Simplifying Information


I love to learn. Information is like catnip to me.  So in order not to drown in information, I have had to systemize things.

Library Books

For instance, when I get library books, I look at how many pages the book is and how many days I have before it is due. I divide how many pages by how many days to find out about how many pages I need to read a day. Then I write that number on a small piece of paper, which becomes my bookmark. I don’t necessarily read that exact number of pages each day, but I try to stay close or I know I won’t finish the book on time.

If I do the calculations before I get the books out, I can prevent myself from getting too many books out at one time. Sometimes I’ll bring home a nice stack of 6 books I am curious about and I find out there is no way I can read them all.


I keep a stack of 5 books that I am reading. I can’t get out a new one to read, until at least one in the pile is done. If I don’t do that I have a lot of half-finished books. I already do from before I implemented it, so I am using this system to go through the back log,

However I don’t force myself to finish any books I don’t find interesting. If I don’t want to finish it, it will move to my give away pile.

E-books and Courses

I also like reading things online. Once a week on Tuesdays I take about 15 min to an hour to read an ebook or do a course. I take notes so I can delete the book when I am done. I only keep a few on my hard drive.

Email newsletters

I keep a separate bulk mail folder in my gmail account, so the newsletters don’t distract me from work by calling to me from the in-box. Once a week, on  the weekends I can read the newsletters.


With so many great ideas, I need a place to store them before I try them. I have a file folder called Implement that has ideas from magazines, pinterest, book notes, etc. Then once a week or once a month I pick one or two ideas out to play with.

Do you have any ideas that have helped with too much information?



  • Dana Lynne says:

    Ok, I very geekily loved reading this. I have always been a big time reader and I’m definitely an information gatherer. I did recently start feeling that my reading was getting too scattered though and so I began reading one book at a time… just one… beginning to end. It’s actually been working very well for me. I’m averaging about 3-4 books a week (and I am not able to sit around and read all day as I would like, so this isn’t the result of doing nothing else but reading). I don’t know if it’s something I will always do or if I will eventually go back to multiples. But for now it really has my focus, attention and learning.
    Anyway I just felt compelled to share that since I enjoyed reading how you organize as well.
    Happy reading!

  • Sandi P says:

    I’ve had so much trouble finishing books from the library that I now just go the the used book store in the library and get any books that interest me there. That way I have no pressure to finish a book by a certain time, and the price of the book is usually less than the fines I would pay. When I am finished, it will usually go right back the the used book store at the library (I do keep a very few). That way I’m supporting the library and reducing the time pressure in my life.

  • Maggie says:

    I am a voracious reader and have a ton of books that I have picked up from the library sales each spring. But the library still calls me and I find myself reading those and not touching those on my shelves at home. So this year I have started a new way to read. One month, I only read books from the library and the next – only those in my home library. Also, once I read MY books, I give them away. My husband is always delighted to see my taking books to friends. However, I need to find a way to stop going to the library sales. However, on the last day of the sale, everything is half price and for $5 -$10 bucks, I can find some paperbacks I wanted to read but didn’t want to spend full price for them.
    This is going to be a tough one to conquer, but I’m going to try.
    Again, Beth, I love the way you make me take a different look at the things I do.

  • Beth Dargis says:

    Just asking the questions is a great start, Maggie!

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