Tightening the Nozzle on My Information Streams

Downtown Building Water ValvesFinally returned home from DMAC last night. Worked four hours before bed for my brother. And I”m in the middle of a ten hour day at work today. I’m exhausted.

But there’s more. Not only am I exhausted, I can feel ‘stuff’ piling up around me. My dissertation. Information. Responsibilities. News. The lives of my family and friends. Recent scholarship to read. And the list goes on. It’s really been getting on my nerves lately.

Well, not all of it. I’ve gotta call my sister. My grandma. A good friend in Ohio. Those sorts of things are great. But when I feel overwhelmed like this, everything suffers. Not just the stuff lower on my priorities list.

I’ve been thinking about this problem (not uncommon, I assume) for a while, but it really started to bite while at DMAC. So busy. Coming home so tired. But it’s so much fun, and so productive and rewarding! So I clearly have trouble with priorities and life-balance.

I’ve been trying to think about what I can cut, or trim, so that the things I really need to get done–and the things I really want to get done–start getting done. I’ve become increasingly aware of how much information I consume. It’s ridiculous. Twitter. Facebook. RSS feeds. Email. Whew. I don’t want to quit any of these information streams. Each of them offers something substantially different than the others. But there’s just so, so much within those streams that I don’t want to consume. There’s plenty of great information. Rewarding, important stuff. Entertaining, too. But the frequency just isn’t there. And then there’s the impulse to reciprocate someone’s twitter follow, and other reciprocal “followings” like that. I’m just not very good at saying “no.” Which is killing me in terms of social networks.

It’s time to winnow my streams. Stop following some people on Twitter. Unfriend a few folks on Facebook. Trim lots of feeds from my RSS reader. And get ruthless with email.

What will I do with any time I might recover from this info diet? Finish my dissertation. Write more digital stories. Share the products of that work as short videos, audio files, blog posts, etc. On the spectrum of consumer to producer, I want to slide myself back toward producer.

And now you know how I’ll be spending my Saturday evening. Tightening the nozzle on the social media stream. And writing something. And sharing it. For the first time in a while, I can’t wait to get home from work so I can get something done.