The noise swirls around our heads like a never ending stream of consciousness from the outside world. Managing the way that you digest it, the way that you plug into it (or it plugs into you), is the only realistic way to turn that noise into something useful.
The goal of the average information consumer should be to manage their inputs. I’m going to define inputs as the tools that we use to help us digest information.
I work for a distributed company, which means that the only way to communicate is to over communicate. We use a network of internal blogs running the P2 Theme to communicate about everything from taking time off from work to enhancements to WordPress.com. These blogs really do move at the speed of thought and there are a lot of them.
As you can imagine, there is a lot of information flowing on a consistent basis, which means that the only way to keep yourself from over-saturation is to manage your inputs in a structured way. This is a dance I’m currently working on perfecting.
In life, I think the majority of things that we need inputs for are self imposed: Social Networks, Email, Work, Appointments, Family, Friends, Shopping, Eating, Fashion, and on and on.
The question that I ask myself daily is how can I design my inputs to make sure that I convert the noise into something useful?
I use some inputs to help flow outputs to me in a way that I can digest:
- My iPhone I use almost exclusively for Social Media and personal conversations. In fact, my phone has become the De facto input for all communications that are not work related: SMS, MMS, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
- My iPad I use for reading and watching. It’s my media digestion input. I know that when I open my iPad, I’ll be diving into the New York Times, Tech Crunch, Netflix, or any other media that tickles my fancy.
- My MacBook Air is for work, and work alone. This is where I digest most of my email, work documentation, tools, and other professional communications. I also use it for writing.
Of course, the wires between my inputs cross on a daily basis, but I try my best to control that. For example, I use iMessages on my computer to text throughout the workday. This helps me to keep my concentration on a single screen space instead of pulling out my phone to respond to a message. It’s a delicate balance to keeps inputs separate, but I think it’s important to find the balance that works for you.
I’m constantly working to refine my inputs to match my outputs. I’d love to hear what works for you.