With the abundance of information at our fingertips, the world has become increasingly distracting. Although the abundance of material available through social media, and search engines might be beneficial for some, especially knowledge workers trying to expand their horizons, it can be counterproductive to attaining our research goals. I have repeatedly witnessed myself get lost in the labyrinth of online content without completing the session’s intended objectives. Just to avoid such distractions, I have been working on a system to gather “just in time” instead of “just in case” information. These strategies are quite effective if you’re particularly pressed for time:
1. Thought leaders: These can be individuals who are visible online and frequently aggregate and promote relevant information. These individuals generate original content and curate insightful and relevant content, e.g., articles and reports. Our primary task will be to identify and diligently follow these thought leaders.
2. Google Alerts: This tool is quite helpful for compiling pertinent articles based on particular keywords. For instance, if someone is interested in behavioral economics, he can find specific terms related to this field and add them to Google Alert. This feature also offers customizable options to help determine how frequently emails with aggregated material are sent out to your inbox.
3. Productivity app: We all have the propensity to open excessive numbers of tabs or end up on social media sites, which frequently results in less productivity. Numerous programs and browser add-ons, like Stay Focused, One Tab, and others, encourage self-control by limiting excessive social media usage and the number of superfluous tabs opened in online browsers.
4. Podcasts and electronic books: Paying attention to relevant audiobooks and podcasts can offer a wealth of pertinent information and insights to stay current on particular areas of interest. I personally enjoy listening to relevant content when taking an evening stroll or working out in the gym. Speaking of “win-win”.
5. Pocket: This tool is immensely useful if you’re looking to earmark articles that are interesting but not relevant to your current investigation. During the weekends, I frequently read every article in my pocket account.
6. Book summary: Platforms like Blinkist and getAbstract can condense and distill the essential ideas in non-fiction books into a few pages to consume on the go.