Productivity / Business Productivity

What to do with all those free resources you’ve downloaded

You’re on a mission to start the year with unmistakable clarity and profound action and want to increase your knowledge on a variety of topics. So you subscribe to countless mailing lists to grab awesome free resources.

11 March 2016 by

This is the year your business is really going to take off right? And you just know there’s one ‘thing’ out there that’s going to help it do that. So you get busy searching for tips/tools/resources/webinars/templates:

  • Blogging 101 tips
  • DIY content marketing tools
  • How create visual marketing assets like a boss
  • Social media for time-poor entrepreneurs
  • Public relations 101 templates
  • How to successfully launch your course, program or product

… and find a stack of awesome free resources.

You jump on the list to get said content and it all gets delivered to your inbox via various series of cleverly crafted automated responses.

So … what do you do AFTER you have acquired these digital assets?

    A. Return to the shiny object regularly and read it?
    B. Print the shiny objects off and whack them in a folder?
    C. Save them to your computer for a day when are ‘working on the business’ and can read them?
    D. Nothing.

I used to swing between C and D. And tomorrow never came. I was then hit with a serious case of digital distraction. Which got pretty counterproductive given I’m busy enough.

So here are my four rules for dealing with the inbox overwhelm that can happen when you sign up for all the free resources going round.

"I'm busy enough without having to manage inbox overwhelm."

1. Sign up mindfully

You will be receiving content from this person after you sign up to their list so make sure you resonate with the influencer’s vibe or else you will be swiftly hitting unsubscribe!

2. Do something useful with your free resources

Create a hard copy folder for different elements of your business: content marketing, growing your business, new projects, courses, programs etc.

Add tabs to create sections and then add the content to each section.

You may also like to have an action plan printed at the start of each folder so you can track progress too.

Want more articles like this? Check out the business productivity section.

3. Declutter each year

Declutter your digital life as much as you do your real life.

Work out how often you can commit to decluttering your hard drive and inbox, add it to your calendar and commit to the process.

Enlist the support of an accountability partner if you are struggling.

Or engage a business coach or decluttering professional if you know you need help.

4. Unsubscribe when it all gets too much

If the subscription rampage at the start of the year gets too overwhelming, hit unsubscribe.

Or use a service like

When all is said and done, remember this: you’re better off signing up for just one resource, and actually following the tips/instructions shared in that one resource, than you are in signing up for all the free resources you come across. The overwhelm that comes from knowing you never have time to do ‘All the things’ is just not worth it!

Merryn Padgett

helps ambitious women create powerful brands that cut through the noise of sameness. She crafts an image that is congruent with your mission, values and purpose and helps you launch your brand with authenticity and unmistakable clarity. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram.


  • Thanks Merryn for the helpful tips. Another technique to consider is to save articles that might be helpful one day into a folder with various relevant sub-folders. Computer searching is pretty effective, so generally a search such as ‘presentation skills tips’ will hunt out the material for you. In fact a colleague of mine uses this approach for his email. He just has a single folder with literally thousands of emails and regularly relies on targeted searches.

    • You’re most welcome Paul – and what a great tip of your own! Thanks for sharing.

  • Merryn I feel better already having read your article. I am totally bogged down and guilt ridden with all those marvellous resources that I never get around to reading. Thanks so much. I will get to work!

    • Oh @flyingsolo-af7ea05940553f46a0aec14fdaf0d2e7:disqus, reading your comment makes me smile. Glad the guilt is relieved, and you have some practical action to take!

  • I realised not too long ago that I didn’t have a problem of a lack of information on what to do with my business. I had a problem with knuckling down and just doing it. So I have been unsubscribing from a lot of mail, and generally not signing up to anything new. I really don’t need to know the most cutting edge way to market my business, or whatever, I just need to *do* something that’s good enough.

    • @flyingsolo-6c557bb4b553d0c12fbab9dec2163559:disqus Clarity like this is wonderful in the digital age, isn’t it? We have so much information at our fingertips. I find it’s a matter of establishing a few ‘go to sources’ who are leaders in their field, and subscribing to their content – rather than living with ‘popcorn brain’ and being inspired by everything I see! Thanks for your comment Fiona.

  • I have started using an app called Pocket to save articles web pages and other resources that I think I want to read later. It is available as a smart phone / tablet app, and is also a Chrome browser extension on my PC. ‘Read later’ items can be saved to Pocket (on any device) and read later (on the same or any other device) when I have downtime (whatever that is) or I’m on the bus or train.

    • What a great app @flyingsolo-26d5b910ae5e893bc16b1c2185a88643:disqus – thanks for sharing. I do a similar thing using Safari (as I’m a Mac devotee). Safari is synchronised across my iPhone, iMac and Macbook, and the reading list is available this way.

      Thanks for sharing your insights.

106,175 people use Flying Solo to help them create a business with life. Do you?

Connect with Flying Solo

Explore the benefits of membership