How to handle excessive input
I spend around 2-3 hours a day listening to a podcast that contains technical information on a steep career learning curve. I was trying to play catch up on this podcast that publishes once a week but was recorded around 90 weeks ago. So over the last three months I've been listening to one weekly podcast a day.
The input actions and projects from the podcasts could be research this website, research this tool, test this tool, read this book, subscribe to this podcast, read this article etc. I could input between 10-15 projects/actions a day. These get inputted onto my PPC and then at the end of the day this is sync'd to my Outlook client. These appear as tasks under the category of None.
I am as of this morning up-to-date on the podcast BUT I have a very long list of actions and projects to sort through in the None category. I currently have around 120-150 projects on the go as it is. When I sort through this None list it could be in the 300-400 range.
What I would like to know is do I spend the time sorting through this list creating actions and projects from them and then review them to look at adding more to someday/maybe or do I place them all in Someday/Maybe now, review my current project list and then shuffle around?
Also what happens next week when the next podcast is released? I really need to keep on top of this. But ultimately this is only one podcast that I'm listening to in order to increase my knowledge and make progress. This is before I even open up my RSS feeder.
Grateful for any help.
a different take on it :-)
Hi Jason. This is a great question. Here's my take on it: It's a project (albeit a very large one), so I'd suggest the basics:
o Make a project for it - put a master entry in your projects list.
o Make folders for the project - paper, disk, and/or email. You know you'll have a ton of incoming materials, and you need a "no brainer" place to put them.
o Break the project down into actions - such as the ones you've listed - and record all the possible ones in a master planning document for the project. You can use paper or digital, but you need to capture them in one place. I would not recommend using Someday/Maybe. These are real candidates for action, and you'll need them in a place connected to the project.
o Pull out as many as you are comfortable handling. The variables are how much energy you have for the project, and how fast you want to move it along. Remember, having multiple actions for the same project is OK.
o Don't use contexts unless you need to. This is the principle of KISS - don't add complexity unless you need to. It's just a project.
o Create checklists or block out time to keep up with the podcasts, but only if you need to (e.g., you're falling behind). Alternatively, you may want to have this podcast coming directly into your email inbox. This is not something I usually recommend (the opposite, actually), but it may help you respond more quickly if that's a priority.
If this is all to overwhelming, you might consider breaking the master project into "sub-projects". That's another story - holler if you need help with that.
Hope that helps!
And then notice what works (or doesn't)
Excellent suggestions, one and all.
My contribution is to suggest you regularly and honestly look at what is working and what isn't (Weekly Review maybe). If you actually put together a system that enables you to handle this massive amount of input, great! But if leaks appear or continue, I think wisdom, and perhaps sanity, will call for rethinking the plan and focusing on what IS working so you can achieve sustainable progress.
Just what came to me.