What do all successful people have in common? According to Forbes magazine, a common attribute is they are all voracious readers. We’re all busy people. We probably all feel like we read enough. But, we’re wrong. We should all probably read more. The more information we’re exposed to, the more ideas we have and the more value we add.
For me, there’s two steps to consuming information. First, you have to sift through all of the information from your sources and locate content that interests you and you find value in. Next, you have to be able to return to that content to consume it.
To further complicate matters, we peruse content on a wide variety of devices. How do we consolidate material from multiple sources and be able to consume it later regardless of our chosen device?
First, the most valuable information comes from people I already know and trust. They share things that they think I would like. I follow people because I like the content they’ve shared previously. For these types of sources, I like Flipboard for social media aggregation. Posts from Facebook and Twitter are displayed in magazine format.
We all know the volume of fluff we all deal with every time we encounter social media. Memes, political postings, scripture… It’s all captivating and entertaining but its not what we’re looking for when searching for content that is going to help us grow professionally. But, there’s gems among the silt and we can make it easier by refining our lists. On Facebook we can say” don’t show any more posts like this ” or “from this person”. On Twitter, we can create lists that only contain the people who post content relative to what you’re looking for. With or without social media, Flipboard is a great piece of software that displays articles with a terrific user experience.
If you don’t want to use social media sources, another app that I like is called Zite. It’s actually made by our friends at CNN, but let me assure you, you’ll get content impartiality from a HUGE variety of very reputable sources. Much like FlipBoard, just pick categories that you’re interested in and you view the articles in a magazine-style format. In the same way Pandora has thumbs up/thumbs down, Zite displays this for each article you read and machine-learns what topics you prefer within each category.
In the upcoming release of iOS9, there will be a new app from Apple called Apple News, not to be confused with the current Newsstand app. It is said to be the “Flipboard killer”. We’ll see, but that will be an option for iPhone/iPad users in the Fall of 2015.
The secret sauce here is an app called Pocket. It’s available for iOS, Android and Mac. Windows users don’t despair, the website reader is absolutely awesome. Install Pocket on your devices and integrate it in with your apps. When you press the SHARE button, one of your options will now be Pocket. There are browser extensions available for the desktop to share the content you look at there with Pocket. Of course, this all syncs in the cloud and you can read your articles using Pocket on the device of your choosing.
If you are already heavily entrenched into using another one of the note apps like OneNote or Evernote, by all means you can use those as well. In fact, being able to organize articles into folders is a nice advantage of using such software rather than using tags like in Pocket. I just prefer the visual display and user experience of Pocket and I like to segregate my OneNote information and keep it by itself.
By consolidating content of value into a single source and making that content available on any of your devices, you increase the amount of content that you have the ability to consume and increase the time that you have available to read.