I need information management advice. For years I've had the mentality of a hoarder when it comes to information. The most obstrusive habit is writing down my thoughts; a habit I have demonised and I am dealing with it in a more radical way.
When it comes to anything interesting on the internet (YouTube videos, Inward Quest questions/answers, even Google Search pages), I automatically bookmark it, or I hit the first few links in the search to open in new tabs in my browser, to read later, then I run out of time, and save those, so I end up with several tabs on 1 thing I originally searched for; and usually curiousity grabs me with most of the things that come up in the search because they're still within the broad spectrum of interest of the original subject, so even though I am not directly interested in them now, I have this tendency to habit to bookmark because I am roughly interested in that, or at least I think I do and it's actually my compulsive habit. But now, it seems to me that it's better not to write or bookmark anything (there is always history) and just have an attitude that I will find what I am looking for in the moment that I need and search for it.
I think it's overrated (or almost entirely useless) to infinitely organise information we come across because there's always more new and up-to-date information available. I just get 'greedy' and want to save everything 'just in case', but I hardly ever go back to read my bookmarks, and if I need to read something a few times (usually within a few days or weeks of having discovered the particular article/video), I often use the browser history. I often find that as time goes by, like with everything, if you spent enough time immersed in a subject, you become knowledgeable about it. Somehow the brain does the work without us trying to remember. I often surprise myself, when I am in a good-feeling place and having a conversation the knowledge I've assimilated naturally just flows out of me effortlessly.
My habit is to tend to try and remember things deliberately and often I test myself after I've read something that seemed important/useful/interesting ('what can I take away from this?'), but get too fixated on all the details rather than the main message; and it feels a frustrating and counter-intuitive. The better me tells me to read 'n' forget. What's your take? Are we wasting time organising all this information, and should we just trust ourselves a little better? I want to declutter myself and currently, I know the way I deal with information is contradictory to what I want (there is most likely an OCD involved).
All this hoarding is taking time and thought, and it appears to be a compulsive habit than something of use. Given that there is so much interesting and relevant information (on spirituality, metaphysics, law of attraction), it looks like Google and a couple of your favourite websites is a good place to search every time instead of hitting your enormous collection. Or am I dramatising it, is there a balance, or is there a real benefit? I don't want to be having a conversation, and someone mentions something and I will feel the need to add it to my 'to-read' list; or when I browse, anything that looks remotely interesting that I have no time to read, to bookmark it.
I want to trust myself and I feel that I can; and I realise the need to first and foremost follow my emotional guidance system on this and everything else, and I feel that I want to let everything go (given my associtated resistance with any sort of 'saving', which probably rules out any kind of balance in the short-term), or is it a case of being a bit more picky about what I give my attention to and ultimately decide to save? I.e. do I need to go for what is most fun and interesting to me? Am I spreading myself too thin?
I would appreciate if someone shared their magic formula (is it what I think it is: let it all go, save nothing, read and forget?)
Edit 09-Sep-2014 16:16 (response in the context of Stingray's answer)
For many years I've just been typing up text files and using a loose file/directory structure. I tried Mind Maps also. Until phones evolved, I was writing notes in text messages as drafts then downloading them onto PC. Now using Google Keep which isn't all that great (no export function). I had a look at Evernote in the past as an information bomb-site, might give it a good whirl. Information management is an art, and I've seen people go to extreme lengths in pursuit of perfect organisation. My organisational habits could be classed as an obsessive-compulsive disorder and I actually saw a psychotherapist about it which wasn't of great benefit; they said (among things, I think too fast and am not consciously aware of all my thoughts, or something in my subconscious that I keep attempting to bring into my conscious realm to explain what appear as conclusions derived from intuitive perceptions; and I do that out of mistrust/fear in my own intuition/thoughts that I arrive at); also that my inability to let go is fear-based and tried to help me with ideas like everything is in the ether and that what we forget always comes back to us (or does it now). I do tend to believe that whatever we need, we can tap into that infinite reservoir for it; and the Universal Law supports that also, I think, in that whenever you need anything, it's often right under your nose! I tried many times to let go, and sometimes it worked given the right reasoning. I fear that another organisational system will just consume everything again but mental habits would have remained the same.
