Business Idea #107 – Put Your Systems in Place

by Byron on June 1, 2012

The Problem:

The world of information seems to be growing exponentially.  It is overwhelming.  It can impede productivity or even impede a general sense of well being.

The Business

First, put your own systems in place to handle the information flow.  Next, set up a business doing it for others.  It’s distinctly possible, if you could solve this problem for someone, they would pay you.

Doableness

You need a comprehensive understanding of possible information sources and information synthesizers.  Many companies, products, and services have excellent tools to synthesize information.  Most go unused.  For example, how many of us really use “rules” in our email the way we should?  How many of us know what google alerts are and how powerful they can be?  How many of us know we can monitor when a particular webpage changes?  How many of us try to unfollow on twitter as much as we follow?

Information intake needs to be a process.  Everything you do needs to be done with the idea of making it scalable.  If you do something, know that you will have to do it again.  If you have to find an email buried deep in your email folders, you will have to do it again.  Have you ever thought of resending that email to yourself, tagged with the words it will take your brain to find it again?

I don’t know how easy this is to turn into a business.  I only know it’s a problem many people have.  Thanks to my Aunt Robin for pointing me in the direction of Peter Bregman’s HBR post, Two Things You Should Look at Every Morning.  An excellent piece that introduces the concept of an ignore list and got me thinking about this concept.

My Thoughts

I get major news headlines from Google Trends; I get specific pieces of information I’m looking for from Google alerts.  I stopped reading any general newspaper.  My email has rules.  I unsubscribe often; I unfollow often.

But first, I figured out what was important to me.  I make conscious choices about what I consume.  I don’t consume it unless it is somehow important to me or my life.  (I have one exception to the “important to me or my life” rule.  I try to, once a week, let myself fall into an “Internet hole.”  I start anywhere.  I click on the next thing I’m interested in.  I keep clicking and consuming for a few hours.  This “learning new things I didn’t set out to know process” actually is important to me and my life, as it helps give me broader perspective.)

I’m a curious person.  On of the hardest parts of the process for me is simply saying, I can’t pay attention to this.  I may find it interesting, but it doesn’t rate in my priorities.

Of course, this implies that I know what my priorities are.  I do.  Do you?

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