Collect Now. Filter Later.
Read It Later apps have one crucial problem: when you can save anything, it’s easy to save everything. That’s ok. You should try to only save the articles you really want to read to your list, but you’ll still end up with random articles that don’t seem quite so important after a day’s reflection.
You don’t need to go back and clean it up, though. The whole idea is to save time so you’ll have more free time to read. Here’s how I gather great content to read, and filter through it before actually reading.
Batch Collect Articles
I always start my day by responding to emails. I set a timer for an hour, knock out as many replies as I can, then take a much-needed break with a fun activity, such as collecting articles. I’ll go crazy, opening as many tabs as my little heart desires. This step is where OneTab, a browser extension that consolidates all your tabs into a page of links, comes in handy.
You might not even need to search for interesting articles to collect. If you have sites that publish content you know you’ll want to read later, Zapier can automatically add new posts from their RSS feeds to Pocket or Instapaper for you. You could even connect Feedly to Instapaper or Pocket with Zapier, then just star articles in Feedly to read them later.
These strategies will leave you with with loads of content to read later, but not all of it will be good content. That’s fine: Just delete anything you save that doesn’t directly add value to your life or contribute to the learning you seek.
As Tiago Forte explains, you’re creating a buffer by building up a pool of options and paring it down as you go. Decide whether or not the content is actually helpful, and delete accordingly.
Many posts look interesting in the moment, but with a couple days of perspective, they may not seem like the most important thing to read. No worries. Swipe to delete, and dive into the articles that still seem worthwhile.
Why you need to read, and how to do it efficiently
Reading isn’t just for writers. Reading helps us learn more about our craft — whether it’s marketing, management, engineering or teaching. It sparks new ideas and pushes us forward when we’re in a slump.