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Managing Your Digital To-Read Pile

By Jennifer Snyder
11049091_sWe all love interesting information and it is everywhere.  According to the New York Times, the average person is exposed to more than 100,000 words every day – that is the equivalent of 175 newspapers worth of information.  To get a clear picture, that is the equivalent of covering the entire Continental US and Alaska in a 7-foot high stack of Twilight novels.  Now, how on earth do we deal with all the interesting (and not so) information?  Believe it or not, it is possible to manage all of this data without being overwhelmed or drowning. The key is boundaries; boundaries with your time and your digital space.

First order of business, acknowledge these three key principles (that can make your life much better on many levels):

  1. My time and attention are the most valuable things I posses.

  2. There is too much stuff on the Internet for me ever to read it all.

  3. I will be super-choosy about what I read and where I spend my time.

Social media
Resist the urge to be everything to everyone.  One or two social media platforms should suit you just fine.  It is not necessary – unless it's your job – to spend time on every single one.  Facebook and Pinterest are the most popular but you decide.

Once you are there, it is also not necessary to Like or Comment on every single post.  Be super-choosy here because if you comment, you will be receiving emails whenever anyone else posts, which can easily overwhelm your inbox.  It is also a good thing to clean out those you follow periodically.  Everyone you follow should bring value to your life.  If not, then it is very easy to discreetly remove them from your feed.  They will not be notified.  Less is more when it comes to social media too.

RSS feeds
If you use RSS to read blogs and other news sources, you will want to review your list periodically as well.  Once each quarter is a great place to start.  If you find yourself skipping over articles consistently, go ahead and remove them for a while.  Should you decide you miss it, you can always re-subscribe.  Many people tend to suffer from a heavy case of the "shoulds": I should read this…I should follow her…etc.  It is perfectly ok to do what is best for your mind and spirit.  Try www.bloglovin.com to manage those you are interested in but do not need in your inbox.

Email newsletters
If there is something that comes into your inbox and doesn't get read, just unsubscribe.  Unfortunately, it is not possible to unsubscribe from your boss or your mother-in-law.  Sorry.

News and magazine apps
Again, only keep what brings value to your life. Again, if you decide that your life is fuller and richer with the information at your fingertips, sign right back up.

Pocket, Instapaper, and other read-it-later tools
Give your self a loose deadline for items categorized "to read later".  If a week has gone by and you haven't given the article a second thought, you probably won't.  It is science – the Law of Diminishing Intent.  The longer you go without performing or completing an activity, the less likely you are to do it – ever.

Being super-choosy means different things to different people.  Know yourself and what you are capable of completing – and be honest.  Keep your priorities in proper alignment and you will be golden.

Happy reading and have a Neat day!

Jennifer Snyder, Certified Professional Organizer
Neat as a Pin Organizing Exerts
Jennifer Snyder
jennifer@neatasapin.net Back To Top

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