How to stay current and avoid information overload as an IT business owner

Richard Tubb

One of the most common challenges I hear the owners of IT Solution Provider and Managed Service Provider (MSP) businesses share with me is the fact that they have too much information to deal with on a day-to-day basis.

Emails, Telephone Calls, SMS, Instant Messages, Client support tickets, Employee demands, Invoices, Bills - and the list goes on.

The trouble is, by the time the MSP owner has dealt with the urgent day-to-day information, they rarely have the time or inclination to deal with the information that will help them learn and improve their business. Email newsletters, Social Media, Blogs, Podcasts, Trade magazines and more are sources of information that help an MSP stay current, but which can, at times, feel like an overwhelming deluge.

But staying current with industry trends and growing personally as a leader *are* important. But where can you find the time to process the information that is important?

Reduce the amount of info you try to consume

Chose-sourcesThe first step is to realise that you can’t possibly consume all the information that you want to. There is simply not enough time in the day to read all the emails, listen to all the Podcasts, view all the webinars and read all the blogs that you’d hope to. So don’t even try!

Instead, rationalise the sources of information that you receive.

That email newsletter which occasionally has an interesting article in it, but which you usually gloss over? Unsubscribe from it.

That pile of magazines which you keep meaning to read, but which are gathering dust. Send them to the recycling.

That long list of RSS feeds that you want to read but never seem to find the time to. Ignore it.

Instead, focus on a very small amount of inputs and use your time to consume the information they provide you. This might be a blog or an educational and news source such as MAX-IQ. It might mean culling the number of people you follow on Twitter and only keeping those influencers and key individuals who consistently provide you with great value.

Whatever you decide works for you, reduce the feeling of being overwhelmed by reducing the number of inputs you have to a handful that you know are valuable to you.

Consume info while travelling and waiting

TravelMost of us feel as though we waste time commuting and being stuck in traffic. But the savvy IT business owner realises that this time is a valuable opportunity to consume the information that will help keep them ahead of the competition and grow as a business owner!

I’m an avid Podcast listener and whenever I’m travelling in the car I have my favourite Podcast playing for me to listen to. There are truly some inspirational and highly educational Podcasts out there, and the time I spend in the car is now no longer wasted, but valuable to me as I’m learning! Here is my list of recommended Podcasts for IT business owners to get you started.

I also use the Feed.ly tool to bring together those few blogs that consistently provide me with value, and whenever I’m waiting - be it queuing for the ATM, sitting in the Doctor’s surgery, or waiting for a train to arrive - I’m reading articles that educate and inspire me.

It’s amazing the amount of knowledge and tips you can pick up from using your driving time and waiting time to consume valuable information!

Conclusion

As an IT Business Owner, it can be tough enough keeping on top of your urgent communications - let alone that important but non-urgent educational and industry trend information you would like to consume.

But it is possible. By reducing the number of inputs you have, you’ll raise the quality of the information you have to consume. And by using the time in your car to listen to Podcasts, and the time you’re waiting in queues to snack on blogs and the trade press, you’ll find it is possible to stay ahead of the competition without using any more of your valuable time!