I’ll admit it, I’m lazy. When it comes to information, that is. The news cycle has shifted from 7-day, to 24-hour, to “right now!” And I don’t have the time nor the bandwidth to scan various websites, newspapers, and even my beloved magazines to ensure that I am on top of the latest and most-interesting news of the moment. Do you?

I didn’t think so.

Yet if you want to gain the edge, you have no choice. In the very early stages of my career, I would arrive at the NBA offices in New York by 5am and begin scanning each and every paper and fan site in every team market, print out the relevant articles and have them prepared for my boss to review, highlight, and prioritize. Then, that stack would be copied and delivered to the top executives at the league by 9am. I learned very early on the value of information.

Then, the value is not so much in having it—it’s in what you do with it. Do you need to correct factual errors or set the record straight? Capitalize on a fast moving trend that can quickly establish your brand as an authority? Maybe you just need to know who may be breathing down your brand’s neck. Well, if you waste an entire day searching for these opportunities, chances are you will have squandered them. Instead, arm yourself to quickly consume, assess, and decide in a timely, efficient manner.

Thankfully, there many great tools available that make it easy for me to do just that. Here are just a few that I use daily:

  • Feedly – This is my go-to RSS reader since Google shuttered Google Reader, which was my lifeline. After a bumpy start, it’s proven to be a very nimble tool that allows me to categorize important sites into folders and continues to build great functionality with seamless integrations with Evernote, Hootsuite, Buffer, and others. I currently have more than 75 feeds broken down into four collections and I’m constantly tweaking the mix.
  • My Email Inbox (Really) – Despite its well reported demise, email is still alive and kicking. More importantly, email newsletters have steadily become a focus as opposed to an afterthought. NextDraftMedia REDEFIWantMedia and SmartBrief are my daily go-to. SmartBrief let’s you customize your newsletters by industry. I actually get about five of these a day.
  • Social Media – You’re not just using Twitter for voting on The Voice are you? I’m always surprised when I speak with someone and find out they aren’t utilizing the best feature, hands down: lists. I like Twitter for the news feeds, and I LOVE Twitter for the goofy and irreverent feeds. However, what I NEED is to cut through the crap to quickly see what’s happening, and well curated lists are the solution. Although you can find lists to subscribe to, I curate my own by media outlets, writers I need to follow and influencers or personalities in the health and fitness fields.

So yeah, I’m a little lazy when it comes to my media consumption habits, but it’s made me incredibly efficient. Not only can I scan a world’s worth of information in a few short bursts, but I can capitalize on that information for Galvanized and our partners before I finish my first cup of coffee. Believe it or not, I still get up at 5 am to start scanning the news. Some habits are just too hard to break.

I’m always open to recommendations. Tell me what I’m missing at: @jmhammond