People are often mystified about how I seem to have gobs of resources at my fingertips to share with them when they send an email including a question like, “Do you know a resource for …?” I do my best to respond with at least a few links to websites or attach a couple of relevant files. I may even throw in a few questions to ponder or a little advice I may have.
But the “secret” to being a good Minister for Resourcing, Networking and Creativity, is not a photographic memory or a psychic ability. Curating resources does not require magic or even remarkable skills. Curating really just requires a curious mind and little bit of organization. Here’s 5 tips I can give you for becoming a more resourceful and efficient curator:
Google it. Seems really, really elementary, but about 90 percent of the time when I’m asked for a resource on one thing or another, I open up a new tab on my browser, go to Google and search for it using the best keywords I can come up with. If I don’t get the results I want the first time, I change the keywords, or sometimes just the order in which the keywords appear. The other 10 percent of the time, I don’t need to Google it because I know the resource already because — you guessed it — I once Googled it.
Network. Join networks of people who are also interested in the same topics as you. What’s terrific about digital media is that you don’t necessarily need to leave your home or office to go to conference to do this. You can join groups on Facebook or Linkedin, follow Twitter or Instagram #hashtags or take part in inexpensive webinars or videoconferences.
Ask Many Questions. If there’s something you don’t understand that you read online, hear in a webinar or see on social media, ask a question. If you meet a new person, ask them about their favorite resources or ideas. If you have trouble finding content online (this does happen sometimes) start asking around to people you know. I bet you’ll come up with something sooner than you think. Asking questions does not make you look dumb, it makes you look curious.
Absorb Content. Set aside time every day to read books, blogs and articles, watch videos and listen to podcasts. Be on a lot of email list serves even if you don’t have time to read all the email everyday. I know this sounds overwhelming, but just set aside 15-30 minutes a day to look through your email, listen to a podcast or audiobook. Look for the moments of “downtime” in your day like when you go for a run or walk, have a long drive or are waiting in the lobby of your doctor’s office. These are great chances to read a few emails on your phone or listen to a longer audiofile.
Organize your Resources. You’ve now absorbed a lot of content, but you don’t know an easy way to save it all? There are all kinds of online tools to help you with this. My personal favorites: Pinterest and Evernote. Both are free online platforms that allow you to access links from any computer or device. In both cases you can put a little button on your browser that will connect instantly with that platform. Once you do that, you simply click that button and tell the popup menu which board (Pinterest) or notebook (Evernote) to save the link to. The other bonus? Both of these platforms allow you to easily share these resources with others.
As these “secrets” get out there, I just may put myself out of a job or at least get fewer emails. But, seriously, this doesn’t have to be difficult. Just try one of the five things above to get started and I promise you will drastically change the way you work (and even play) in just a few weeks.
Rev. Nicole Havelka serves as the Ohio Conference UCC Minister for Resourcing Networking and Creativity and the Curator for Youth and Young Adult Ministries in the National Setting Faith Formation Team.