I ran across a post by Mark Driscoll about Silence. I should know as much as anybody what it’s like to have a steady stream of information coming in, yet for some reason I don’t feel it as a crushing weight. I read a lot of bloggers complaining about a lack of silence. For some reason, I tend to feel comfortable with a lot of information coming in at once. I subscribe to 113 blogs at present in Google Reader. Some of them are like Lifehacker and put up a lot of posts a day. A few of them haven’t put up a new post in months. I also subscribe to several podcasts through iTunes, which I sync to my iPod Touch. I find a lot of websites on the internet that I want to read and look into more. On top of it all, I seem to have new books and magazines flowing into my house faster than I can read the old ones.
How do I do it without going crazy? Good question. Perhaps it’s because I don’t have many friends and therefore have more time, but that’s not true. I have a family and a job.
Let me tell you my trick, which really doesn’t seem like it’s that tricky. I don’t let the flow of information coming in become my master. If a blog that I follow starts to get out of hand or starts to become a waste of my time, I delete the feed from Google Reader. I periodically reevaluate the podcasts I subscribe to. At one point, I had more podcasts than any human being could keep up with and I had to reevaluate which ones my time was best spent listening to. I used to love Leo LaPorte’s TWIT network, but I finally got tired of listening to them complaining about Windows Vista, plus their podcasts got longer and became more like listening to friends ramble than a panel of experts discussing pertinent tech topics. I deleted those subscriptions as they weren’t a good use of my time anymore. Other podcasts became more important to the limited time I have. I’ve had plenty of other podcasts that I stopped subscribing to.
As for my books, I just let them pile up. When I finish one, I pick another one. Sometimes I pick one up and just can’t get into it, so I put it aside and get another one. I have plenty to choose from. I dream one day of having a huge personal library like blue-blood rich people in movies have, with bookshelves all the way up the wall that require ladders to get to the top. That would be so cool.
I’ve written before that for those rare times that I don’t want to talk on the phone, I ignore calls or just shut the phone off. I don’t do that often. It’s very rare.
There are some things I just can’t do anything about. The location of my cubicle at work is an example. I have the corner cube outside the conference room and next to the door, so people walk by looking in at me all day, plus people are in the conference room and other people walk by, stop, and talk loud. I can’t do anything about that and it does drive me nuts. I also can’t do anything about traffic, and I can’t do anything about crowds. But for those “inputs” that I have control over, I keep the relationship just like that: I keep them under control,.
If you feel like the information streaming into your life is totally out of control, then get it under control. Draw some boundaries. I don’t mean push your family out of the picture, but draw some boundaries. Take some charge and responsibility for yourself. I recommend the book “Boundaries” by Cloud and Townsend if you need help in this area. The link is below, and I have also added the book to my Amazon aStore if you find that more convenient.