Feeding your Mind: Tips to Help the Information Junkie Organize and Prioritize Online News Sources
By Motherly Law on March 03, 2010
A note about Wednesday Tips and Websites: On each Wednesday I will be posting a website or two and some tips that pertain to the Monday post. Since this week is the blog launch and there is no legal topic presented, I decided to make my Wednesday post about blogs.
By nature I am a neat and organized person. I think more clearly, feel more relaxed and have a more amiable disposition altogether when my world is in order. My life used to be like this, and then I had kids. Not just any kids, but two wild and crazy boys who came with lots of accessories that clutter the floor, fill the tub and creep into every room of my house. Darling 1 and Darling 2 seem to operate on the exact opposite premise; that is, order is bad, chaos is good. I think they get this trait from their father. To say that I crave organization is an understatement. I will take it anywhere I can get it. So, when I found www.bloglines.com I was elated. No. Really, I was.
Bloglines tracks all of your news, blogs, weather and classifieds in one place. All you have to do is subscribe to a feed through bloglines. Then, voila all of your feeds are in one place ready to be read when you have time. Isn’t this great? Until I came across bloglines I was meticulously, yet aimlessly adding blogs and other sites into the vast black hole known as my favorites list and sometimes remembering to subscribe to a feed, but then promptly forgetting to check the feeds for new posts. I am an information junkie. If I see something online that I think I might need to know at some point, I save it in favorites. You should see my favorites list. I even have subcategories and folders, but still it is an information quagmire. You can see why I was elated about bloglines. If you too are an information junkie, give bloglines a try and let me know what you think. It’s free, just sign up and get started importing your existing feeds and subscribing to new ones. Oh yeah, and remember to subscribe to www.motherlylaw.com. I know that is the very first one you were going to add, but I just thought I would remind you. Go to www.bloglines.com and check it out for yourself.
Another thing I no longer have since having kids is extra time. There is always a load of laundry to do, a meal to prepare, a diaper to change, a mess to clean up, a phone call to make, a work deadline to meet, etc. I know this will ring true with you too. But seriously, everyone needs a little downtime, a little ME time. What better way to “waste” some time and zone out than by immersing one’s self into the blogosphere. So, here are some tips from www.nevndave.com for organizing and prioritizing your blog reading and being a more “productive” blog reader:
1. Before going any further investigate different blog readers - if you’re going to spend time reading blogs, use the right tools for the job. Different blog aggregators engender different usage styles - find one that is as efficient as possible. We use Bloglines for a number of reasons.
2. Try resizing your browser or news reader to make the text appear in a thin column about 8 words wide so that you can speed read it.
3. Before attempting to change your habits, get a handle on your addiction - record how much time you spend reading each of your blogs or blog groups.
4. Now set time limits and times when you’ll read blogs - and stick to them. For example, 12:00-12:30 and 3:30-4:00. Set up something to enforce the limit - perhaps an alarm etc.
5. Limit how many feeds you subscribe to on a particular topic. If you add a new feed, strongly consider deleting one of your old ones.
6. Periodically test your feeds. Leave a feed unread for a week. Then spend some time doing a catch-up and ask yourself “was that really worth my time?”
7. Organize your categories not by topic (tech, java, games, news etc) but by importance and/or reading frequency.
Daily - blogs you check daily
Every Monday - blogs you check every Monday
8. Add a ‘quarantine’ category for new blogs that you’re adding to your aggregator. After a week or so, decide whether you really want to keep that blog and move it to the appropriate category.
9. Add an ‘ignore’ category for blogs that you no longer read - this helps you remember your decision. If you ever come across the blog in the future and think “ooh, I’ll add that to my aggregator”, you’ll see that it’s something you decided wasn’t worth your time.
10. Consider subscribing to only a subset of a person’s blog. Someone may have interesting things to say about your favorite topic but do you really want to know about their thanksgiving dinner as well? Many bloggers tag their posts into categories and it’s often possible to get category-specific feeds.
I realize the tips from www.nevndave.com are a bit dated, but I found them to still be relevant and helpful.
Thanks for your overwhelming response to my first post on Monday. I have the best readers! Please keep passing the word, and keep coming back for more Motherly Law. I will post some words of Motherly Advice on Friday. I would love to hear from anyone who tries out bloglines. Check out my blog at www.motherlylaw.com. Over and Out.