Oh Productivity, Where Art Thou?

I'm not one to complain, but I'm going to this time.  I've had a hard row to hoe lately.  So now I'm soliciting your advice about how to be more effective and get more done in the limited time that I have.

I joined the ranks of single parenthood late last year and, with four kids, there is always a mountain of things that need to get done around the house.  A couple years ago, I relied heavily on my evening hours to get all of my work done.  Today, I simply must close the laptop at the end of the day and have to get on with running a household.  (And my hat is off to those of you who've been a single parent all these years without a single complaint.)

So that means I have to work smarter during my work time than ever, or risk cutting corners.  That risk is all to real for me because I haven't been able to read the majority of e-newsletters that I subscribe to nor have I been able to keep up with all of the professional blogs that I really like.  For example, I have an Outlook folder exclusively for e-newsletters.  Here's what I've got unread in my e-newsletter folder right now:

    - Database newsletters: 500 unread
    - Developer newsletters: 27 unread
    - Infrastructure newsletters: 110 unread
    - Management newsletters: 105 unread

How does a person keep up???

Well, if you compare my biggest and smallest stashes of unread e-newsletters, I subscribe to a lot less Developer newsletters than Database newsletters.  Another major issue that I've had with e-newsletters is that some of them only come out at daily OR monthly intervals with nothing in between.  But what I've found is that daily e-newsletters are too much, while monthly ones are not detailed enough.  Ugh!

Unfortunately, I've obviously resorted to the option most often taken by people who experience to much noise and not enough communication.  I automatically filter this stuff out of my conscious brain - at many levels.  First, I send all of these emailed files directly into an Outlook folder, which I rarely check.  Second, when I do check them, I often just mark the emailed newsletter as 'read' based on whether the headline is interesting even if I haven't.  Third, I sometimes just make a who bunch of them as 'read', especially the daily ones, just to see them cleared off my list.  Finally, my last resort of filtering is to read the newsletter up to the table of contents.  If there's nothing in there to raise my interest, then I go on to the next one. 

Whew!  I feel tired already!

So how do you guys keep up with all of the information that you get delivered piping fresh to your door?  Inquiring minds want to know!



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