People in the past told me that whenever I try a new system, I am just migrating my monster elsewhere. I can't help but think that technology is an extension of our brains especially memory and that we are supposed to use it, given just how much more information has become available to us compared to say 100 years ago. Our brains are really being pushed to the limits. Perhaps it's completely natural that we desire to store things outside of our brains. But the real question is whether we need what we store and does it serve the purpose which is our enjoyment? Who knows.
Went off on all sorts of tangents here and deleted it...overwhelming a many tangents:)
Many things are unknown at this point, and I think we are not supposed to have a definitive answer. Who knows where it's all heading, mind, soul, and body+tech? Can't wait for Terminator 4-style chip in the brain!
It's probably as you say @Stingray
I am quite stubborn... a big part of me wants to try and stay in the present and fight away the need to save/store/hoard and rely solely on my own brain. Maybe while I am at work it's okay to quickly throw information to one side into my favourite dump-site, but when I am having a conversation, relaxing, in the gym or even meditating, I find new information entering my brain to be inconvenient and remembering it for later inappropriate. The need to save strikes at inappropriate moments, and it's the feeling of being compelled to 'save it' there and then that I really struggle with, yet letting go has another unpleasant feeling. Getting rid of things to think about definitely helps the feeling/vibration - if I spend time dwelling or trying to remember something, firstly, I am 'I am miles away', and secondly, I find my vibration starts to deteriorate. It deteriorates even faster if I am wrestling with myself whether to save something or not. I've had this idea recently that the reason we want to get put things away is because it feels better - it cleans our vibration. And I reasoned that if I convince myself to put things away into 'nowhere' and just throw everything away from the mind as I encounter it then it achieves the purpose of cleaning vibration and not wasting time organising anything. The one thing that remains is resistant thoughts that 'I might need it' or 'it might be important' - the secondary reasons for hoarding that arguably provide no benefit at all (fear/compulsion/once in a blue moon you access something you could just search the internet for) - any thoughts that cause emotional discomfort in letting go.
Any sort of distraction to put information aside takes away from the present, which to me is one of the main arguments against hoarding. Nothing should be more important than being in the present moment. Or even, nothing is worth sacrificing the present-moment feeling for (right?) Justifications for hoarding should be irrelevant and the answer should be clear-cut: if something is in the way of the present moment and/or feels uncomfortable, then it should be discarded no if's no but's. Surely there should be a 'golden-rule' with regards to any resistance encountered, so if I let something go, and as you put it, something is gnawing at my emotions, then I should recognise the thoughts behind the gnawing as resistance for they are degrading my vibration, and discard them. I often approach this 'problem' from an emotional/vibrational perspective, but in practice, it proves hard. Often, it's the dialog of 'should I let it go or not' and I find myself being unhappy with letting go or saving something because either choice is uncomfortable. So I thought maybe I should just toss away the whole bundle of thoughts associated with the choice, but I often find myself with a feeling of loss, as if the rug has been swept under my feet; letting go and forgetting about it comes back as an unpleasant feeling of having surrendered control. Recently I found, if I wrestle whether to let go of something or not, moments later I realise "the process of deciding whether to let go or not was bogging down my vibration, so either choice doesn't matter", and in absolute terms, the choice is to let go and to put the choice (the whole bundle of thoughts) out of my head as soon as possible. From a slightly higher vantage point I aim to let go of the dialog/indecision.
It occurred to me that if I am feeling bad about doing something and bad about not doing it (the indecision of letting go/saving) then I should raise my vibration and look at the whole thing with a new set of eyes... and then it should be clear (Quoting Einstein: "No problem can be solved from the same level of consciousness that created it.").
In the past, I had more resolve and had a strong genuine conviction that this information hoarding was a disease and there should not be a balance - to let go was the obvious solution. And in brief periods of having practised totally letting go, anything else that I ended up writing/saving at work was seamless and didn't feel like it related to my main conflict. Sometimes, I overstepped into the 'problem' territory, but like with all addictions, must never beat yourself up; and I used the phrase 'nothing is more important than feeling good' (or 'not allowed to feel bad') and quickly let it go. The reason I sometimes have more resolve is because I have a more severe case of hoarding 'thoughts' which highlighted the issue quite starkly; also I don't believe in balance with some things: like smoking, so I try to look at the problem in extremes to find a solution, whether it's right to do or not, I don't know.
