You might say that I am an information junkie. I love learning and there is so much out there I could learn. And it seems like it’s getting easier and easier to have access to a plethora of information – at your fingertips, whenever you want. I will hold myself back from a rant about the reliability of this information, yet with the Internet so accessible, there’s tons of information to be had. We might not stop and think about our collecting in this realm.
Our collecting information might be fairly limited to certain topics or it might be more general. It doesn’t matter which one it is if you have a tendency to collect it. It’s relatively easy to collect information and physically less cluttered if it’s digital. Nevertheless, it’s collecting in either form. We don’t see the space in the same way when it’s digital, yet this doesn’t mean it’s not getting cluttered.
First, is your collecting of information getting in your way? How much time and energy are you spending on collecting this information? Are you referencing this information again? Can you find what you know you saved when you want it again? Do you have guilt that you aren’t using the information you’ve collected?
Just like with most stuff that you can collect, if you are keeping it, you don’t want to be controlled by it. It’s there to serve and help you. Period. You also want to be able to easily find it. Since information these days is both physical and digital, it can be challenging to keep everything together. (I’m moving strongly into the digital realm, as it’s searchable and saves paper.) It doesn’t matter which one suits you as long you make it work for you.
Sometimes this means taking a hard look at what your response is to information. Do you have a desire to collect it? If you collect it and then do something with it, then there’s nothing wrong. If you seem to have information that you haven’t even looked at, it’s time to consider what matters in your life. Do you want to spend your time and energy going through and examining all that information? (Are you really going to make time and energy to do that?) More importantly, are you going to continue to collect information for this unknown future point when you will use it?
How much are you collecting because it “might be useful one day”? Do you lack the confidence that you could find the information when it became relevant? Have you thought about how fast information changes, so saving something that might be relevant down the road might really be saving irrelevant information?
I struggle with these limits. As I’ve already said, I love learning. When I look on my computer or at my papers, I’ve been amazed by how much I’ve saved. It’s hard to part with them – yet this is exactly what I’ve been doing – examining what I’ve kept and tossing what I can. I’ve also made some changes in how I handle information: I’m starting to scan certain things and I’m re-organizing the digital information so I can access it more readily.
As with all organizing projects, I see it as a process. Your vision can change at any moment. Additionally, our first step really needs to be examining what we’re collecting and considering what happens for us with collecting. Even the most organized person collects – it’s what they do with the collecting that differentiates them. Is the information you are collecting worth your time and energy? Challenge yourself with your answer – it can open up a new way of viewing your stuff.