CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Do you have piles of articles hanging around screaming to be read? Or file folders, tote bags or briefcases stuffed with information? If so, you're just like a lot of us.
After all, the time-management theories tell us to keep this information handy for those times we're waiting. It just seems that I don't have enough dental appointments to get through all of these. (Not to mention the fact that I have a very punctual dental team -- thanks, Gus and Liz!)
Whether it's work-related information or the latest article on nutrition or fitness, most of us succumb to information overload from time to time.
I definitely fall into this category. Since I started writing this column, I tend to examine lots of things more closely than I used to with the possibility they could be potential column fodder. Other columnists have told me they do this, too. Which is fine, until the background research starts to take on a life of its own.
Last weekend I set out to do a clean sweep of multiple piles of information at my house. During the process I ran across several articles on things I'd like to try out. And I made a mental note to check them out.
Later, while organizing drawers in another part of the house, I found that I'd already ordered one of the items and stored it until I had the time to devote to trying it out. That's when I decided I was on information overload. It was time to draw the line.
In an act of bravery, I tossed out a pile of newspapers that had accumulated while I was out of town. Although I scan news stories online when I'm away, I like to go through the actual papers to read human-interest features.
What if a new restaurant opened up while I was gone? Or someone's son or daughter got married? My friend John assures me that if he really needs to know about something, someone will tell him. And Pam reminds me that "life is like the Home Shopping Network. If you miss the mallard ducks, you can always get the faux pearls."
Logically, I know I can replace just about any information I need if I happen to toss the hard copy. With the advent of the Internet we can trace most everything or get pointed in the direction of appropriate resources. I just need to let go.
As fate would have it, I've saved a collection of resource information on this very topic. And this seems just the perfect time to explore it. Worksmart Productivity Consulting offers the following suggestions:
How to decide what to keep and what to throw away
These three items are reasons to keep information:
1. Am I legally required to keep this? Example: tax purposes, patent requirements, contract requirements, government regulations. If YES, keep it.