I think we have already established that there is too much information in our lives on a daily basis. Emails, phone calls, conversations, news, tv shows, movies, etc…the list goes on. It’s never going to let up either. We are constantly improving methods for delivering content so if you can’t figure out a way to keep up now, then it’s only going to get tougher. You need to become your own information filter. There are two main aspects to filtering information yourself. The first is to practice the filtering itself into three levels easily referred to as course, medium, and fine. Woven into that filtration process are the three D’s of Less Doing decision making, namely, Delete, Defer, and Deal with.
Like many other things mentioned in this blog, information processing is a skill that requires some time and practice to perfect, but hopefully these tips will give you a bit of a short cut. If I could generally tie together the filtration process and the three D’s it would be as follows:
Course = Delete
Medium = Defer
Fine = Deal With
Feed readers are a perfect example but this applies very generally as well. I have previously stated how I process over 1000 blog items per day. Using keyboard shortcuts to through the posts, I initially go through blazingly quickly, I probably miss lots of things but anything that catches my eye even for a nano second get kept unread. So after 5 minutes I’ve got from about 1000 to a more manageable 250. Now it’s time for the medium filter, deferring the information to later. How much later depends on you. I can defer it until the fine filter where I will actually read it by keeping it as unread, or I can process it now using a service like IFTTT so that by simply starring the item, I don’t even need to read it, but it will get tweeted, put into an Evernote journal, and saved to Delicious (all with about 1/4 second of effort). Once I’ve gone through the medium pass I’ve not only processed an additional 200 items but I’ve actually put them to use. Finally the fine filter is where I can actually read some items, which generally takes no more than 10 minutes or so. The whole process probably takes about 30 minutes for me to onboard a huge amount of information, expand my knowledge as it relates to my business, and actually do something with it in terms of building social media presence and the knowledge stored in my external brain.
This is a good time to explain my general philosophy on decision making. I believe, like a shark, we need to be in constant motion. If we stop, bad things will happen. The same is true in life and business. You can make a good decision or a bad decision and then have something to do about it, but if make no decision at all and stay stagnant, you’ll get devoured. Some people are afraid of making the wrong decision and they get stuck in analysis paralysis, making it so no outcome if even possible. Even if you make the wrong decision, you’ll be moving yourself further down the decision tree and you’ll be presented with a new set of options and this time it may be clearer to you which is the right one. Just as limited ourselves can create greater efficiencies, so can limiting our options make us better decision makers.