Rich Atkinson

Rich Atkinson's Personal Blog

How I simplified my RSS habits and saved an hour a day

Today I’d like to share a few simple steps that could potentially simplify and destress your RSS reading habits.

Categories, filtering and thinking become a thing of the past, replaced with an almost zen like NEXT button and good ole Stumbling…

The Gift of the Moose - by Steve took it
Steeve took it

By Christmas my RSS subscription list was nearing 100 feeds! Depending on the quality of the articles, and on my focus level – this could easily suck anything up to two hours of my time every morning!

So it was quite timely when Tim Ferris offered his pre New Year advice on simplifying RSS habits – and got me thinking…

“In a digital world, the race goes not to the person with the most information, but the person with the best combination of low-volume and high-relevancy information.”

Simplifying RSS is a topic that’s been covered before – but I just wanted to highlight how a few simple steps have reduced my RSS habit to less than 20 minutes twice a day.

Export, and drink the cool aid!

  1. Firstly, I decided to switch from Bloglines to Google Reader – I have to admit, the borg wins again. Google Reader really is a slick piece of work – a lot better than Bloglines.
  2. I then exported all my feeds from Bloglines as OPML, and duly sucked them into Google reader.
  3. Next, taking Tims advice – I immediately deleted all the categories. I’m trying to simplify things here, so there is only one category now – site’s I want to follow!
  4. Next, I started the big purge! … (I’ve just counted my feeds and I’m ashamed to admit that there’s still 59 feeds in there! However, many of these are very infrequent feeds and some are my own sites – there’s probably only about 10-15 daily posters, and about 30 infrequent ones.)
  5. Now, here’s the real gem! Google Reader has a really cool little bookmarklet, the next bookmarklet. By dragging this onto the bookmarks toolbar in Safari – it is now the only button I ever use to read RSS!
  6. If I come across something particularly good and relavent to me, then I’ll usually Stumble it using this excellent thumbs up bookmarklet.

The Next bookmarklet - Simplified RSS Reading
The Next Bookmarklet


So now, I don’t need to know who has posted overnight, or what’s in my queue – I just hit the ‘next’ button, and whatever is next in line is displayed – no choices, kind of an uber-targetted stumbleupon!

Finally, because you don’t know how many unread articles are in your queue (you don’t need to know), you don’t always feel like you have to get to the end every time…

So now, instead of my 2 hour RSS binge each morning – I just hit ‘next’, stumbling the pages I enjoy – and when I’ve had enough I’m done!

Written by Rich Atkinson

January 21, 2008 at 5:58 pm

Posted in Web Tech

3 Responses

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  1. That’s a great idea! This is just what I need to get some of that time back in my day, because like you said, I end up spending 2 hours a day reading blog posts!

    I’ll see if I can set this up. Thanks for the tip (and the link!)

    ** Rich’s comment: I hope this works for you too, mate! – and thanks for the link back


    January 22, 2008 at 12:09 am

  2. [...] can be overwhelming, so try to limit the amount of time you spend on each. You should also consider simplifying your RSS reader so you aren’t overwhelmed by the hundreds of blog posts you need to catch up on. As you go [...]

  3. Interesting idea. But if I just have a ‘Next’ button I end up actually reading (or beginning to read) an article I might otherwise decide to skip based on it’s title.

    Will experiment sometime


    March 27, 2008 at 7:23 am

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