It’s easy to feel overwhelmed by the sea of information we have access to. There are moments when I’m sure we’ve all felt the waves crashing down on top of us. This post will introduce you to the process I use to help me stay afloat and manage the flow of information.
My main source of information is Twitter. I also subscribe to lots of blogs and newsletters via RSS and email.
Every day I see so many interesting things I want to read but cannot follow up on in the moment. So I have to have a process to collect these to read later.
When I find something interesting that I want to read (or watch) later, bookmark or act on I do one of two things.
If it’s something work related I email it to a Trello board. Everything I send here gets added as a card to a list called Articles. The card title is the name of the article and the description contains the link. For more information about how boards, lists and cards work, check out the Trello getting started guide.
Every few days I triage the Articles list and move unread articles to an appropriate category: content strategy, writing, social media, analytics.
For non-work related reading, I send articles to Pocket. I also group these by themes using tags: creativity, LGBT, sport etc.
Once I’ve read or watched an item (that’s the process part) it’s time to act.
Some things just get deleted. Some get shared, via Twitter or Facebook. You can share items to these social networks directly from Pocket. It also links to Buffer if you want to schedule social media posts for later.
Others items get bookmarked for future reference. These tend to be resources or tools that I may want to use again, guides or examples of how something has been done. For this I use Bundlr. It’s easy to clip links and images straight from a browser using a bookmark or add-on. You can also add things by copying and pasting a link – I use this method when I’m on a tablet or phone.
You can group similar items into Bundles. I’ve got bundles for different topics, eg blogging, and different types of content, eg style guides. In the past I’ve also used Bundlr to collate tweets, slides and other resources from events I’ve attended.
If something really resonates with me then I will blog about it. I’ve just started using an editorial calendar to work blog post ideas generated in this way with other posts I’ve got scheduled. This is set up in Trello so it’s easy to move items from my reading board straight into the editorial calendar.
You can find out more about Trello in my previous post on using Trello for collaborative task management.
In part I’ve written this post to kick-start something. I’m good at stages one and two in this process, but I need to get better at stages three and four. I need to form a habit.
It’s getting to the time of year when we’re thinking of New Year’s resolutions. One of mine is going to be about making space for the things that are important to me. This includes reading widely and acting on the things I’m learning.
From the new year I’ll set aside a chunk of time every week to triage my reading lists, process the information and decide what to do with what I’ve learned. I’m hoping that this will in turn help with another of my resolutions – to write more. Like all good content strategists, I’ll be using my editorial calendar to map out how all this new content fits together. Perhaps I’ll write more on this later.
Share your tips
So, that’s how I manage to stay afloat in the sea of information. I’m interested to hear how you keep up to date and acting on what you’re learning. Go ahead and share your tips in the comments.