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So, we all love our gigs/hobbies, right? We have devoted our lives to hearing beyond the capabilities of a normal human being. We work our ears to the bone getting everything right all the time. Hours and days fine tuning the resonances in our room tone drones...

Right after I read the new post on { Sound + Design }, Designing Sound, SoundWorks, Music of Sound, Audiotuts, sounDesign, and Sonic Terrain, and answer a couple of threads on SSD. Ooooh and there's a shotgun mic shootout on YouTube that I've been meaning to get to, maybe I'll check that out. And Ric Viers has a new video on Designing Sound, and there's that back issue interview with Randy Thom/Walter Murch/Ben Burtt/Alan Splet that someone posted about somewhere. Oh and...

Anybody got any suggestions for managing the business of keeping up on the business while still being able to get on with your business?


Edit:

Just discovered that my online RSS reader NetVibes now has a mobile version of their site, which you can turn into a WebApp. So now I can catch up with all of my reading on the bus to work... aaaand spend all of my money on Bandwidth overages. It also has a Read Later function so I don't have to read everything NOW for fear of never being able to find it again in the wash of textNoise.

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7 Answers

up vote 4 down vote accepted

You could really make a full time career out of keeping up with professional and casual publications. The key is prioritizing and setting up dedicated reading time.

I have about 45 minutes of "coffee time" each morning where I read interesting, sometimes useful information, as well as a few webcomics, reading the news, and checking some unrelated blogs.

After that, it's work time. During my lunch break, I spend time reading more serious publications that I know will directly benefit me.

Other than that, I have a specific amount of time each week I schedule for searching for new work and formal training for certification, new software skills, etc.

Best thing to do is sort through all of your feeds and sort them into "just for fun," "industry related," and "knowledge base growth." While it is important to be connected to the industry, there is more value in information that benefits you in a direct way.

Good luck sorting through the pile!

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google reader and twitter.


google reader

I have my google reader loaded up with all of the sites you listed above and a few others, all sitting neatly in a folder labeled "audio" SSD puts a new entry up for every question.

I also have folders labeled "film making" "politics" "creativity" and "sports" full of various things that I like to wrap my head around.

Keystrokes inside of google reader are simple, and have me zipping quickly through the various things the internets produce. J is next, K is prev. V kicks the website open in a new tab, and apple W closes the tab and returns me to the reader. Presto, lightspeed info.


twitter

I'm a recent convert, but now a true believer. follow some of the people in that twitter thread, then spend a moment exploring who they follow and look for anything else interesting.

Typically I'll spend a moment looking through someone's tweets before following them. If that first page of stuff doesn't look like something I've been missing out on then I don't follow.

The twitter feed is like an info mainline to your brain. Sometimes its inane, but if you're selective about what you put in that feed the signal to noise can get very good.


both of these have nice iphone and ipad apps that let me check them out when I'm waiting around for anything.

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@Rene That's exactly the problem, I've got the whole thing lined up and organized, it's just that there's so much to read about... –  g.a.harry Mar 28 '11 at 14:33
    
catch up when nature calls. (kidding) sounds to me like you may need to weed out some things from your feed(s) spend an hour or so one day and get rid of the things that you're not regularly reading. –  Rene Mar 28 '11 at 14:56
    
@Rene It's true. It's oddly oppressive seeing 1000+ unread posts and comics and stuff, sitting and waiting forlornly for someone to come along and read them. Best to put them out of their misery. –  g.a.harry Mar 28 '11 at 16:18
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I have a dedicated time for internet surfing and I close my mail program and turn off my phone when I'm clicking away.

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+1 on Google Reader. It makes viewing updates and new posts of blogs so much simpler.

I make it a point to have my iPad or my laptop by my side while I work because I am constantly consolidating or exporting files and in that 5 minutes I can help someone on here or read a bit of an interview and pause it when the export is done and keep working and resume reading at the next break. (Like right now I'm consolidating a mix I just completed and then exporting it for submission).

It's also useful to stop and read for a bit in silence while you're editing or mixing to give your ears a rest and reboot your creativity.

Top pro mixers I have worked with say they still read industry magazines and info at least 2 hours a day.

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Have you tried FREEDOM? (OSX & Windows) http://macfreedom.com/

It disables all network communications for a period that you set. Then there is no way you can be disturbed (as long as you switch your phone off too)

Its fascinating to try: choose eg 30 minutes and get back to work

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Sadly, @Tim, I'm a PC/Mac combo, I use either depending on what I'm doing, but mostly PC. However, the mac is my writing computer, so if I combo it with OmmmWriter (ommwriter.com), I might just be able to get something done. –  g.a.harry Mar 29 '11 at 19:16
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I found the best way to focus on the business side to get lots of work done and not get lost in all the info out there is to buy a house and a mortgage. Suddenly the parts of the business that lead directly to a pay cheque will seem a lot easier to focus on. I am sure a kid would help the process even further.

I find that if you narrow your daily reads down to a few solid reliable sites, they tend to link you to everything you need, and then on the days when you don't have a lot of work going on you can dig in to the second and third tier sites. We are living in an amazing time for sound design info, I can't imagine how things would be for me if all this information was available so easily when I was in college/starting out. I had to read manuals damn it! Who does that anymore with youtube tutorials, forums and blogs helping out now.

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@Azimuth, Right! So, million dollar house it is! That should keep me focused for the rest of my natural life :). Oh, and I still read manuals. But then again, I'm a nerd. –  g.a.harry Apr 5 '11 at 18:05
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I use Net News Wire as my RSS reader and this is one of my start up items so I can see all the new threads once I've booted up my machine. Then, as I get to work I'll close the software so I don't get distracted. Next time I fire it up, it'll update me on what has been posted and I'll go through what's new and interesting.

One thing I've come to realise since I've been using an RSS reader is the importance of subscribing ONLY to feeds that you have a genuine interest to read regularly. It's all too easy to subscribe to every sound design blog out there, as well as other interesting stuff on the web, but you then spend most of your time sifting through all the unread posts. I think it's best to keep your subscriptions to a minimum. Remember it's quality not quantity!

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