Information Consumption Efficiency

Recently, I've been thinking a lot about how to consume information more efficiently.

As someone who enjoys keeping up with current trends around my interests, I always appreciate a good post or discussion around a topic that pertains to them. However, I have not been very efficient when it comes to discovering information I actually want to consume.

My primary method of consuming information was through websites that aggregated it. Reddit, Hacker News, Medium, etc. Nonetheless, I had found myself spending more time looking for something to read than actually reading.

So, I ranked different methods by efficiency I use (from most to least) and came up with the following:

  • Personal Recommendation (from a friend/coworker)
  • My personal feed (via Feedly)
    • Newsletters (that I subscribe to)
    • Blogs (that I follow)
  • Niche news aggregators and forums (eg. lobste.rs)
  • Social media (eg. Twitter)
  • Semi-mainstream news aggregators (eg. Hacker News)
  • Mainstream news aggregators (eg. Reddit)

For a month, I challenged myself to strictly exhaust the top-level options before moving to the lower levels, and unsurprisingly I found that I spent significantly less time searching for information than I did consuming it. I hardly ever reach the lower levels, and I feel the quality of information I’m consuming has on average increased.

This process was pretty simple, but I’m happy with it and I thought it was worth sharing. I plan to continue this strategy until something better comes along.