What are the actions, results that come from our collecting, referencing, bookmarking, and proliferations of social media profiles, blogs, channels and social empires?
This post refers to current tools, and probes our purpose in using them by asking questions I often ask in executive coaching or in just making a smart decision:
- What's important?
- What really matters?
...With the near omnipresence of digital reference material, many of us no longer turn first to our own collections. Yet we were trained, explicitly or implicitly, to collect and save large amounts of information.
In Scott Belky’s recent book Making Ideas Happen: Overcoming the Obstacles Between Vision and Reality, he argues that most people spend too much time collecting notes of various kinds, and goes so far as to say:
References obstruct your bias toward action.
Many times, we hold onto an email, the URL of a website, or the PDF of a journal article, as a kind of emblem of an action we intend to take...
If those actions are important, then they should be captured and put into your action list. Otherwise you’re just piling up digital clutter.
Asking yourself why you’re holding on to something, when you expect to refer to it again, and how you’re going to find it when you need it can help you streamline your reference system.
Tools like Evernote, Catch (formerly 3Banana) and DevonThink can help you tag, manage, and easily retrieve those references.)
If you just keep everything, then you lose sight of what’s most important.
Today, with so much information all around us, there’s less and less that you really need to keep yourself. Focus on the important stuff and let go of the rest.