Thoughts & Observations

When Input Exceeds Output

In the past two and half weeks, I have spent most of my  time putting New York City’s public transportation system to work, transporting me from meeting to meeting throughout the city while I try to absorb as much as can of the New York tech scene.  My days have often started with breakfast meetings and not ended until after midnight, when the networking drinks were done. 

This time has been all about input: listening in meetings, reading emails, scanning my Twitter stream, reading blogs. 

This is not all a bad thing. I needed to rapidly gather information so that I could get a running start in my new role at NY Tech Meetup, and I’ve gained some great insights that will provide amazing guidance going forward. 

But I was listening to an interview with Sherry Turkle, author of Alone Together: Why We Expect More from Technology and Less from Each Other, the other day, and it hit me how much of an issue we have with input vs. output.

Turkle talked about how most of our days are built around trying to keep up with input from every direction. We in fact spend so much time trying to deal with input that we have no time to think or be creative, or actually create any output. (and no, email doesn’t count as real output)

It’s kind of like calories in calories out. If you gorge yourself on too much food, you get so full that you are hardly capable of doing anything – you just want to sit around, hold your belly and groan. A diet consisting of too much information input creates the same kind of paralysis. 

With calories, we balance the calories in by exercising and making sure that we burn some of them off. We need to do the same thing with information input.

If we turned off the flood of input for chunks of time during the day, we might actually get something real done.

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