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.

My problem with #FF

I understand the need to share who we think are valuable people to follow on Twitter and the positive networking and generation of new ideas, but what bothers me about #FF is that I have to take a break from my PLN because that’s all anyone is tweeting.  I find very little value in the morning on Fridays, which is usually when I devote time to my PLN (I do a few minutes every morning).  Maybe I just need to participate a little bit more, but from what I can tell based on my experiences over the last few months, I should just as well find something else to do on Friday mornings and wait to check out my PLN until later in the day.  Perhaps the value comes later from the increased networking that takes place.  Not sure.

Am I missing something?  If so, leave a comment and help me learn!!