I used to be terrible at this! Whenever I came across some good content, how to’s or suggestions I would consume it there and then… and guess what, most of the time it wouldn’t stick! I would forget it, and if I needed the information at a later date (less often than you think), I would need to read and learn it again. What an ineffective use of my time!
Now I practice the art of Just in Time Information, as opposed to Just in Case information! The concept was first introduced to me by Tim Ferriss in his book The 4-Hour Work Week, and he adopted the principle from programmer and game developer, Kathy Sierra. Tim challenges you to ask “Will I definitely use this information for something immediate and important?… If no… then don’t consume it.”
What are We Trying to Achieve?
- Avoid consuming educational material earlier than needed, to avoid ineffective repeated learning. Nobody has time for that!
- Avoid consuming content for the sake of it. Exercise the “Low Information Diet” (as Tim Ferriss calls it), and take back your time!
- In an age of information overload, we can get very overwhelmed when trying to learn something new. Instead, we need to focus and target the learning. There’s a lot of content out there, focus on the most relevant for you at the time it is needed!
What Not to Do!
Is what I used to do! When I first started my journey in online business I was reading books, reading blog posts and consuming audio books all the time. It was learn, learn, learn for me! And while this got me ‘up the curve’ very quickly, it didn’t really result in achieving or executing much in the early stages.
I knew a lot (or at least I thought I did)! But I hadn’t executed the lessons. Two things were missing:
- A Goal – I was missing both a major goal (like a 90 day goal) and minor goals (like weekly or daily goals). What I was also missing here was a foundation of success habits to consistently establish these goals.
- Targeted Learning – What I actually needed to understand and learn to achieve my goals.
How to Achieve Just in Time Learning?
The first step is to have clarity. You need a clear direction and goal of what you would like to achieve. You then break this down into ‘micro’ goals, of what you need to achieve right now and this week in order to achieve that higher goal.
The second step, is to go and find the information, read the books and blog posts relating to the task you need to complete, at the time you need to complete it (not before).
Take for example: You need to build a website and you know you want it to have a blog using WordPress. Your goal is to start a website by the end of the week, therefore today you need to find somewhere to host your website. Now you go and search: ‘best website hosting for wordpress’ in Google.
The key is to focus your learning to things which are immediately relevant now, in order to achieve those short term goals. Target your information consumption, and you will be well on your way to being a highly productive person!
That’s Great, though What do I do with the Good but Currently Irrelevant Stuff?
You save it for later! This means bookmarking, adding to wish lists, printing and filing physically… or better yet printing to PDF and storing on your computer or cloud! If you need it in the future, then you can easily access it! If you end up never needing it, then no harm done… you used a few kB or MB of data, which is cheap, but most importantly you saved your precious time.
But!!!… Don’t just do what many people do and dump it on an unsorted bookmark list, in a random folder chucked at the back of your cupboard or on your ever growing desktop! Organize it and categorized it properly. This is the stuff you need to build your business with so treat it with the right diligence, otherwise you are just replacing one inefficiency with another.
How I Sort My Stuff
I sort my “to read in the future” stuff like this:
Website Posts & Pages – Using bookmarks in categorized folders. Mozilla Firefox is great for this as you can simply drag and drop open tabs to folders in your bookmark sidebar. Google Chrome doesn’t have a bookmark sidebar natively (but can be added via a plugin).
Books & AudioBooks – I add them to my wish lists in Amazon and Audible.
eBooks, emails & Super Useful Stuff from Websites – Covert/print them to PDF and store in categorized folders in my DropBox or on my computer.
It is as simple as that, and if you do it at the time you come across the information… it takes you 5 seconds and saves you a bucket load later!
Start today! Write out your 90 day goals.
Break them down to a goal for this week.
Break that down to a goal for today!
If you know how to achieve today’s goal… then go do it! If you don’t… then learn how and focus on that until it is done!
Rinse and Repeat.
Ask me any questions you might have.
Please leave me a comment or question below, I’d love to hear your thoughts or struggles.
Check out more Productivity and Success tips (but save it for later if that’s not your goal right now!).