Do you or someone you know get a high from gathering helpful information in all types and forms? I’m talking about clipping endless newspaper articles or saving stacks of newspapers because there’s valuable information in them. Or what about magazines? There are hoards of articles in very-well written magazines. The need to save interesting articles, tips and stories is characteristic of who I like to call information junkies. New information in any paper or email form is like heaven to them. The feeling that it all needs to be saved is where we run into a problem.
Our world is filled with endless information via the internet, newspapers, magazines and books, and most of it is free! Every month more updated information surfaces and the latest and the greatest is replaced with the next popular advice and opinion. Consider these thoughts about your need to save information and see if it will help you to stop accumulating it.
- Saving information to reread later is pretty useless. I know this sounds harsh, but when it really comes down to it, the “100 best Chicago restaurants” will be updated next year. The “5 foods to avoid getting cancer” will be added to a list of “Top 10 foods to avoid” next year.
- Information can be found in many forms again and again. For example, you may have always wanted to get into yoga but you haven’t committed yet. Let go of the yoga poses in the health magazine. When you’re ready to do yoga, join a studio. Don’t buy a book or print an article off the internet. Teaching yourself a new hobby isn’t the best idea. Once you know how to do yoga, buying a yoga book might be helpful because then you’ll know that you like the new hobby and are confident you could try poses at home on your own.
- Read an article, absorb it, and let it go. I’m all in favor of learning and adding to your knowledge base, but that’s how I tend to look at things when I read them. When I need the information again or want to know what to do later, I will look it up in greater detail. I’m not missing out on anything; I’m just choosing to trust I can get the information again later when I need it. And I trust my brain to remember the important facts, not every fact, because that would be impossible.
- There is an exception to information junkie habits. If the article is linked to an event or upcoming point in your life, consider filing it away by date or month. So for example, if you meet with your doctor twice a year or insurance agent or financial advisor once a year, file the article away according to the month of your next appointment. When you’re sitting down with your financial advisor, then you can pull out that info and discuss the new funds you want to buy or consider. If you can, go digital and drag the email or article onto your calendar weeks or months out so it’s right there reminding you to reread it.
- Draw boundaries and have specific rules as to how much you’ll save. If you must tear and save some articles, I will allow it, but limit the number of files. Keep it to a max of five general categories of information you like to collect. Periodically go through and update it. You’ll be surprised how quickly it will be outdated and rewritten in a newer version.
Are you an information junkie? What’s your biggest weakness?
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