3 Ways to Keep Up with Professional Development Reading

Author: Karen Moloney

I love, love, love the internet.

It has changed my life in so many ways.

As a Gen X-er who played PacMan, had pen-pals, and thought that Swatch watches were the bomb, I think the idea that you can now ask your mobile phone a question about almost anything and get an answer is pretty cool to say the least.

The rate at which technology has evolved, and continues to evolve, in my

[short] lifetime is quite astounding.

And very exciting.

And very, very, frustrating.

There was a time in L&D – and many other professions – where you could read the few hard copy industry publications available and know for sure that you were “across” everything that was going on in terms of news, trends and opinions.

But now?

OMG, the noise is deafening!

Don’t get me wrong, I love the fact that the internet provides everyone with the opportunity to start their own website, blog or social media channel to share information and opinions, but that makes for an awful lot of reading, to keep up with!

I find our line of work completely fascinating and love reading about different methodologies, tools, trends and case studies.

But not all content is created equal.

And social media feed algorithms don’t always serve you up the best or most relevant content, despite their complexity.

So how can you cut down on time wading through the sea of information available online and personalise your reading list to get what YOU want to read?

Google can present us with an endless list of ways to deal with this problem – which is kind of a problem in itself…

If you’re looking for ways to manage information overwhelm and organise your professional development readings, here are three solutions you might want to check out.

1. Entry level: Inbox management

Most mainstream email services allow you to create Rules to manage your inbox and if you haven’t investigated rules before, trust me, it will change the way you use email forever.

Many of us subscribe to RSS Feeds or newsletters which send us valuable information via email to our inbox.

This is a great way to stay in touch with news as it happens but it can make your inbox very cluttered and personally, I find it a bit overwhelming to see so many things I want to read but don’t have the time to in the moment.

So I set up Rules.

Screen shot of Windows dialog box for setting email rules

Image courtesy of Karen Moloney

The Rules I set up will automatically forward emails from a particular sender, or with a particular title, into specific folders and bypass my Inbox.

This does two things for me:

  1. Saves me time sorting emails and moving them
  2. Creates a repository of content ready for consumption when I have the time to go into that folder and do some reading.

It’s basic, but it works.


2. Sometimes social: Twitter lists

I know, I know, not everyone is on Twitter…

…apart from 3 million Australians and 328 million people worldwide!

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – GET ON TWITTER! (And yes, I am shouting at you ????)

Twitter lists allow you to curate groups of Twitter accounts that publish content you are interested in. These can be based on topics, industry thought leaders – whatever suits you best to organise your content.

You can create your own lists or you can subscribe to lists others have created.

People will generally only post items on Twitter that they see value in sharing so it’s a great place to go to find readings that have [mostly] already been curated by others.

This article has some great tips for getting started with and using lists.

3. Tech lovers: Feedly

Feedly allows you to consolidate content from a range of sources you choose e.g. blogs, YouTube Channels, keyword searches and in some cases internal company portals.

You can organise content into topics, flag items for reading later, tag articles for easy access and share the best stuff to your social media accounts.

If you subscribe to one of their paid plans, you can also create knowledge boards that can be shared across teams.  Think of all the things you could do with that…

It. Is. Awesome.

Screen shot of Feedly home page with today's new articles

Image courtesy of Karen Moloney

This article explains a bit more about how Feedly works.


How do you manage your professional development reading?

Are you using any of these solutions or something different already?


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