I´m an avid fan of magazines. In fact, if magazines were heroin I would be an incurable junkie. I love how they feel, I love flipping through them and I love reading them. I´ll read a magazine about just about anything and I spend as much on them each month as I do on other far more dreary and less interesting items. Sure, you can get the same content for the most part online, but, in my mind, it´s just not the same. Content online is great (shameless plug — especially here at AllBusiness.com), but there´s something about the tangible, colorful paper and glossy photos that gets me excited.
Magazines are also a great source of creative inspiration. Whenever I´m stuck for an idea (or, to be honest, if I want to procrastinate for a minute or two) I just flip through a magazine and often come across the key to unlock my padlocked mind. Having all those magazines around, though, can cause some problems. They get in the way, cause a mess and bury my desk under an avalanche of confusion. In order to avoid that without having to giving up my magazine habit, I had to come up with the 3 R´s of magazines — Read, Rip and Recycle.
Read – When I get a magazine I make a point of reading everything in it. If I pick and choose only the articles that immediately interest me I often miss the most valuable and ultimately helpful content. That doesn´t mean that each magazine has to take hours or has to be consumed in one sitting. I just keep going back to the magazine every time I have a spare minute or twelve until it is done. Magazines are a treasure trove of wisdom, but that wisdom needs to be mined. Like a mine, you often have to discard a lot of rock to get a nugget or two.
Rip — Once I´ve done reading a magazine I rip out the articles that that are most interesting and stick them in a file by my desk. If I don´t do that then two things happen. First of all, the information gets lost and rarely gets found again. Second, the magazines pile up and cause hopeless clutter. I have a hard enough time keeping the mess in my office under control without all the magazines adding to it, too. I take a few minutes every so often to flip through the clippings file and refresh myself on what is in there. It´s a file full of ideas that have captured my attention and imagination at some time. There´s no better inspiration when inspiration is what´s needed.
Recycle — Once you have ripped the good parts out there´s no point in keeping the magazine around. You need to get rid of it. You could just throw it in the garbage, but you don´t hate the earth that much, do you?