How to keep up with digital content.

I promised in an earlier post that I would share my system and my favorite tools for keeping up with my reading of digital goods such as blogs, articles, e-news, etc.

For blogs.
I love Google Reader. It works really well on all of my devices (laptop, iPhone, iPad) and stays in sync regardless of where I access it. Within Google Reader, I use folders to keep things organized. I have a folder for “must read” stuff like things related to clients. Then I have folders such as Marketing, News, Business, Friends and Design Inspiration. Finally, I have a cluster called Waste Time. This serves as a home for those wacky sites that I simply enjoy looking at when I want to zone out, sort of like that time spent watching TV.

A couple of things about reading blogs. First, accept that you can’t keep up and don’t feel like you have to read every post as it’s written. I block out a certain amount of time each day and read whatever I can during that time. This is where a good headline helps since I skim those first and decide what I might like to read. I will also star items when looking on my phone and come back to read those later. Second, if you find that you’re never reading posts from a certain blog or feed, just unsubscribe. Too often, I’ve hit the “mark all as read” button over and over again only to finally realize that I just don’t read that particular blog anymore. It’s fine. You can always unsubscribe and reconnect later. But don’t you dare unsubscribe from my blog.

For e-news.
I created a separate “read” email address where I direct all e-newsletters and other things I want to read later. During my morning reading time, I simply pull one or two things out that I want to read. Blog rules apply here too. If you’re always deleting e-news stuff without reading it, go unsubscribe. You can always sign up again later.

For others.
I send links, articles and other things I want to read or look at to that same “read” email address. Once I’ve read it, I will either bookmark it, save it to a job folder or simply hit delete.

Having a stack of stuff to read is nice, but only when you realize you don’t have to keep up. Most of things I read don’t expire right away. That marketing article is just as good a week from now as it is now. At the end of day, you have to find what works for you.

P.S. Another reason I love my iPad is that I can read all of the above items along with my books, Facebook and Twitter all in one place. As I mentioned in an earlier post, the iPad is the perfect device for consuming content…not that I’m trying to sell you one or anything.

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