My Information Vacation for an Overflowing Brain

by | Productivity

Do you feel like there’s so much information that you can’t possibly keep up?

Do you cringe every time your friend says ‘did you see that post/click on that link/read that book?

Maybe you need an Information Vacation.

As an entrepreneur and for the most part, a solopreneur, I am constantly in need of researching to learn about various aspects of my business, on top of what I need to know to stay up to date on my industry and clients needs.

For example, this week I’ve spent time researching:

  • YouTube Creator and YouTube Academy
  • Updates to Google Apps
  • Marketing workshops
  • If topical magnesium is better than oral
  • The Ayurveda diet
  • How the travel industry uses data
  • Recovery techniques
  • How lack of vacation affects productivity for employees
  • Modules for my Integrative Nutrition Health Coaching Program
  • What aspects of my speech will be judged in the Toastmasters Humorous Speech competition

Since I perform 95% of the aspects of my business, or at least have to learn them to let my VA know what I need, I can easily get overwhelmed with everything I have to learn. This is in contrast to my former job as a Corporate Trainer where I was mostly creating and didn’t spend much time in the learning process unless it was just learning to regurgitate and then move on. That was mostly a ‘doing’ job. When you are new to a job or chosen career field the amount of information you take in seems infinite.

I schedule in one Pomodoro of research time every day during the week, which might just include reading the newsletters, posts or videos that I’ve subscribed to, and four Pomodoros on Saturday.

When I first started my business it was 90% learning. Of course I won’t ever stop increasing my knowledge, but at some point research has to be on the negative end of your time since it doesn’t buy your groceries or pay your light bill. When you have to prioritize your learning, focus on what’s ultimately income-producing. This week I needed to decide between research YouTube Academy or Odesk. Since part of my marketing is through videos, that’s what I chose.

It’s easy to get sucked in to reading every blog post in your inbox, link on social media or book that someone recommends. I have a Goodreads queue that I may never get through and that’s okay. It’s not my job to get through it. I have a Netflix queue with recommendations from friends but I pretty much just watch one hour a night with my husband with maybe an extra hour some evenings in the winter (Favorites are Downton Abbey, Luther and Sherlock). I listen to podcasts at home all the time, whether it’s while I’m cleaning, getting ready in the morning and sometimes having lunch or dinner. My top five right now are – Tim Ferriss, Chris Kresser, Ben Greenfield, Marie Grace Berg and Ok Stupid: A Guide to Self-Sabotage. All would be considered educational or in my field except for OK Stupid. Disclaimer: I sponsor this funny podcast – check it out!

As a fairly-new entrepreneur I can’t take vacations every quarter like I want to right now, but I have made the decision to take an information vacation every quarter for one week. Hold me to it people! One week every three months I am going to NOT LEARN!!! What will I gain from this?

  • More time to spend on my business working on what I already know
  • More time to digest what I’ve learned in the previous three months
  • More time to read for fun or watch movies that have been in my queue for almost a year
  • More time for hanging out

This doesn’t mean I’m not going to work unless it’s also a scheduled vacation. I’ll just be focusing more on doing. I’m going to strategically plan them out so that they fall in line with already scheduled vacations or holidays. I’m excited for my first one, December 22-28.

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“Your Weekender Snapshot and Tim Ferriss’s Five Bullet Friday are my favorite emails I receive.”

jim west

Principal and Managing Director, GFF Architects