Learning everything is like learning nothing.

601 words | ~3 mins
productivity effectiveness producing

World is drowning in ocean of information. When you try to drink it all up - you simply can’t. That’s why content aggregators - summarization services are gaining traction.

Nobody has time to read, watch or listen all of it. Do you

consume every piece of content produced by people you follow? Or maybe just worthy things produced by those people?

I don’t have time or energy to digest it. Instead I repack and limit. How?

  • Right now I’m building email filters for newsletters; each one can drop into right directory; without my interaction. So my inbox is free of these.

    And I read it all in one time block; to group similar activities. Why?

    1. Less energy wasted. Context switching drains your energy. Your brain has to unload stuff to make place for new one.

      If it was construction worker, context switching would look like putting away hammer and taking a saw. Pretty inconvenient if such worker would have to switch his tools every couple seconds, huh?

    2. Less spammy. I think inbox should be a place for important stuff. Newsletters are not.

    3. I read when I have time. Not the other way. I love inbox zero and newsletters are disturbing it. If I wanted inbox zero and newsletters were not filtered, I would have to at least open these. But now these messages are stacking in right directories and I could glance at them when I’ve nothing better to do.

  • The more you consume, the less you produce. It’s simple. You have only given amount of time and energy to use. It’s your choice how you spend these. Do you want to scroll through social media? That’s cool, I do it, too. But I try to minimize it. I’ve stopped observing 99% of people on Facebook and LinkedIn.

  • Urge to learn new things is compelling. Yet, learning for sake of getting new knowledge is pointless. And I fall into this trap too often. In CliftonStrengths test Learner is my no.2 talent. It’s great as I learn like a sponge is filled by water.

    The dark side of the talent is leaning towards just learning; towards getting knowledge and not using it. This is probably the hardest of above to resist. How do I fight it? I set limits on learning too much unless I need it. I haven’t found anything better till date. (Do you know something else? Would you mind sharing your tips on this?)

  • Less notifications. I want technology work for me, not the other side. So I’ve disabled most notifications, leaving essential ones - phone and SMS. Rest is off.

What are your tips on getting important info effectively?

On producing

As I said above, increased consumption means lowered production (of anything). Trivial, but it’s missed often.

Be it meaningless meetings, scrolling through social streams or watching TV. While some of these give us entertainment, is ‘the fun’ worth its’ time?

It’s likely first hours after wake up are your most productive ones. How do you spend these? I (too) often check my email, looking for… I’m not sure. It’s a habit.

Similarly communicators. My laserlike focus is often undermined as Slack and co. are fighting for my attention. I don’t have to check communicators actively to lower my productivity. It’s enough these are open, somewhere on the computer.

Same as smartphone. We are addicted so much, even turned off smartphone in a pocket lowers your focus. It’s even been tested. For example you can find study here: https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/691462

So, you have X amount of energy/time during the day; how much do you want to consume vs produce?