Something that struck me after writing about whether anyone listens to podcasts yesterday is that the main reason I personally don’t listen to many podcasts is a lack of time, rather than interest.
I spend many hours online at work and home but much of this time is consumed by reading blogs and Web sites, checking e-mail, and watching videos. Then, there’s off-line activity such as reading documents, the occasional sports section and the crossword puzzle. It doesn’t leave a lot of time for podcasts, although it would probably help if I commuted by public transportation rather than by bicycle.
While I’m not a big believer in New Year’s resolutions, something I’ve embraced this year is streamlining my world and eliminating some of the digital noise that consumes valuable time and energy.
For example, I’ve taken a long, hard look at my in-box, and unsubscribed from a large number of newsletters that aren’t must-reads. It’s impressive and satisfying to quickly see your inbox start to shrink. One thing still needs work is reducing the number of times a day that I check e-mail given that checking every 10 minutes isn’t that productive.
Another target has been RSS feeds after my Google Reader became sadly and badly bloated. I’ve really been trying to prune blogs that have been collecting dust, even though there are probably lots of good content. At the same time, I’ve been diversifying my feeds beyond tech to gain new perspectives and ideas.
Finally, I’ve been trying to control my appetite to look new and/or interesting online services. This means sticking with the services that I use and like (WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, Google Reader, del.icio.us) while resisting the temptation to check out new betas that sound quasi-cool. (Note: If you send me an invitation to Spock or Plaxo Plus, I’m going to politely ignore it.) As well, I’ve sworn off joining any Facebook groups, and vow to only check Twitter a few times a day.
I’m not sure whether my digital diet is a success yet but it definitely feels better. Who knows maybe I’ll become more productive!
More: I found some inspiration from a couple of blog posts. One by Leo Babauta, who writes Zen Habits, is the “10 Steps to Becoming an E-mail Ninja”, which talks about to take control of your inbox.
Another comes from Search Engine Land in a post about how to enjoy social media success in 2008. One of the 10 suggestions was “cut down and move up”, which talks about slashing your RSS feeds to just a small handful, and then giving those blogs lots of time, attention and comments.