How I Took Back My Time From Information Overload

Dave left a comment on an earlier post and he pointed to a cartoon Empress uploaded (how cool is that cartoon!) and he asked for my top 10 blog picks.

I’m really tempted to point them out, but I won’t, only because what’s worthwhile to me isn’t necessarily the best choice for others. What I will do though is talk about how I cut back my blog reading to focus that time on cranking out content of my own (for my web properties).

First thing I did was allow myself 5 blogs per topic. Yup. Five blogs max. Category examples:

Earning Online (affiliate marketing, marketing & sales, etc.)
SEO
Blogging

Next I determined what I needed the blogs to provide. For me there are three things:

1 – News and updates
2 – Tools such as plugins, scripts, software, themes, etc., or regularly provides hacks and tips
3 – Consistently makes me think or teaches me something

There are plenty of great blogs, some more popular than others, but when I judged the 400 or so blogs in my feed reader, I discovered that it wouldn’t be so hard to whittle my list down to 5 per category after all. For example:

News & Updates: Many of the top industry blogs that cover news aren’t what I’m looking for at all. My personal taste is grassroots. What’s going on in the forums. What’s going on in the blogosphere. That kind of thing. Only a small number actually do that, some are just too limited and are friend/network focused, the rest are geared for suits.

Tools & Hacks: Surprisingly, I found that many blogs provide a lot of chatter, but not a whole lot of consistent workable knowledge or make-my-life-easier tools & hacks. Lots of theory. Lots of general How To. Lots of repeat, regurgitated info. Whittling down to 5 was a breeze for this area as well.

Think & Learn: Again, lots of fuzzy, basic knowledge and regurgitated info. And not a whole lot of original or get-the-brain-juices-flowing or inspiration to be found. For me and my tastes.

In a nutshell: The blogs I now read and follow regularly have to produce more than hype, more than dry industry news, and actually ADD SOMETHING to my tool box–whether that be keeping me updated in areas I want to keep tabs on, or make my online life easier in some way, or keeps my brain juices flowing.

Here is my blog count for earning online/affiliate marketing/blogging/seo stuff:

Earning Online (4)
SEO (4)
Blogging (3)

For general interest, I have the following categories:

Organize (3) Think “Getting Things Done”
Gossip (5) My guilty pleasure, but soon to be cut
Internet (5) BoingBoing, Slashdot, and a couple personal faves
Politics (2)
Religion (1)

The rest I subscribe to are for research and tracking competition or ideas. Total feeds: I’m down to 62 now. How crazy is that! And nope, I’m not a forum stalker myself and rarely visit any.

In the meantime, I’ve cranked up my own content production for my own blogs and websites by close to 1000% I’m sure. I blog several posts daily as well as continue to improve and develop my websites that are performing on some level.

That’s another thing I’m in the midst of doing – pruning my websites that aren’t fitting or benefitting my overall map. And even though I’m cutting some money sites, my income is a steady trend up. Sweet :).

And even Sweeter: I find myself more focused, less distracted, and generating more results.

ETA: I also found that the blogs I am most drawn to and find most use from are those that are steady & consistent free linkers (not all, but most). So although I may only subscribe to a handful of blogs covering the industry, they’re continuously pointing me to information that’s out there and not locking me in their own little world. That serves my needs perfectly!

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I've been trying to find my way online for more years than I care to admit.

2 thoughts to “How I Took Back My Time From Information Overload”

  1. Hi Terry!

    Thanks for taking the time to make this new post! You’ve given some awesome ideas here and tips for whittling down the “RSS noise” in my life. Would you at least be willing to share your 3 favorite GTD blogs? đŸ˜‰

    Also, what is your tool of choice for managing RSS feeds? I used to use Bloglines, but switched to Google Reader about 4 months ago and never looked back. I love it!

  2. Hi Dave, I like 43 folders, lifedev.net and lifehacker.

    Ummm, no. I don’t use Google anything. Well I do use goog to search occasionally, and gmail for junk mail. But seriously, I don’t use their tools at all–my opinion is that they are getting too dangerous with so much user data and user tracking. I’m having no part of feeding that monster lol.

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