure I’m spending my time-currency as well as I can, I actually turn to social networking. I follow people on Twitter that I feel the programming industry trusts. In general these people have authored books or presented at respected conferences. My logic is, if I read what they’re reading, I’ll keep up with the important topics of the day.
I also use News Reader by Feedly on my phone, mostly because it’s easy to read a headline and the first few sentences and decide if I need to continue reading the article(s) that are in my feed. For those things that I really don’t need to pay attention to, I can swipe them away and not waste significant amounts of time following through. There’s also easy ways to categorize articles, so I can use things like “Read Me”, “Downtime Reading”, and “Fluff and Stuff” to help me zone in on the most important articles (to me). I keep just about everything in “Downtime Reading” right now, promote the feeds I read the most often to “Read Me” and demote the non critical ones to “Fluff and Stuff.”
Because of the kinds of things I read about on a regular basis, Google Now uses predictive analysis to recommend articles . It occasionally finds a real gem.
Store Your Lessons Learned
Evernote is an amazing tool for saving things that you want to remember. Regardless of the source (Twitter, Feedly, Podcasts, Google Now), if I find something worth remembering, Evernote stores it in a form that’s easy retrieve later. As I find new useful information, Evernote is my fast, searchable brain that never forgets. OneNote is a popular alternative to consider – and Microsoft recently released it cross-platform. Bottom-line, to get the most out of your consumption, be sure to create a system for filing away the key lessons learned.