How to use a filter to stay informed without wasting time

by Carl Natale on November 23, 2010

FilterI like to talk about filters. But what are they?

I see a filter as a process that separates interesting, informative and reliable content from everything else that bombards us daily.

Let me show you an example.

I have Google Reader organized by folders. The folder I label “Inspiring Commerce” has more than 70 sources of news and information about small business, freelancing and entrepreneurship. That’s a lot of content that you don’t have time to check.

I scan that content, pick out the best and link to it in my Twitter feed. That is a filter you can use to learn about business without sifting through all my sources.

Granted it’s not a great filter. But it’s a free filter. If you’re looking for a better filter, first consider what is creating the problem.

Without the filter, here’s where you could be looking for information you need to keep current in your industry:

  • Newspapers & broadcast news
  • Books
  • Magazines
  • Blogs
  • Podcasts

If you try to keep current with too many sources, you will find:

  • There are too many sources of information
  • New sources are created every day
  • It’s hard to identify the trusted sources
  • There isn’t enough time to sift through all the sources

Here’s how a good filter can help you:

  • Sifts through the content and finds what you need
  • Looks for new sources and tests their trustworthiness
  • Delivers new information through the medium you prefer
  • Keeps the filtered content concise
  • Streamlines your research and learning curves

Sure, you can cut back on the content you consume. But what are you missing? There has to be a better way to stay informed and have time to put the information to use.

Like I said. A filter is an efficient way to stay informed.

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