No business operates in a vacuum, and you can’t be productive or relevant if you don’t know what’s going on in the world around you. That’s why it’s critical that you keep up on the latest news that can affect you and your industry. But how to keep track of the thousands of news sites? Well, you’re in the right place. Instead of reading hundreds of newspapers, blogs, and other information sources, you can have the news delivered right to you and keep track of it all. Here are five ways to keep on top of all the news that’s fit to print:
Set Google Alerts
By now, you already know that Google pretty much controls the world in front of you on your computer. Tell them what you want to know about, and they’ll deliver the latest on the topic right to your email box. Set an alert for your competitor’s name to find out what he or she is up to. Or monitor a keyword for your niche. And of course you’ll want to keep tabs on your own name! You can set the number of alerts as well as the delivery frequence, and all this is for free! Find out more at Alerts.Google.com
Alltop stands for “All the top stories.” The site, founded by former Apple evangelist Guy Kawasaki, allows you to choose from hundreds of news sources to create your own custom “newspaper.” Check out what other people are reading, too, for free. Find out more at My.Alltop.com.
How many bookmarked pages do you have on your web browser? How many of those sites do you actually get back to ever again? Fight the bookmark bulge by turning to this great system. You use a special “read later” bookmark to keep track of information you want to save for later. Then log in on your iPhone, computer, or iPad and check it out when you have a minute. And if you’re an Android user like I am, here are the instructions for you to use it. This is all for free. Find out more at Instapaper.com
Track all those great blogs in Google Reader. See when they’re updated, get the content delivered right to you, and consolidate all the updates in a single spot, for free. Easy-peasy! Find out more at Google.com/reader
Their mission; “All you care about. Now.” Sounds good to me! Create numerous dashboards so you can flip through and see what’s going on, according to project or interest. Type in a topic get a dashboard for you, including news, videos, Tweets, conversations, and images, which you can then customize. You could have one for sports scores, one for finance, one for your competition, one for your Beanie Baby obsession. Whatever you want, all for free! Find out more at Netvibes.com
One word of advice: Be careful not to become an information junkie. It’s great to spend time reading blogs, newspapers, and the like, but set a limit on your intake of information. You can go into info overload, and reading can become a distraction and procrastination technique, particularly if you are the type who likes to research and research and research some more before taking action. Instead, give yourself 30 minutes, once or twice a day, to read headlines and catch up on any big developments. Then stop and get back to work. That’s where the money is – in action, not in information acquisition.