We’re living in a time commonly known as the Information Age. As we all know, information is easily available at our fingertips. But that’s where it’s staying. Right at our fingertips but not in our minds. What’s happening is that we’re facing an extreme case of content overload. The amount of content that is created and shared continues to grow on a daily basis. That is excellent. Unfortunately it has come to a point where we’re surfing a tide that has become so strong, making it difficult to keep up with the current and stay current. It’s almost as if our ability to read has gone beyond literacy skills. Often times, we have the illusion of being too busy to read content. But I refuse to accept that. Not just because I’m content writer, but because I see a lot of value in taking a responsible role in creating, consuming, and sharing content. Here are some tips on how you can navigate the web and read content with a greater sense of enjoyment and purpose.
Choose what matters to you and prioritize accordingly
As you sift through the sea of content on your social media streams, something may pique your interest. It’s great to know that the heading did something to catch your eye, its a sign that it did its job. But don’t just fall in love with the heading alone. Think of what you might gain from reading the content that lies beyond the heading. If you don’t have time to read it right away, then you can always bookmark it or use the “Save link” option on your Facebook feed. You say you forgot about that article you bookmarked? No problem! Try to schedule some time with yourself to meaningfully read the article in its entirety. Book that time for yourself in your planner if need be. Allocating your time to read content may also improve your sleep patterns if you plan accordingly. It’s a good rule of thumb to avoid screens an hour before sleeping. Screentime before bed has been shown to be detrimental to your sleep patterns and overall health.
Redefine the word “busy”
The major root of content overload is the perceived busyness of our lives. Believe me, it’s a tough root to dig out. But when you think about it, are we really all that busy all the time? Most likely not. Take some time to think about what’s really keeping you busy. Are you busy or productive? There’s a difference between the two.
Keep your hands off the mouse as you read
You’re probably asking: “but how will I scroll through the article?” It’s a totally valid question. You can still scroll by using the arrow keys on your keyboard. Keeping your hands on the mouse can make it easier to indulge in the temptation to open tabs that are unrelated to the article you’re reading. Which leads me to the next point.
Keep one tab open at a time or minimize the amount of tabs you leave open on your browser
The exception to this rule is of course when you are opening an article that is backlinked in the content you’re reading. You don’t need to read every backlinked article. Backlinked articles are there to enhance your content reading experience. They are not intended to create content overload.
Avoid using your phone to read articles
The key is to avoid multi-tasking. There is always a time and place for multi-tasking. However, content reading is not one of them. There is so much information out there that deserves our undivided attention. Toggling between reading an article while getting notifications and calls on your phone and watching Netflix doesn’t work very well. You may neglect something important. It’s almost like texting and driving. The two don’t mix. Ever.
Anyone who wants to maintain a strong web presence is faced with this very content conflict. People may not read your content because there is just too much out there. However, those who are creating content for their own interest or professional development know how important it is to create and disseminate fresh content on a regular basis. When someone asks you to read their blog, web content, or newsletter or any other content filled platform, it’s because they’ve taken the time to provide you with information that may be of interest or benefit to you. I hope these tips will help you recognize what exactly you’re missing when you don’t read content. Overall, reading content helps you to formulate informed decisions and opinions on the issues that matter to you. Follow these tips and see how they might help you. Comment below to add some more tips as well. If you’re a content creator who is having trouble reaching your audience, then feel free to share this article!