At the end of each year, I conduct a “virtual housekeeping” activity where I comb through my digital channels [much of which collects digital dust by the end of the year]. This exercise allows me to start each new year with a clean digital slate and allows more mental bandwidth to focus on my big goals for the following year. I take a look at everything from newsletters and podcasts to the blog posts I’ve saved. For each one, I try to revisit why I kept it and decide if it’s still relevant. If the information seems to have already served its purpose, or not have been as important as I initially thought, I get rid of it and move on to the next thing.
My experience is that playing on the periphery of my career field and taking a wider view has been valuable to me in my journey. For that reason, I read very few sales books and blogs. The list below includes items and authors/personalities that I come back to over and over. Below are my top 6 digital tidbits for 2020 that you may find helpful:
1. James Clear’s newsletter and book Atomic Habits – always succinct and always focusing on simplicity. With all the distractions out there these days, ability to build repeatable habits is paramount to my success because I often find myself un-focusing when I should be doing deeper work. The author also provides a lot of great inspiring quotes from his and others minds.
2. Pretty much anything this guy says or writes, and this guy is Tom Peters – if there was an award for common sense in business it would awarded on an annual basis to Mr. Peters. His humble and sometimes self-deprecating approach to managing and more succinctly to coaching, is something everyone should heed. His weekly email update is short, sweet, and always to the point. And his book In Search of Excellence is on my reread list for 2021.
3. Gong.io’s weekly newsletter – we often see so much data, and statistics that we become numb. What I love about Gong’s content is that they provide the analysis that backs up the data and provides insights. While I don’t spend a lot of time reading sales books or sales newsletters, the content I get from Gong is something I always read. The one caveat I must mention here is I’m not a “Tech stack” guy so I’m not advocating their product (although I’ve heard a lot of great things about it from clients).
4. Dan Pink’s books and newsletters. His book drive was foundational in terms of setting my thinking when I was making a career shift I am continually impressed and delighted with the simplicity and succinctness of his messages. They are not specifically sales related but they can be applied to pretty much any selling situation
5. While it was crafted long before the digital era, a book that always finds its way from my bookshelf to my desk is Stephen Covey’s ‘Seven Habits of Highly Effective People.’ One of the most timeless guides to interpersonal relationships and self-actualization that I have come across. Easy to read, easy to consume and easy to find opportunities to apply.
6. Tiffani Bova’s ‘What’s Next’ podcast – focusing again on the human side of business, Tiffani has an engaging style that brings out the best in her guests. And her guests come from a vast range of professions and occupations. In my three or four years of listening to her contact I believe I have come across one episode that I did not find myself listening all the way through to the end. The quote on her LinkedIn page might say it best; “be the leader who uses the power of stories to inspire change”.
Of course, it’s with the best intentions that we save things we plan on reviewing later. But if you’re anything like me, these things often get overlooked and stashed away, only to be found months or years later. One of my goals this upcoming year is to be more intentional with the things I save. The idea I’m planning on following to help ensure that this happens comes from writer Cal Newport. Newport suggests that all week, you save the articles or online snippets that you think would be interesting or useful. He recommends using a tool like the Pocket app, or Safari’s Reading List. Then, on Saturday morning, you take your tablet to a local coffee shop and spend a few hours reading through those things. He argues that by putting yourself in a new environment away from your typical distractions, you’re communicating to yourself that the time and task matters. You’ll probably find that it is easier to focus on what you are reading.
I intend to put this strategy into play in the upcoming year. Obviously coffee shops aren’t really an option right now, so I am planning on making my own. I’ll make a nice cup of tea and find the comfy chair in my living room before my wife wakes. That way at the end of 2021, instead of combing through the digital clutter, I can simply revisit the content and messages I found most helpful. Building a new atomic habit you might say!
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