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Many of us have accumulated so many books and articles and podcasts we want to consume that it is impossible to get through them all.
A never-ending to read list is stressful. It also tends to lead to a lot of guilt-filled flailing between options.
"You can't keep up. There is no way. And trying to keep up will probably just make you dumber," cautions educator and author Kathy Sierra.
Some say we need to find better ways of mining the nuggets of gold from the internet's infinite pile of possibilities.
Others disagree: "It isn't filter failure. It's filter success. In a world of infinite information, the better you get at sifting the wheat from the chaff, the more you end up crushed beneath an avalanche of wheat".
As media critic Nicholas Carr has put it, you're not struggling to find a needle in a haystack. You're staring at a haystack's worth of needles.
This isn't just true of content. It's also true of things to learn, professional opportunities to pursue, people to meet, etc.
Thanks in part to technology, we're now deluged by endless possibilities for how to spend our time, but this problem predates the internet.
Feeling like there are more things you want to do than you have time for is an eternal human problem.
Our lives are fundamentally time constrained. And no filter or trick is going to save you.
The only way to deal with a too-many-needles problem is to confront the fact that it's insoluble - that you definitely won't be fitting everything in.
You have to take a stab at deciding what matters most, among your various creative passions/life goals/responsibilities.
And then do that, while acknowledging that you'll inevitably be neglecting many other things that matter too.
Giving up on getting it all done is liberating.
"There's no point beating yourself up for failing to clear a backlog (of unread books, undone tasks, unrealized dreams) that it was always inherently unfeasible to clear in the first place," notes Burkeman.
Face this difficult truth, however, and you'll both free yourself from the franticness and guilt of not getting everything done.
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