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Do we ever get to the “end” anymore?

November 1, 2011








We’re about one-quarter of the way through #change11 now.  Thankfully, the end of the course is a long way off.  Over the past few weeks, I have recognized that I have a primal need to get to the “end” of things when it comes to managing my information flow.

Before you shout “Hey, brainy, there IS no end”, let me explain further:

I don’t receive notifications from Twitter, FaceBook, blogs or other sources in my email.  I go and look at them separately when I want to, which is often at home due to bandwidth and firewall issues at work.

I maintain my email inbox and sent mail folder to less than one screen at all times (about 30 messages each).  I’ve been doing this for about five years now and it keeps me calm.  If I have to scroll down the screen, I know that I will lose track of things.   I honestly don’t know how much time people are willing to waste in a day while searching for that one email among thousands in a pile.  I refuse to do that.  Maybe it’s a little obsessive-compulsive of me but it works.

I have a reading folder within my email where I drop great stuff from my newsletter subscriptions and my personal learning network if I don’t make time to read it straight out of my inbox.  Sometimes I just copy the selected links that I want to read into one draft email and then ditch the full volume of text and hyperlinks so they don’t continue to scream at me.

It doesn’t matter how many great insights that I jump off and read along the way.  I still get excited as I watch my grey scroll bar get closer to the bottom of The Daily.  Yay, now I’m done!  I can delete that email and feel that I’m caught up.

All this reminds me fondly of an email joke that circulated about a decade ago regarding the end of the internet.  I know that my learning journey has no end and I’m not looking for one.  I just need to know that I have reached the end of the list of information sources that I can reasonably manage in one day.  Then I can turn off my screen and go outside without feeling like I’m going to drown when I come back in.

We touched on how much we can manage in Nancy White’s delightfully interactive #socialartist live session yesterday.  Does getting to the “end” matter to you, too?  If so, how do you manage it?


From → Smarter worker

  1. In some ways, getting to the end, or meeting those objectives and finishing, reminds me of how satisfying a movie is when it ends with some sort of resolution of difficulties. I feel “phew, it’s done.” Of course, I also want to know what would happen to Benjy in the Sound and the Fury after the book ends, or what really happened in the final days of President Reagan, or even what happens next in the Star Wars saga — we like closure but we also want the story to continue.

    The satisfaction of learning dissolves as soon as the next area of interest appears.

    (PS, I wish you were on Twitter!)

    • Thanks for this! I think you’re on to something about the closure. And I know the story will continue (another Daily, more blog posts, etc.) so it’s nice to put a ribbon around the day’s chapter somehow.

      I think I would get more out of Twitter if I could have it stream nicely at work. There’s something about our firewalls that make it grind and not load correctly so it’s something for home but I don’t spend much time online at home. Maybe one Thursday I’ll spend some time on #lrnchat or simllar. 🙂

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