It’s no surprise that many of us feel overwhelmed in an age where information is flying at us faster than we can process it. Our brains are assaulted with media on a daily basis, and with increasingly busy lives, there seems to be no time to sift through it all.
As a self-proclaimed information junkie, I know the struggle. I am eternally curious and love learning new things. So, it’s tempting for me to read every article, listen to every podcast, and read every book.
But this drive for learning can often leave me feeling trapped in a swirling vortex of information with no actual movement forward with it.
I’d heard the concept more times than I could count from mentor-from-afar, Chalene Johnson. But in true information junkie style, I had a hard time embracing the idea: that we should focus our attention in seasons and tailor our information consumption accordingly.
When focusing on a season of leadership, for example, it doesn’t make sense to spend time on a podcast episode about meal prep — no matter how interesting it might sound. The focus should remain on leadership for a deep dive into the topic. Focused learning, followed by intentional action leads to the forward movement that is so often missing with scattered information overload. And while we can never completely avoid exposure to other media topics (that would be impossible), we can control how we voluntarily choose our media time by using seasons to streamline it all.
I’ve now utilized this practice through several seasons: simplicity, spirituality, self-care, etc. It’s been quite a shift from the way I first consumed podcasts many years ago. Back then, it was predominantly health and fitness shows/episodes, but I also listened to anything else that caught my fancy. Before I knew it, my podcast subscriptions and “Up Next” queue had gotten ridiculously out of hand — to the point that it would actually stress me out trying to figure out how I was going to make a dent in it. That’s when I realized that I had to simplify.
I went through and edited my podcast subscriptions first. Anything that wasn’t connected to my current season in some way was on the chopping block. The same went for books, articles, and videos. Anything not connected went in a “later” file.
Just cutting back on on the sheer number of podcasts in my library was a liberating experience, albeit a little scary too. Perhaps I’ve always been afraid to let go of all that information — afraid of missing out on something important.
Seasons are not forever, though. The very point of them is that they will naturally fluctuate over time. While I’m focused on self-care right now, for example, I’ll transition to a different season when it’s time. I remind myself that the resubscribe button will always be there for whatever I need.
Whether your season is personal or career/business-related, the ability to focus on one theme in your media consumption can help you make the most of the information. You’ll be able to connect the big ideas that emerge frequently in the field, as well as see everything else in the world through that focused lens for a time. Your season can help you evaluate and prioritize all the information that comes your way and competes for your attention.
There’s no way around the fact that we live in a media-saturated world now. All we can do is experiment with various ways of managing it all to support our own growth and well-being. A season of focus can be another tool in your toolbox as you navigate an ever-changing media landscape.