Let's face it, there's just way too much information out there for any one individual to try to keep abreast of. And yet, if we shut ourselves off from the world, we risk building our businesses in a vacuum and suffering on the bottom line. So how can we put structures in place that help keep us plugged in, with the minimal amount of energy and effort on our part? Here's a few tips.
1.) Remain open to all information, and use technical and human filters
First, don't try to stop the flow of information because you can't. Instead, adopt a soft and flexible stance towards it.
Subscribe to any and all things that are of interest to you. These things can be in your niche market or areas that are of interest to your customers. Bring on all information sources that will inform you and create a context for you from which to make decisions.
For the most part this means you'll get more email. This is simple to manage using filters. Create a dumping folder called "Library" or "Ideas" in your email program. Then direct the stream of information you've created into that folder.
From there, allot yourself an hour or 30 minutes each week to scan these publications. When one piques your interest, read further. If everything is bland, let it go. Delete or simply move on to your other work.
2.) Follow the work of a few leading-edge authors
Have you heard the saying that there is no new material, just new ways of presenting or interpreting it? Along those same lines, have you heard the idea that often it's the 3rd, 27th or Nth time a person hears a certain concept that it really clicks? Meaning that many people have said the same thing to that person, but not at the right time or in the perfect way for them to really hear it?
For these reasons, it's very worthwhile selecting a few authors that you find particularly unlock your thought processes. Certain authors have a way of putting things that makes you connect things well. Others seem as clear as mud and do nothing for you.
Once you find these individuals, follow their work. Sign up for their stuff, visit their sites, buy and read their books.
3.) Cultivate relationships with people around you, to keep an eye out for things of import
Whether this be your support team, your friends and colleagues or your customers, take the opportunity to educate them on what is of interest to you. They'll help you scan your environment and bring you pertinent information.
Staying cutting edge is a mentality. As you build your environment to include the elements above, your way of thinking will start to be shaped by it. Once your mind stretches to incorporate new ways of thinking, it won't be able to stretch back, so thinking small or bland will become a way of the past. Instead of feeling forced to keep up, let information flow around you. You'll save a lot of energy that way.
Andrea J. Lee coaches entrepreneurs and online business owners. As Thomas J.Leonard's General Manager, she helped build and manage the largest network and trainer of personal and business coaches in the world. Now the CEO of Andrea J. Lee Group of Companies, she writes, speaks and consults on Marketing, Internet and Business systems. For more helpful tips, visit www.39lessons.com