Every week I find more sources of leadership learning online. Through the recommendation of friends and links on Twitter, I am discovering new sources of insight, wisdom, and interest. But my computer time is limited. In addition to writing and promoting LeaderTalk for Mountain State University, I also homeschool my three young daughters. I find myself wondering how to keep up with reading and commenting on blogs when the school year starts next week.
Earlier this summer, Penelope Trunk wrote a post entitled “How to feel like you have time to read everything.” Though she made some challenging points, I still feel like I don’t have time to read everything. I bet some of you are in the same situation. Reading and learning more about leadership are high priorities for you, but you may feel overwhelmed by all there is to read.
For me, I think one key will be to make a plan and stick to it. In doing that I am considering what format for blog/online reading has been most successful for me in the past. Here are some questions to consider:
Do you do best with email subscriptions to your favorite blogs? If so, decide which ones you want to read and subscribe to all of them by email.
Do you prefer an RSS feed like Google Reader? If so, make sure you subscribe to all your favorite sites so that you can have them all in one place when you settle in to read.
Do you have a home page on Alltop? Alltop allows you to customize a homepage by saving all your favorite blogs on one page with recent posts listed. Then you only have to visit one page to see all the latest posts from your favorite bloggers.
Do you prefer just clicking around to your favorite sites? If so, you still need to have a favorites list or plan for keeping up with those sites.
This is a very personal decision. What works for you might not work for me. I realize, though, that my indecision about how to read is standing in the way of my actually reading right now. Here’s why: I set up a Google Reader at someone’s suggestion with a few subscriptions, but I never open it. Using RSS feeds is not a habit for me. I don’t want to make it a habit.
I don’t like email subscriptions either. When I check email, I am in email mode, for me, reading and responding to the most time pressing or interesting messages. When I see a subscription, I ignore it. Then I never get back to it later.
My favorite way to read is to click around to sites. Before I started writing LeaderTalk, I was a huge fan of Mom blogs. But I never subscribed to even one. I had a favorites list and whenever I had free moment, I clicked away, and always managed to stay up to date with content. I am going to try the same thing with leadership reading. I will make sure all my favorite sites are on my list and use the list to read whenever I get a moment’s break in my day.
Comments on blog posts extend the learning, creating community and conversation. As a Mom Blog reader, I rarely commented. As a leadership blog reader, I want to join the conversation, especially when the post raises a question in my mind or I have something interesting or useful to contribute. I enjoy receiving comments on my posts because they always add value and insight I hadn’t considered. With that in mind, I am going to renew my efforts to comment on posts frequently.
How do you keep up with your blog reading and commenting? Please share your suggestions here.
This was originally posted at Mountain State University LeaderTalk and is re-posted with permission.
I am the founder/CEO of the Weaving Influence team, the author of Reach: Creating the Biggest Possible Audience for Your Message, Book, or Cause, and the host of the Book Marketing Action Podcast. I’m a wife and mom of three kids, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, coffee, and dark chocolate.
One of the tools I use is Evernote (https://www.evernote.com). As I found postings I have an interest in then I save and tag them in Evernote. I can use the tags to go back and review the topic areas I am investigating and do a more thorough reviewal when needed.
I agree this is a challenging aspect of learning. I’m thinking as we identify more resources the only solution might be social bookmarking within a “Tribe”. We would all know what to access to get the list of recent references. With a crowdsourced list of tags we could find the things we were each interested in quickly. Building on that would be social summaries. Using a Wiki we could create a system for diferent volunteers taking select articles and summarizing them. Then we could read summaries of articles of interest… and occasionally write one ourselves.
I use Evernote too…my question is how to do that so it has value to more people than just me.
I’m a big Evernote fan, too.
As for RSS: I only subscribe to a few feeds now, vs. hundreds (really) that had accumulated over the years. Instead, I subscribe via email to the ones I really care about, have them sent to a second email account just for that purpose, and kick back when I have time to relax and read.
As for commenting: I confess that I don’t comment nearly as much as I would like to. It’s a time issue. So, I pick out a couple of my faves each day and try to do something meaningful vs. a smiley-face one-liner.
You are exactly right, Becky, that learning styles (whether face-to-face or virtual) are personal preferences, and what works for an individual in a specific setting may not be the best fit for others.
I practice the “10 second scan” – if the article, newsletter, blog hasn’t captured my attention within the first 10 seconds, I move on to something else. This practice gives me permission NOT to read everything, and focuses my attention on the best-of-the-best, or Twitter-worthy snippets.
That being said, I wish I had more time to spend reading and learning from all the excellent leadership resources available.
Thanks for writing this post. It’s a great topic. For me, I carve out a window of time every morning where I’ll either write something new or read something new. It’s not unlike what it takes to stay on a physical exercise program – it’s just a mental exercise plan.