From the April 2000 issue of Startups

No matter what your field of business, there's undoubtedly a magazine, newsletter or online publication that addresses your industry. Keeping this information overload under control is possible if you take the time to set up systems to manage and digest everything.

  • Designate one place in your office for magazines, newspapers and any other publications you don't need to read right away. One place to keep incoming reading is a stacking bin. It's larger than a stacking tray and has legs, and you can add additional bins on top to keep papers to be filed. The goal is to keep this inactive information off your desk so you stay focused on important tasks.
  • Separate your business publications from your personal reading to help you prioritize. Keeping them together gives you an unrealistic picture of the amount of reading you actually have to do.
  • At least once each month, go through your magazines and other publications and tear out only the articles you want to read. Be selective and only tear out the articles you know you'll eventually read. When you've finished, put the articles in a file labeled "To read" and keep the file with you to read in between appointments.
  • Evaluate your subscriptions. Before you automatically renew business subscriptions, ask yourself how much use you get out of each magazine. Renew only those that contribute to your business development.
  • Set aside time to read. If you wait for an opportune time, it'll never happen. Schedule a block of reading time on your calendar or get in the habit of reading each day, if only for 30 minutes. You'll reduce your reading pile and the stress it causes.
  • Get articles online. Many publications offer the same information online as in their printed versions. You can print out the articles you want to read instead of having to sort through every article. When you receive an online newsletter, either scan it immediately or save it until the end of the day when you can take a few minutes to read it.

Home office expert Lisa Kanarek is the founder of HomeOfficeLife.com and the author of Organizing Your Home Office For Success (Blakely Press) and 101 Home Office Success Secrets (Career Press).