Blahg, Blahg, Blahg…

Don’t throw in the towel.

So little time. So much out there to read, investigate, take in digest. Not enough time.

I’ve been hearing the variations of the comment, “I can’t keep up” a lot lately.

One of my history professors in college told us that during the Renaissance it was humanly possible to read every book that had ever been written. Hence, it was easier to be a “Renaissance Man” because there simply wasn’t as much printed information and knowledge to digest.

I saw a statistic that almost 292,000 books were published in 2006 in the US alone. And that figure does not include the volumes of knowledge shared on the internet daily.

Maybe staying “current” is harder to do, but does that mean we give up under the weight of information? Do we simply give up?

I read a great post by Dean Shareski called “Go ahead, mark this as read”. In it Dean speaks of the angst people feel about “keeping up.”

I e-mailed Dean and shared how much I had enjoyed the post. He was kind enough to write back with another thought. He used the analogy of taking a trip when you don’t have a lot of time. Imagine you have four days to visit a major world city: New York, Paris, Tokyo, London…You choose the city. Could you possibly take in all there is to see in four days?

Of course not. So…Do you run yourself ragged trying to take in as much as you possibly can and not really understand what you’ve seen? Or do you go see a few things, really let them sink in, and enjoy the experience? It would definitely be sad for you to leave such a trip and say, “It was horrible, I didn’t get to see it all”. Or worse yet, do you say…”Ah, I’m not going. I can’t see it all so why bother.” Wouldn’t you want to value the four days you had?

Think about this for a second. Many people still get information in the more traditional form of magazine or paper subscriptions, correct? I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone say when the newspaper hits the porch, “Oh great, now there are 182 articles I have to read. How am I going to keep up?” When the magazine appears in the mailbox do you feel pressure and anxiety to read it from cover to cover? Or do you pick the articles you want to read and let the other ones go?

There definitely is a lot of information out there. More than we can all handle. Does that mean we don’t try to sift through and find what’s meaningful to us?

If you find a little time, these blogs might be useful.

Ideas and Thoughts: More Filtering. No not that kind of filtering.

Dangerously Irrelevant: Reclaiming my blog, reclaiming myself.

21st Century Learning: So Much to Say– So Little Time.

If you have even a few more minutes, read the comments. It’ll be worth it!

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One Response

  1. Mike, great, great post. I could feel the angst lift right off of my shoulders. :) I think that one of the reasons for the angst people feel about all the articles/posts that are sitting in RSS aggregators comes from our preoccupation of email. When our inbox is full it looms large. RSS aggregators look very similar to email applications with bold text and numbers in parathesis for new messages.

    Over the past two months I’ve been working on Inbox Zero from Merlin Mann for staying on top of my email. I have yet to come across, or even look for, a solution to staying on top of my RSS feeds. I don’t think one needs to. I love the analogy of the newspaper hitting the porch and thinking that there are 182 articles that need to be read. Perfect.

    Dean’s correct, I think if we try to take it all in in a mad dash we miss a lot of the deeper meaning and importance in how what we are reading relates to our work or lives. I think the best suggestion for folks feeling this way is to take it slow and read things relevant to what you are genuinely interested in.

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