How To Keep Up With New Information Even When You Don?t Have Time For It

00-information-overload-postHow many perks do you get when you learn something before anyone else does?

Just share that new knowledge with others and you’ll position yourself one step ahead.

Yet there’s so much information that it’s absolutely impossible to keep up and always stay at the top of your game.

And you probably have some work that needs to be done, right?

So how do you find the balance?

1. Make the Information Come to You

Time is precious and you shouldn’t waste it looking for new information. You’ve got to have it delivered right to your front door.

Well, today that?s not a problem.

You can use content aggregators, where other people will handpick great articles and you can follow industry leaders on Twitter, as they often share tons of cool stuff.

Just spend some time curating your personal list of sources and you?ll never have to worry about missing something important.

Every so often, you may discover a site that is so consistent in putting out great content that you?ll want to put it onto your ?regular reads? list.

You can use Feedly for that. It allows you to organize all your ?regular reads? into folders, which makes it a lot more convenient to keep up with them.

these are the folders in my own Feedly account

these are the folders in my own Feedly account

Another great way to make new information haunt you is to subscribe to a few industry newsletters.

But you don’t want to be interrupted with new emails throughout your day, right? In that case you can use a handy service called Unroll.me which will send you a “daily roundup” of everything you are subscribed to.

2. Set Aside Some Time For Reading; Or Not?

Here’s a simple hack that will help you read more than 30 books per year: read 20 pages to start your day.

I know it works, because it’s been 5 months and I’m reading my 13th book.

And yet with online reading is not that simple.

Why read every day when there’s nothing meaningful to read? I mean most blogs just keep rehearsing the same tips over and over again. The more you read them, the more your signal to noise ratio drops.

So you shouldn’t read online content every day. Just check ?what?s new? – open your list of sources and see if anything catches your eye.

Most people prefer doing it early in the morning and then completely block themselves from that activity for the rest of the day, because honestly it’s quite addictive.

3. Practice Selective Ignorance

Whenever you come across an article that urges you to read it, you have to come up with all sorts of arguments why you shouldn’t do it.

Much like talking yourself out of eating chocolate candies late at night.

I have created a fun process that you can follow:

share this process with your friends, who sacrifice work for some reading

share this process with your friends, who sacrifice work for some reading

But why am I advising you against learning new cool stuff?

Well, the odds are you?re going to forget everything you?ve read by tomorrow. You may remember the main idea, but not the details, which are crucial most of the time.

So whether you’ve read the article or not, you?ll have to bookmark it anyways if you plan to use that information in future.

And that leads us to another issue – you got to have solid organisational skills to be able to store your reads in a way where you can easily locate them later.

4. Compulsive hoarding, Transactive Memory and? Evernote

Have you ever heard of compulsive hoarding? That?s when you can?t force yourself to discard stuff, which results in piles of disorganised trash in your house.

This is not how you want to bookmark your articles.

does your "read later" list look like that?

does your “read later” list look like that?

Whenever an interesting read pops in front of you, don?t just add to an endless ?read later? list.

Skim through that article real quick and decide whether that is something that you’re going to read anytime soon.

If that is the case, you may simply bookmark that article with Chrome or send it to an app like Pocket or Instapaper.

But if you’re not sure when you’re going to need that article, you should put it to your “article archive” using tools like Delicious or Evernote.

These tools allow you to add tags and comments to the articles that you bookmark, which helps a lot in navigating through your archives later on (even if they’re crazy big).

Yet most of the time I don’t want to save the actual article, I just need a small excerpt from it. That’s when I use Evernote’s web clipper and this little tool makes Evernote my app of choice for archiving online reads.

Now let’s talk about the last way to keep your brains clean – your ?transactive memory?.

Let?s say you?re hanging out with your friends at the bar and one of them mentions that hot new game for PlayStation that all kids go crazy about.

I bet you?re going to forget the name of that game in a minute (unless of course you?re a fan of computer games).

Fast forward to Christmas time and you?re thinking of a cool gift to your nephew, who you know is a hardcore gamer.

So you call your friend and ask him:

– ?What?s the name of the game you?ve mentioned at the bar back then??

Ta-da! You’ve just used your transactive memory.

I mean you generally don?t memorise things if you know that someone else will do that for you.

Thats what you should do with online reads – once you see a cool article and you know someone who?s all about that topic, just send it to him!

You can then refer to his knowledge whenever you need it.

I Can?t Believe You?ve Just Read This Article

Hope it?s your last one for today, because I’m sure you have some work to do.

Do you think you can keep yourself from reading new articles for the rest of the day?

How about doing that for the rest of the week?

Let me know if these tips were helpful.

Tim Soulo is the Chief Marketing Officer and Product Advisor at Ahrefs, a leading tool trusted by hundreds of thousands of SEOs and marketers worldwide. His SEO-related data research studies have been cited by media giants, including Inc, TechCrunch, and VentureBeat. He's also a regular speaker at some of the largest industry conferences around the globe, such as PubCon (US), BrightonSEO (UK), and the Digital Marketers Australia Conference (AU).