Monday, 22 November 2010

More Consumption

Yes, I’m still thinking about consumption.

Every single day, we’re bombarded with data in amounts that are nothing short of massive. We watch movies and listen to music, we converse via email and IM, we network over Facebook and Twitter. And we have the equipment to engage the onslaught, too: from the now-traditional TVs and radios and PCs to a whole new, and ever-increasing, range of mobile devices. It’s a new world, baby, and we’re armed to the teeth and ready to take it on.

Or are we, really? Our equipment is great for helping us gather data, and some of it does a pretty good job of organising it. But that’s hardly enough. Information isn’t much use until we actually use it. Before that, though, we have to somehow make sense of it: we have to process it. Now what equipment do we have for that?

There’s just one I know of – and it’s right between our ears. Unfortunately, processing takes time, and the thing sucks at multitasking.

The solution, then? Well, I think one way is to better organise what comes in so processing is easier. Still, I don’t see how we won’t have to reduce the input itself at some point, before we drown in sheer data.

Or to use the consumption metaphor, before we are constipated.

Question: how do you handle your incoming information?


  1. I try to answer the question "how does it fit with what I want most from life?"

    The next question I ask is "what will need to change in my life, my time allocations, my priorities" to accomodate x,y,z new thing.

    After that it's all emotions. It also helps to have pre-defined budgets (my wife and I manage) so many things are weighed based on the fit with the budget (budget determines when and if at all more than whether something is worth it). Our budget also helps us keep a global perspective, it helps us keep track of how we share out our money and what's getting the most priority.

    I'm sure this isn't the full spectrum, but it's what I can think of for now.

  2. Managing the huge amounts of info that's thrown my way is simple, i just tune out..even if sometimes it's at d expense of not meeting with my friends on the popular social networks. In life, things and people are always fighting for our attention and i feel if i have a sense of what's important to me and my growth (physically and spiritually), i would find it easier to screen out the things that are least important to me. For instance, if i don't have good goals to make my life balanced, i'd spend most of my morning devotion time looking for what tweet to reply to or what facebook update to comment on.
    Apart from having clear goals i've come to learn another system that helps keep one on track is to assign functions to the different sources of information and not over stretching it. I can choose which skill sets i wanna develop while using a particular info source and only utilise that source when i believe it will aid in developing that skill. For instance, i can't possibly read all articles in the Financial Times. These two methods have really helped me over the years.

    PS. It also helps that i bore easily. ;)

  3. @Triceps: True that. Most of what you say here about controlling your money applies reasonably to info: an info budget, eh? And I bet a good wife helps: when you wanna go off course, she can just give you "the look"! Thanks.

    @RubberbandMan: I guess most of us tune out at some point, when the incoming threatens to overwhelm us, but that's the point: how do we not get there? What you say about assigning functions to info sources (and, I imagine, to the equipment we use to manage them) makes good sense. Thanks for the thought.