As you know, we have two boys. From time to time – like all children – one of them will be spectacularly sick. Occasionally this happens when I’m in charge. And being a typical man, I need to give my wife a graphic description when she comes home, so she’s in doubt as to how hard I’ve had to work…
“Blimey, Dav, it was spectacular. And I’m pretty sure there were carrots in there…”
At this point she holds her hand up to stop me. “Ed,” she says, “Too much information.”
Too much information…Right now, that’s how I feel when I look at my laptop. Because in the bottom right hand corner I have a word document, ominously called “To read.” And in that folder are all the articles – well, links to all the articles – that I really should read.
In the olden days, it was simple. Everything you needed to read came through on a piece of paper – and all you had to do was wait for a train journey. Then, instead of getting frustrated while you were parked in a siding at Newark, you could plough through your ‘to read’ pile. And by the time you reached Peterborough you’d have it all ripped in half and filed away in the British Rail rubbish bin. Then you could turn your attention to the spectacularly dull magazine (Livewire?) that BR fondly imagined was adequate compensation for missing your meeting.
But not these days. Everything arrives electronically – and relentlessly. And with technology and social media changing so quickly it seems there’s more and more that I feel I need to read. So I have my word document – and when I see something that I think I should look at, I write a one-line description, then copy and paste the link.
Clearly, this situation is not going to improve: in fact with the relentless growth of webinars-that-I-think-I-should-watch, it’s going to get a lot worse. So what can we do about it? Here are my tips for coping with TMIS (Too Much Information Syndrome) – but please, I can’t be the only one suffering from this newly diagnosed condition. Let me know your ideas – because TMIS isn’t going away…
- Use your mobile phone. OK, this possibly qualifies me as The Saddest Man in North Yorkshire, but if I’m early for an appointment, I can access the dreaded word doc on my phone, click the links and read a couple of the articles in say, ten minutes. Which I’d otherwise spend doing nothing much at all.
- Set some time aside. Easier said than done when you’ve a family, but I do try and grab an hour on Monday evening to plough through the virtual pile.
- Be ruthless. As any competent time-management guru will tell you, if you haven’t done it inside two weeks the chances are that you’re not going to do it. So if you do keep a list of virtual links, delete anything that’s more than a fortnight old. It’ll come round again – or it’ll be overtaken by some even newer technology.
- Rely on a single source. Limit yourself to reading a site like www.mashable.com and rely on them to make the choice for you.
- Not quite cutting-edge tech (and slightly off-topic), but if you really like reading business books but simply can’t find the time, try a site like www.summaries.com – 8 page summaries of the best business books with a new one added each week. A year’s subscription is $100, which at the current exchange rate is just over £1 a week.
As I say, those are my suggestions – but they’re not foolproof (my word doc keeps growing) so I’d love to hear what you do…
But finally, ladies and gentlemen, a bizarre case of life-imitating-art. First of all, thank you to everyone who responded to last week’s April Fool blog (and yes, most of you saw through it.) BUT it appears that there are grants available for mentoring – from the EU, no less. Oh ye of little faith – looks like it’ll be just Rich and me on the tennis court in Marbella. Your serve, fella…