Reference Information Solutions at a Glance

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Reference information is any supporting information that you need when working on your results. For example, you might have a long email that has three action items in it. The email is reference. You might have information about your project. The key is to factor the action items from your reference, so you don’t have to work too hard, just to find the action items. The following are solutions at a glance for reference information:

How to factor reference from action

If you can’t do it, it’s reference. Consolidate your actions separate from your reference information. For example, rather than use your email inbox as a collection of action items, simply write the actions down in a separate list, and drive from that. A simple, consolidated list or index of actions is easier to manage than shuffling larger collections of reference with actions interspersed along the way.

How to avoid information overload

The best way to avoid information overload is to use effective filters. You set your own filters. The most important filters are your objectives or outcomes. You can use your objectives or outcomes as a filter to find, organize, or filter any relevant information. If it’s not important for your outcomes or objectives, you can let it go. This is a simple, but effective way to cut through a vast amount of information with precision.

How to improve your information management

Your actions should be easy to find and organize. Simple, scannable lists are the way to go. It should also be easy to archive or get rid of information that’s in your way. You create stable places for your information so that you don’t have to work too hard to find things or to store things. Consolidate your places to look. If it’s not working, change it. If you keep looking for something, but it’s not there, then put it there. For a given type of information, figure out whether to optimize for storing it, or optimizing for finding it, or optimize for viewing it. Just by figuring out how you use information, will help you structure your system better.