I keep reading about all the fabulous panels at the recent BlogHer conference, and I’m quite jealous of everyone who got to go. Luckily, all the bloghers are blogging up a blogosphere storm about the blog conference, so we can all get secondhand accounts of the wit and wisdom and all that. Despite the many great posts I’ve seen about BlogHer panels on all sorts of hip and interesting topics, the one that has compelled my attention is …. a post on organization!
I love organization. Yep, I’m that big of an anal-reterntive dork. I love The Container Store. Instead of keeping old love letters in a box under my bed or something, they are in a file in my file cabinet marked “old love letters.”
So this blogher-inspired post I read is on “how to deal with information overload.” If you were once one of those people who got stressed out by having too many unread magazines lying around the house and are now one of those people who get stressed out by having too many unread RSS feeds, do read this. It’s all common-sense organizational advice, but it’s well-put common-sense organizational advice. For example:
There’s a really great book by Mark Hurst about handling information overload called Bit Literacy, and it’s main tenet is that we need to learn how to “let the bits go.” When it comes to reading my 258 feed subscriptions, I let the bits go by:
* Marking all as unread often,
* For a feed with lots of unread items (>10 or 20), just skimming the first handful of new ones. If there’s nothing good, mark the rest unread – it’s old anyway
I like that, “letting the bits go by.” I think it means not feeling guilty that I’ve del.icio.us’d about 87 articles and blog posts that I’ve never gone back to, or never returned certain wall comments on facebook, or forgotten to give my friend comments on the play they sent me to read 6 months ago, or forgotten to blog about that really great article or idea or conversation or whatever which I was so sure I had something interesting or insightful to say about but obviously didn’t or it would already be written. There’s something very liberating about pressing DELETE on things that have been rotting in your email inbox forever or marking 40 RSS feeds at once as read instead of trying to sort through them after taking a several-day hiatus. My favorite thing I’ve compelled myself to do recently is answer emails when I first receive them. For the longest time, I would always just send things back to the inbox after I read them, to reply to later, even if they only required a 1- or 2-setence reply. It was stupid. I’d end up with 8 billion emails to reply to and it would become such a chore that I’d dread it and write it on my “to-do” list for days and then when I finally sat down to do it think, “for fuck’s sake, why didn’t I just reply to these when I opened them?” So now I try to make myself shoot off a reply before even returning to my inbox.
I am probably boring the shit out of you, whoever you are that may still actually be reading this post. Sorry. I forget that not everyone is as crazy obsessive-compulsively organized and neurotic as me. Let’s bring this all back together. What does letting the bits go by mean for you? And what are your own technigues for dealing with “information overload?”