Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Make the Internet your filing system

I recently ran a webinar about managing the information overload, to help busy business owners cope with the torrent of information coming their way.

The key solution is not to try to stem the flow, but to allow it to flow. In other words, don't let the information in unless you've got a way to get it out as well.

Here's the specific piece of advice I gave:

I'm not just talking about cloud computing, where you store your data on-line instead of on your computer. That is useful, but that's often for private purposes, like doing backups, sharing files between computers, collaborating on documents with others, and so on.

I'm talking about taking the information you get, and making it public.

I see too many people collect information as it comes in, and let it pile up on their computer, because "it might come in useful some day". That's just as bad as cluttering up a spare room or a garden shed with physical stuff! The trouble is, you end up with clutter - whether it's physical or electronic.

The solution is to let it flow. For example ...
  • Tweet it to your followers.
  • Post it to your blog.
  • Add it as a resource on your membership site.
  • Link to it on Digg.
The secret is that you're not saving it up for that book that never gets finished, that workshop that never gets designed, or that CD program that's never quite ready. You're getting it out - fast!

I know this sounds counter-intuitive, because it seems like I'm suggesting you do even more work to solve a time management problem. But try it! It eases your burden rather than increasing it. And you don't get "overloaded" because you never let the load build up too much.