There is so much professional development information out there that you COULD be digesting.
It truly is overwhelming. From books, podcasts, blog posts, and newsletters. The list is huge. I feel this overwhelm regularly and it’s something that comes up as an issue for my clients too.
There feels like there’s a lot to be across and on top of but no time to do it all. So how can you manage this overwhelm? By determining what’s important to you and letting the rest go. And by considering the best time for you to be consuming the information you choose to consume.
1.What’s important to you
Make peace with the fact that you will not be able to consume everything. It’s just not humanly possible. This is a mindset that takes constant practice. So focus on subjects that are currently relevant to you, a few authors that you like, and even narrow down on the mediums. For example, podcasts are not really my thing. So unless a friend says that a particular episode is absolute gold and I HAVE to listen to it, I often don’t engage in the whole medium. Sometimes I feel stabs of FOMO but overall the limit helps me feel more in control of my time and focus.
I also take comfort in the belief that the right content will come my way. If a book is mentioned several times, I take notice and get myself a copy. This helps me feel more relaxed about I’m possibly missing out on.
2.When is the best time for you to consume
When helping my clients manage their email more efficiently we create an @Read folder for them. This is the folder where they move emails that they’d like to read at some point but it isn’t necessary for their work immediately.
Email can become overwhelming when we think that we’re constantly at the whim of the sender. What this @Read folder provides is a place for you to store information that you’ll get into when it suits you. (On this point, a client of mine had saved up 6 months of my blog posts and read them in one hit!)
I then have my clients think about when is the best time for a reading session. Monday morning? Friday afternoon? Lunchtime several times a week? Is it 30 minutes? Or 1 hour? Adding that time to their calendar, they then have a regular time in which they can go over their @Read folder. Once something’s read they take what they need from the email, file the email away, or delete it. This keeps their main Inbox and @Read folder clear.
The same goes for scheduling time to read physical books or podcasts. Think about when suits you to do that. A client of mine has ‘Professional Development’ time scheduled into her calendar once a fortnight for 3 hours to sit down and read a book or listen to a podcast with her notebook handy. Be deliberate in your consumption.