I’m Falling Behind My Questions

Racin' Snails 2

I long ago gave up on examining all the information available to me. I’m slowly coming to accept I haven’t the time or focus to examine all the information that interests me either. The piles of books littering my home and office along with the dozens of articles I’ve currently got open across multiple devices are evidence I might be more curious than I have time for.

When I started talking with and coaching educators on building a conceptual framework for managing information flow as they started to utilize digital tools, my advice was to focus on those topics about which they were most interested. Now, that reasoning only stands to serve intensely acurious individuals.

Every question I can pose has a corresponding rabbit whole waiting for me to jump. Each of those books and open articles is a map of where I intend to jump – later. I don’t know that later will ever come. Not for all of them.

I will never have time to read and consider the answers to all of my questions. They are too many and the sources of information more multitudinous still.

Faced with the question of how to deal with an overflow of information now, my answer is to focus on the answers you need in the moment, and decide if free time is worth dedicating to new information or reflecting on the learning you’ve already done.

Given the effect of a full cognitive load, the answer might be none of the above. Folks might opt to zone out and let information settle. As much as I love learning and swoon over inquiry, the infinite information stream also calls for quietly doing nothing of consequence so that I can better appreciate the consequences of those answers I decide are worth chasing.

I know all of this, and yet I still pick up more books for which I can’t conceive finding the time or open yet another collection of interesting browser tabs. Because, maybe, I’ll get around to it as soon as I’ve read everything else.

2 thoughts on “I’m Falling Behind My Questions

  1. Oh my goodness this felt so familiar. It was reassuring to read these words from someone else. (And delightful to read them so well written.) I think I suffer from serious FOMO syndrome, but hadn’t really considered how that is, in many ways, a good thing. It means I keep asking questions and learning new things. Thanks for helping me see this in a new light.

    • And I hadn’t thought of it as FOMO. Perhaps that’s because there’s not a fear attached to it for me. I’m not going to be able to get to it all. I know that from the top, and knowing that makes it a bunch easier to work my way through. Most recently, it was helpful to hear something similar in an interview Mad Max helmer George Miller gave. When asked whether he would be okay with another director telling the follow-up stories he has in his head for Max, Miller said yes. Part of his agreement was that he has so many stories he wants to tell and a limited amount of time to tell them. Handing off a few to other capable directors made sense as a way of making room in his years for other work. It was a helpful frame for me.

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