The beauty -- and frustration -- about content marketing is that there is always something to learn. When I started in this field, I couldn't read enough. I was constantly absorbing everything I could from blog posts to books to podcasts and everything in between. I learned a lot by reading about other people's experiences.
Soon after, I started blogging at Savvy B2B, and I found that writing was an even better way for me to learn. There is something about researching a topic or organizing my thoughts around an idea that helps something "click."
The more I wrote, the more interest I had from clients, and the more I began doing. And, for me, there is no substitute to actually doing something. But, I soon became so busy that I stopped reading as voraciously and I blogged a lot less often.
At first, this was fine as I considered doing the pinnacle of learning. But, something was mising.
Once i started reading and writing more, I've felt invigorated. In fact, I spent hours one recent weekend working on a series of posts I wrote for the Content Marketing Institute about productivity, and it was a lot of fun.
I still have more to-dos on my list than I can possibly get through, but now I make more time to learn through reading, listening (via podcasts and audio books) and writing.
So how can we make time to learn while keeping up with everything else -- and avoiding information overload? Here are some things that have worked for me.
To make time to read, I've had become more efficient at what I'm doing. Here's how I have reduced my distrations:
1) Turn off social media. I typically don't have social networks running in the background. Instead, I dedicate some the once or twice a day to see that is going on.
2) Shut off email. One of best ways to improve productivity is to shut down email and focus on the tasks at hand.
3) Get focused. I used to keep some of my tasks in a notebook and some in email. Things invariably got lost. Instead of constantly thinking, "What should I do next?" I now use Producteev to manage my task list. It's a free, web-based app that allows me to manually add tasks or easily send them from my email account. Now I spend a bit of time each day sorting my tasks and figuring out exactly what I need to accomplish that day. Then, when I turn off email, I solely focus on whittling away at my list of things I have "assigned" to myself that day.
1) Set up listening posts. As I described in a recent post, I recently changed the way I consume information. I got rid of everything that wasn't most important to me, set up email filters and found apps that made it easy for me to consume and share info. It's made a huge difference.
2) Find a different way to read. I am addicted to my iPad for reading. After working all day, I often had no desire to stare at my laptop to read some blog posts. But, I'm usually happy to read on my iPad. It feels like a break.
3) Listen. When I am too tired to read, I love to listen to podcasts. There is a slew of new marketing-related podcasts that have been released recently, and I'm a big fan of great storytelling, such as This American Life and The Moth.
What do you do when you experience information overload? Do you tune out or do you wade through? How do you balance learning and doing?