I hope the emotional gnawing can be solved, given the right rationale. And letting go can be such a joy. I just imagine the idea of being care-free and it feels good. The practical benefits of letting go are clearer; time and energy for starters (as well as satisfying the other part of you that deep down believes you're doing something out of fear or compulsion and ultimately for no real benefit).
I think the gnawing comes from not having made either decision with conviction. I need to decide whether to give a go at organising information in some way (and continue hoarding) or to let it go, and stick with that decision, dealing with any resistance that follows. Having an internal dialog about what to do every time isn't the way. Even if there is a balanced way, like deciding on when and what, it should be set out clearly.
Abraham say to make any decision at all, and that it doesn't matter which, but if I have to make 1000s of similar decisions about whether to let go or not, I should make up my mind now. I had times when I was being committed to ensuring I don't allow anything to make me feel bad, and I just let everything go because from a high vibration perspective, I didn't even want to slow down to decide what to do. But those times were rare, and when I slipped back into the lower vibes, I went back to my old ways and worse, trying to recover what I let go.
D'oh, wrote too much again!
When I find something that I know I want to study later, I email it to a Gmail account that is only used for this purpose. The Gmail account has a search box, so I can find it later. I try to put relevant keywords in the email title and some abstract text in the body to make it easier to search. I probably have about 2000 links to articles in there right now.
That said, I have yet to find time to go back and read some of those articles. They are in the email account, not so that I can study them later, but rather that I can let them go, and know that I can get back to them if I need to.
I save Abraham-Hicks daily quotes in my Gmail in a folder called A-H- and other positive emails in a folder called positive.. and this makes them searchable. I have often found this a good thing especially here on IQ . When I see a question and see a word or phrase that I know that I have seen a quote that fits.
answered 08 Sep '14, 11:31
why does one digest knowledge,
on what does my mind rest now,
when holes become apparent
answered 09 Sep '14, 06:08
The problem is that it's easy to say "let it all go, save nothing" and think you'll be free. But if a part of you doesn't accept that philosophy, it's going to gnaw at you emotionally even if you save nothing. Now you are having to deal with an ongoing nagging feeling of uncomfortableness about saving nothing.
I'd say that if something within you wants to save all that stuff then the more elegant and simple approach is just to go along with it until it feels satisfied rather than try to bully yourself into complying.
To satisfy that "information-hoarding" part of me, I just dump everything I might possibly want to look at again into some software called Evernote, which I like because I don't have to think about organizing anything upfront. And I can enter information from multiple devices. It also syncs almost everywhere and has paper/pen scannable options available.
I probably never look at 95% of what I dump into Evernote ever again :) - I use it mostly to calm my "I might need it again one day" urge - which is good because the major weakness of Evernote is that it's pretty clunky (by today's standards) if you ever do want to re-organize the information later.
For the ultimate solution to reorganizing collected information, there's a remarkable database system called Zoot. However, the learning curve for using Zoot is extreme, to say the least, so I would stay away from it unless you are a real information junkie. Having said that, in quite a few years, I've never come across anything that approaches it for handling that information RE-organization requirement.
Speaking more broadly, if what you are really after is to get yourself to a "clear mind" (flowing with, rather than against, your desire to organize) without mental clutter then there's probably nothing that comes close to the Getting Things Done time management system.
It's really a focus engagement system and it has some pretty powerful metaphysical concepts underlying it, though you'd never realize it until you've used it for a long time and internalized the three interconnecting mental models that make it up. It works particularly well in conjunction with a Bashar excitement-based approach to living because you need a list of trusted "Next Actions" in order to make that approach work in the most efficient manner. I've recently also been mixing it all in with Abraham's Placemat Process ideas.
I don't tend to mention GTD much around Inward Quest because, realistically, you are looking at a 2-5 year timescale to master the habits involved in getting to a clear-mind state on a semi-permanent basis - and that's probably more time than most are willing to stomach :) The words Weekly Review are scary to all but the most competent GTD-ers :) But it's still worth your time in having a look at GTD and gleaning some information-handling ideas if you feel you are drowning in information overload.
So to answer your overall question...
...if you feel there's a benefit, then there's a benefit - for now :)
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