In the digital culture of today, we have the ability to co information as if we’re drinking from a fire hose. I know because I live it. If I’m not very careful with my time and boundaries, I could sit in front of this computer for hours at a time. The problem is that it would all be good stuff, really good information. My Twitter list called “Thinkers” could keep you chasing links for at least three hours per day. My Facebook friends are constantly busy and seeing their pictures and updates with family and friends could fill another afternoon. Then there’s my RSS feed. Leadership, business, fitness, Chritianity, commentary. It’s all there. And like I said, it’s all good.
Consuming information these days is very easy. We subsribe to things and we don’t even have to chase them anymore – they come to us because we’ve asked for them. This is very good. But this can be very overwelming and a complete distraction if it’s not managed properly.
I subscribe to these sources of information because I know they are what sharpen my thinking and challenge my decision making as I navigate work, family, leadership, and growing as a man. Have I mentioned these are all good? But when I consider managing this overflow of information, I think of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits, specifically Big Rocks. The idea here is this: if you’re going to appropriately fill your schedule (or in this case pick and choose which information to read and which to ignore) you must fill your schedule with the big rocks first, and then fill in the little rocks where there’s room. I simply can’t read every Tweet, look at every friend’s Facebook status, and read all the RSS blog posts. It’s obviously impossible. So I must be disciplined enough to find the important items and focus on those. The ‘good’ items have to come second to the ‘great’ ones.
It’s easy to consume information. And it’s good to consume information. Great and successful people are life long learners and spend their time appropriately. But consuming information is only the first step. What then do we do with all the information?
Thursday I’ll be talking about what we do with all this information we consume. How does our creativity flow out of what we’ve learned.