How to Use Michael Masterson’s
“Power of One” to Eliminate Information
Overload and Live a Richer Life

As copywriters, we love information. I’ll be the first to admit I’m addicted to the stuff.

Perhaps you know what I’m talking about …

That pile of copywriting/self-help/marketing books sitting on your desk or collecting dust on your bookshelf.

My pile is probably two feet high right now.

And don’t get me started about all the e-books sitting on my hard drive … or the dozens of emails from all the e-letters I subscribe to cramming my in-box.

Simply put, all this information can get overwhelming. It can even paralyze you. And when you finally get the motivation to “tackle” it all, you don’t even know where to begin.

That’s why I’ve committed to using a neat little tip I learned from Michael Masterson.

Put this tip to use, and you’ll eliminate the burden of “information overload” for good.

What’s more, you’ll retain A LOT more information from everything you read.

And here’s the kicker …

In just 30 minutes a day, you’ll plow through your “info pile” and be on top of things.

The first thing you’ve got to do is get rid of the urge to want to read everything cover to cover.

Says Michael, “In the old days, as I read a book, I would underline dozens of paragraphs and take many notes … and then I’d put it aside and do nothing.”

I’m guilty of this, as well. As a writer, I’m tempted to read everything from the “Table of Contents” to the “About the Author” page. But as I’m now learning, this is counterproductive …

Because, after a few weeks, you’ll most likely forget 80% of what you read.

The reason isn’t that you lack mental powers. Not at all. It’s because you encountered so many ideas, you’re only able to remember a few.

So … what to do instead?

You’ve got to use the “Power of One” rule.

In copywriting, this is the rule that states your promo should have one “big idea,” one useful emotion, and one purpose. Having more than one of any of these weakens the copy and lowers response rates.

Says Michael, “When applied to reading books, the ‘Power of One’ says that you should search the book for one good idea that you can put to work in your life immediately.”

Note … even though Michael mentions books, you can apply this technique when you read magazines, newsletters, emails, audio programs, etc.

As Michael suggests, you search for one good idea that can enrich your life. Once you’ve found that one good idea, write it down and put away the book/magazine/email or whatever you’re reading for the time being. Don’t worry about reading more.

If there is a huge pile of books and whatnot waiting for you, do this process three times a week for at least 30 minutes a day (or more if you’ve got the time). After a month of doing this, I promise you’ll be caught up on all that information you’ve been meaning to digest. Then, just continue reading through your resources and looking for one good idea per week to put to use.

One more thing …

When choosing an idea, remember … it doesn’t have to be huge or totally life-transforming. Just make sure it’s an idea that can improve your life in some way, no matter how small.

Here’s a quickie “sample” plan for how to implement Michael’s tip into your regular routine:

  • Read one book a week for at least 30 minutes (or you can read the same book for 30 minutes a day).
  • Search for one good idea in each 30-minute session.
  • Put the book away once you’ve found that good idea.
  • Write the idea down.
  • Think of at least three ways you can use this idea in your life. It can be in your copywriting, your relationships, your family life, your work, etc.
  • Put the idea to use.

Commit to following Michael’s “Power of One” rule today. Then take action on all those good ideas … and you’ll lead a richer, more fulfilling life.

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

The Professional Writers’ Alliance

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Published: January 19, 2009

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