One of the things that I have been meaning to do for a long time has been to learn Drupal and the LAMP stack. Last week, I got together with a friend of mine and we set up a local host server on my computer. I know it doesn't look like much right now, but the more I study up on Drupal, the more interested I become.
santo26 on 08.23.11 @ 12:12 PM PST [link]
Thursday, August 18th
Too Much Information
"Too much information running through my brain/ Too much information, driving me insane"
A few months ago, I proclaimed that the athenaverse was now an "information management blog." In the spirit of that earlier promise, I thought I would share with you my recent struggles to manage my own information.
As I began to write this, I thought about The Police song I linked to at the top of this post. They were one of the first bands I liked when I was a kid back in the '80s. Back then, I just grooved on their music, but now I can appreciate them on a whole other level.
Were The Police being prophetic, or have we been facing this problem for a long time? The only difference is that now there is so much information being produced, so much data being collected it's nearly impossible to make sense of it all.
I've spent the last two years learning all I can about information management. In that time, I was inundated with information from professors and fellow students. From the information I received from them, I went out and acquired more information about the subjects that I was interested in. How much of the material I collected have I read, processed, and put to use? I'm willing to bet the answer is not very much.
In addition, the advent of the modern web browser has not exactly been the best thing for me. I have always been a voracious reader and researcher of topics that are of interest to me. The problem is that I like doing research almost as much as reading and comprehending the materials I have located.
The end result of this has been that I have, as I write this, a Firefox web browser open with three windows open and 50+ tabs open on a variety of subjects. My study was filled to the gills with books on various subjects, tons and tons of magazines and papers that hadn't been sorted, 20-30 library books out, some of which I hadn't opened since I brought them home, and my hard drives (internal and external) are in pretty much the same shape. Everywhere I turned I was literally knocking over piles of stuff in my study. I'm almost out of storage space- physical and virtual.
That is what all this information has become- stuff. Information that is not being used and is not being stored in such a way that it can be easily accessed and used becomes stuff.
And having all this stuff, too much stuff, has been affecting me mentally. If you're researching 10 different topics and you have 20-30 books out of the library and all these PDFs in your download folder, you have all this stuff you have to do now in addition to your daily duties and errands to run and things that pop up. Eventually, you feel like you're never getting around to doing any of the stuff that you want to be doing, and so now the things that interest you and you want to be doing have become stuff too.
I think that it's possible to do more than one thing at once, but is it really worth it? I have heard that multitasking impairs your cognitive abilities in much the same way that drinking does, so why do we hear multitasking being spoken of as a good thing? And why do I want to have that feeling of being overwhelmed and being pulled in 17 different directions at once when I'm not at work? Why should I feel it when I'm at work?
So how did I deal with this problem of my study? I pulled the plug on it- I took everything out of the room and now it is rather bare. The plan is to go through all of the stuff until I have culled it to a reasonable amount of the best books and the most useful papers that are filed. I plan to do the same to my computer's hard drive as well.
I returned almost all of the books to the library and I'm only trying to read one at a time. Isn't that crazy that I have reached the point where I have to remind myself to read one book at a time?
I have taken on too many activities and trying to indulge in too many interests at once. Gluttony was a sin last time I checked and I'm in the midst of trying to pare them down as well.
Trying to keep my study bare has been great- so much so that I almost don't want to put anything back in. The only problem is that I would have to get rid of most of my stuff. Is that a problem? Whatever I keep would reacquire the status of information, which I could then transform into knowledge, and who knows, maybe some of that could attain the status of wisdom.
All I know is that if I'm going to be able to be taken seriously as a thought leader in the information management field (or take myself seriously), I need to exercise some self-discipline around my own information.
The best part is that by going through this process I feel much better. I have also been writing more than I have in a long time because I am engaging in the activities that are most important to me. And you, dear reader, get to share in the benefits of this process!
Persistence is the key. I have persistently had athenaverse.com up on the Internet in some form (with more than a little help from my friends) for over 11 years now, yet how often have I given the world new material?
I want to let you in on a little secret- I have always wanted to have my own media outlet, and it turns out I have had one for 11 years. The thing is that if you only update once every other month and generate little if any interesting content, then the only people who will ever read this are the interweb tumbleweeds, the spiders, and the occasional person looking for "Gargoyles" fan fiction (and let me tell you, you're in the wrong place).
If you go back, there's several posts similar to this one in the archives, and sometimes I actually did post for a few days in a row. This time it will be different.
I have been persistent lately in doing a daily writing exercise, and have done it for 23 of the last 38 days, which may not sound like much, but I've gone months in between doing them sometimes since I started the practice in 2008. As a result, I have been doing a lot more writing. I have even gone to Tae Kwon Do for 2 days in a row (4 classes total).
Maybe I won't write a huge amazing blog post today, tomorrow, or the next day, but if I get in the habit of writing one every day, they're sure to follow. Who knows- maybe someday, someone besides the spiders and the spambots will read these entries...
I have talked to more than a few people my age recently about the Debt Ceiling Crisis and the financial repercussions that are literally taking place in the stock market as I write this. Everyone is quite concerned, and most of the people think that America is in serious trouble, if not "done for." To everyone out there who feels this way, I have one question: "What are we going to do about it?"