Do you ever feel like you're drowning in a sea of information every time you scroll through your social media feeds or email inbox?
I used to feel like a water hose of information overload was hitting me. But then I realized I had a choice: either give up and drown or learn to surf the wave of information and stay on top.
As a tech-curious and creative woman, I often feel constantly overwhelmed by the pressure to stay up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations. And as a corporate innovation consultant, my clients expect me to be an expert no matter what industry they are working in.
So, I thought I'd share my latest learnings on how I revamped my content consumption system to make it more intentional, strategic, and less overwhelming.
Last week, I had the pleasure of attending Tiago's annual virtual summit to gain insights on the latest updates on his innovative ideas.
I realized that we need to take control of our content consumption and not let algorithms dictate what we consume. We are the boss, and it's up to us to think about how we want our system to function and leverage technology to make it happen.
Even though I don't see myself as a content creator or influencer, I realized I needed a new, well-organized, efficient content consumption system in our fast-paced world of information abundance.
And this system has helped me
- save time,
- increase my productivity
- and creativity,
- to get seen, heard, and valued as an expert at work.
Today, I want to share with you six actionable learnings that helped me develop my new content system and that can help you fast-track building yours.
Lesson 1: Shift from "Just in Case" to "Just-In-Time" Consumption
Back in 2020, I used to collect information "just in case" I needed it for a future project. I would create spreadsheets and databases of startups without any specific use for them. Looking back now, with the help of my new AI intern ChatGPT, I can see how foolish that was. I wasted so much time, money, and energy on information I didn't even need because I thought I might use it someday.
So instead, focus on "just in time" consumption, which involves collecting information based on your current projects, challenges, needs, and goals at work. Doing so lets you filter out irrelevant content and save time on information that won't help you achieve your objectives.
So, what current project would you like to focus on?
Lesson 2: Don't read; Scan
Reading everything that catches your attention can be time-consuming and lead to decreased productivity. Instead, scan for relevant content and save it for later. This approach saves time and helps you stay organized and focused on your goals.
So what information shall you save? Whatever resonates with you. Don't overthink it.
Lesson 3: Use a Read Later App
And this is what it looks like:
By utilizing a Read Later App, I have found that it helps me
- stay focused,
- and saves me time, ultimately increasing my productivity.
And this doesn't just work for me; it works for others too. For example, one of my Future-Ready Women from my Masterclass implemented it and shared some of her own learnings after setting up her new content consumption system:
Lesson 4: Don't hoard information, block time to digest
Blocking out regular time in your calendar to read through your saved content is essential. It can help you turn from a consumer into a creator by giving you the time and space to generate new ideas, prepare presentations or meetings, and write blog posts or social media content. Prioritize this time and treat it as a vital part of your workday.
After several weeks of consuming content more intentionally, I found that blocking out regular time in my calendar to read through my saved content became an essential habit. This practice helped me shift from a content consumer to a content creator, giving me the time and space to generate new ideas, prepare for meetings or presentations, and write blog posts or social media content.
I intentionally block out time on Fridays or weekends to relax and read to ensure I have dedicated time for content consumption:
Whether going to a coffee shop or just relaxing at home, I set aside at least three hours to digest information per week. I also use downtime when traveling or waiting in lines, such as during an Uber ride or a quick five-minute wait at the grocery store.
The key is to prioritize and intentionally schedule time for consuming content.
Lesson 5: Consuming High-Quality Content = Quality Ideas
The quality of your ideas is directly related to the quality of the content you consume. Therefore, you can produce incredible results by actively reading and intentionally collecting information.
And this is how I use Notion as a startup database for current client Innovation Journeys - all curated content is bespoke, exclusively "just in time" for my clients:
Stay calm in the beginning. Start first with your new habit of consuming high-quality content for a couple of weeks and tweak your system - delete newsletters and find new exciting people to follow.
Then, start thinking about how to go one step further with your new content system. How do you want to build your "Digital Treasure Box"?
Using Notion, in the beginning, felt like playing with Lego for me; So just start, and you can always build on top.
Lesson 6: Share your ideas with others
A year ago, I used to keep all my ideas to myself, which sometimes proved to be a mistake. Finally, I realized I was assuming things without testing my ideas, limiting my growth as an innovation expert. That's when I stumbled upon Nicolas Cole & Dickie Bush's #Ship30for30 program, and I decided to join their class.
The idea is to write 30 atomic essays in 30 days and publish them on social media platforms like Twitter or LinkedIn. The response from the audience serves as a feedback loop, helping participants identify topics that resonate with their audience and those that don't.
Recently, I decided to up my game by incorporating data analytics into my content creation process. A few weeks ago, I subscribed to Shield AI, a tool that provides valuable insights from my LinkedIn Profile. As someone new to creating content on LinkedIn, I found that this post was particularly successful based on my beginners "factors".
Now I have to learn how to make sense of my data. So, yes, you need a lifelong learning mindset in our fast and data-driven world.
If you struggle with imposter syndrome and feel hesitant to share your ideas as I did in the past, try asking yourself what's the worst thing that could happen. Sometimes, putting things into perspective can help you overcome your fears and take action.
The key takeaway is that sharing your ideas with others is crucial because it enables you to get feedback, refine your thoughts, and get recognition for your expertise. So instead of creating a video or blog post from the beginning, what about you test first with a tweet or LinkedIn post the idea? As soon as you find proof, use it and create longer-form content.
In conclusion, it's not about consuming more content but the right content that aligns with your current needs and goals.
🦸♀️ Your Turn: It's time to take action! What challenges are you currently facing? Set up your own personal content system today, and let's chat again in six weeks. By then, you'll have developed a new habit that will help you stay up-to-date with the latest trends and innovations, increase your productivity and creativity, and position yourself as an expert in your field. Let's do this!