Tagged With information overload

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Best-selling author Tim Ferriss offers digital minimalism tips to reduce the amount of time you spend in your email inbox.

Investment bankers aren't known for their impulse control. Several global firms in Zurich don't allow their bankers to check email more than twice per day. The reason is simple: the more they check email, the more compelled they feel to send email. Technologist Robert Scoble has said that for each email he sends, he gets 1.75 to 2 messages in return. This phenomenon highlights the unscalable nature of most time-management approaches: striving to do more just produces increasingly more to do.

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With an overwhelming amount of information you read online everyday, how do you keep it all inside? Perhaps you need to really focus on what's important. Trim down the fat. Ignore the unimportant parts. To keep what you've read in lasting memory, implement what you have learned—more than once. Allocate your most productive time to reading to give your full attention to learning what's in print. Acknowledge visual cues, such as bold text, as they highlight the more important parts of the articles. Take notes on articles that you feel are most important, and then read, recite, and review all at the same time. If you need to refer to the material later, make sure to bookmark the page so that it's easily accessible when you need it next. How do you absorb everything you've read online? Share your best tactics in the comments. 10 Tips to Retain More of What You Read Online

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Blogger Todd Wilkens is waging a personal war against laptops and BlackBerries in office meetings, and says you shouldn't be afraid to lay down the law. Someone has to be the one to stand up to the social pressure. It can be an uncomfortable prospect but it is necessary. Luckily, you'll find that many people secretly want to have the excuse to disconnect and focus. They just don't want to take the risk of making people upset. Don't be afraid to make people a little uncomfortable in the name of productivity.

He has some great suggestions for how to overcome protests, like building breaks in long meetings so folks don't feel uncomfortable being offline for hours, and reminding clients that they're paying you to watch them check their email. Heh.

My personal war against Crackberry

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To make his web site feed subscriptions more manageable, blogger Matt Wood organises them not by topic, but by how much he can stand to miss 'em. So instead of categories like "Sports" or "Blogs," he uses folder names that range from "Can't Miss" to "Skip 'Em" (feeds he only reads when he has time). The folder names are different, but I use the same system because it gives you permission to hit "Mark all as read" more often and with less guilt. How do you organise your feeds? Let us know in the comments.

Sink or Swim: Managing RSS Feeds with Better Groups

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You already know you've got more than a few options when it comes to halting junk mail and opting out of marketing databases, but there's nothing wrong with having another handy, multi-list tool available. New web site ProQuo provides one-click access to getting rid of coupon packets, removing yourself from marketing lists, joining the National Do Not Call Registry and even opting out of directory services like WhitePages.com and Switchboard. ProQuo is free, but a few of the blockers it compiles require mailing or even a small fee (thanks a lot, Direct Marketing Association).

ProQuo

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Sick of answering those telemarketing calls that always seem to arrive just as you're expecting something more important? Want a little less mail to sort through? The World Privacy Forum web site has a helpful roundup of the best ways to opt out of marketing materials online and off, stop data brokers from snooping through your life and avoid being pinned down by browser cookies. A few of these tips have been covered before on this site, but there are a few unique tips, and the page makes for a good all-in-one bookmark for protecting your data and cleaning out the marketing clutter.

AU - The Australian Do Not Call register can be found here.

World Privacy Forum: Top Ten Opt Outs