Convenience isn't optimization.

Use self-determined relevance to hedge against digital overload.

Reflection

I.

Searching for something has been replaced by the recommendation of something.

Spotify has replaced favorite bands with favorite tracks, creating playlist culture and Twitter has replaced browsing the library with a steady stream of book recommendations from those admired.

Each recommendation weakens one's ability to determine what's relevant. It's in the weakening of knowing what's relevant to one's own life that anxiety begins to increase as books pile onto the reading list and videos clutter the watch later.

Relevance requires thought and careful consideration, but the reward is knowing what's worth your time to pick up and what's okay to put down.

The best book is the one you devour and the best lecture is the one you watch over and over. Pair content with your current interests and/or the problem you seek to solve.

Let the feeds and algorithms aid you, but not displace your discernment of what's relevant.

Quote

I.

“The ability to distinguish relevant from less relevant information is another skill that can only be learned by doing. It is the practice of looking for the gist and distinguishing it from mere supporting details. The more often we do it and the more focused we are, the more virtuous we become.” - Ahrens, Sönke, How to Take Smart Notes

Action

I.

Declare digital bankruptcy.

Purge your Amazon wish lists, YouTube playlists, and browser bookmarks. Keep only what’s essential and rid yourself of the unnecessary clutter of what others have found useful.

Live in the absence of that clutter for a moment and exercise your own discernment when the time comes to make an addition to your digital landscape.

Until next time,

Josh Duffney


Announcement: The Knowledge Worker Podcast 🎧 is a thing.

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Thoughts 💭: “Okay, I think I can be done talking about smart notes now…”