Handling Too Much Information
With a show of hands who has information overload?
Okay, now how many of you are doing something about it?
As you can see by the imaginary number of hands, there are a lot of people who just live with the bathtub of information over flowing. There are some pretty handy ways to limit your information intake and still get your fill. Read on to get some ideas on how to manage your overflow.
Look at newspaper headlines
While you are walking by a news stand, take a look at the headlines. Any important local or world news will likely be on the front page. If nothing catches your eye, then there is no need to stop.
Google Alerts are a great way to get targeted information. Say for example you are trying to score a job or a client, you can set up a Google Alert with keywords like “freelance writer” loc:denver OR “write for us” loc:denver.
Searches like these will bring back a very specific range of results when you choose to get them. Google Alerts offer 3 choices for how often the results are sent to you: As-it-happens, once a day or once a week. You can also choose how you’d like to receive the information; via email or RSS feed.
Another good alert to set up is your own name. You will be able to track what information is on the internet about you or your business.
Ingboo is similar to Google Alerts in that you can choose topics you are interested in and have them delivered to you in a batch email or via RSS feed. That is where the similarity ends.
You have a wider variety of search options with Ingboo. You are not solely limited to Google searches though. You can search specific sites like Craigslist, Hotjobs, news sites, Amazon deals, sports or almost anything else you could want.
RSS feeds are very under utilized in my opinion. Most sites and services offer a feed for information as it is updated. What this means for you is, all of your desired information is all funneled into one place.
You can sit down and go to your RSS reader of choice and see what’s new on your favorite sites, what job opportunities are out there, reviews on a product you are looking to buy… this list of possibilities is endless.
There are a slew of homepages you can use for this. I have tried several and always seem to come back to iGoogle.
You can add may different gadgets to your homepage to make it as useful as you’d like it to be. On mine, I have some RSS feeds, a page of comic strips I like, and one for hockey news.
The whole purpose to these pages is to create an easy place to see a bunch of your information in one place. If you need to jump from app to app or site to site, there is a greater chance for you to stray off course and forget what you are doing.
Social media searches
Social searching can be used to gather information, but can very quickly turn to a distraction, so careful when using these sites for your daily news or when researching.
Using an application such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite, you can add columns for keywords or hashtags. This will help a little to keep you focused.
How do you manage your daily flow of information?