Keeping Up

In this age of information overload, keeping up with what's going on can become a full time job. Most of us don't have that much time. But, on the other hand, we don't want to be "out of the loop." The problem, then, is finding a way to keep up without spending an inordinate amount of time doing it.

There are two major categories of "keeping up": (1) Keeping up with the news; and (2) Keeping up with the information you have found.

Keeping Up With the News

The trick to keeping up with the news is locating a small number of sources which you can monitor on a daily basis. They should give you the type of news and the subject areas in which you are most interested.

To begin this search, I would suggest that you test a large spread of news sources and decide which ones you prefer. The major sources are television, radio, newspapers, news services, and the Web. I personally avoid television because the news takes to long to hear and is biased towards the interests of large corporations. I avoid newspapers because they take far too long to read and do not focus on my interests... and they can be very expensive. I also avoid news services because they are expensive. I listen to radio news once a day for a quick summary of local and national news. I get the rest of my news from the Web and from listservs.

The Web has a great deal to offer in the news area, both traditional news and sources that give you an alternative view of what's happening. I have two large lists of news sources that can get you started sampling what is available:

1. Today's News (traditional)
2. Alternate News Sources (non-traditional)
If you have found yourself interested, as this course progressed, in becoming a critical thinker, I would strongly suggest that you use at least one or two of the news sources listed as "alternate." Many of the sources listed also give you the choice of signing up for a listserv so that their news comes to your email on a weekly or monthly basis.

Here is the list that I use for myself. This can serve as an example of the list you might compile for yourself:

Okay, okay. I admit. I spend too much time checking the news. You will want to narrow your sources more than I have. Try out the links and see what you like the best.

Keeping Up With Your Information

Whatever your areas of interest, you will quickly reach a point where you will want to try to organize your information in some manner. For the organization of your paper notes, see Organizing Your Notes.

To organize your digital information, you will want to look into the area of Personal Information Management (PIM). There have been many software programs written to solve this problem for you. On a more basic level, however, you will want to learn how to use what you already have. For instance, there are many ways to organize your email by using named files for storage, and filtering for sorting through the emails as you receive them. I prefer to use Eudora for my email because of its strong PIM features. To learn more, go to the program you use and explore the tutorial area. Explore the help function. Try also exploring the function buttons across the top of the screen. You will be amazed at all the choices available to you.

I will go into some other choices in a later file called How to Automate Your Life.


Please send comments to: Colby Glass, MLIS

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