Focusing your PLN

I’ve noticed over the last month and a half since my daughter was born that I’ve almost lost control of my PLN.  I didn’t really read many blogs and kind of checked in with Twitter when I had a minute, but overall, I spent the better part of a month not engaging in my PLN in any way.  Now that I have gotten back into a routine, well for the most part, I am trying to catch up with some of the things I’ve missed.  However, the problem I have now is a lack of time to go through all the things I want to.  BNB (Before Nora Beverly) I used to have much more time to engage in my PLN, but ANB (After Nora Beverly) time is a bit more restricted for things like my PLN.  I’m still able to engage in it on a regular basis, but I have found I need to be more focused.

What I mean by being more focused is that I typically only have a few minutes a couple times a day to explore my PLN.  BNB I used to just aimlessly flounder through my PLN, reading tweets, checking google reader, or casually flipping through Flipboard on my iPad.  Now that I have less time, I have to focus my energy to gain as much from my PLN as I can.  This means making some tough choices, since there is so much available.  What I have found to be effective though, is limiting myself to just one medium when I do get to engage in my PLN.  So when I have a half hour to spend with my PLN, I choose either going through tweets, my google reader, or Flipboard.  While Flipboard has a combination of both blogs and tweets, it presents it in a different way that makes consumption unique.

So for example, this morning I spent about 20 minutes reading blog posts.  Nothing but blog posts.  I didn’t turn on Tweet Deck and I resisted the urge to read any emails, texts, or IMs that came in during that block.  I was deliberate with what I wanted to read, and I enjoyed myself, while still learning about topics like: social media, gaming, assessment, and leadership.  I didn’t consciously pick these topics beyond the fact that the title of the posts seemed interesting (I suppose that is a little like judging a book by its cover, but…).

If the opportunity presents itself again today, I’ll check in, most likely with Twitter.  But when I do so, I’m going to be just as focused.  No blogs, email, IMs, texts, etc.  Just Twitter.  Focused.

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