Slash Your Reading List
If you are like me, you sometime have a lot to read on your Instapaper/Pocket account. “Just reading” all of them is not that easy sometimes. There are those articles that you always promise yourself “to read one day, just not today”. Those articles accumulate and start to get annoying.
First off all, good news: you’re a normal human being. You function normally. The reason you have stuff to read shows that you are actually interested in increasing you’re knowledge by reading, which is a good thing.
Here’s a technique I’ve come up with in the gym, that’s the place where I usually read my articles or books.
- First we’re going to use some tricky if-then planning. “If I start a reading session, then I have to get rid of 10 articles.”
- When you read, start with the first one or two articles from the top. Those are the fresh ones. They are more valuable to your current situation, so they are more intersting and relevant.
- After you’ve warmed up1, scroll the article list with a quick flick upwards, tap the screen to stop the scrolling and read a random article.
- Now you should have one of those article you promised yourself to read one day, when it’s convenient, right in front of you. It’s never the right time, so let’s get just through this as quickly as possible with the least amount of energy and time. Skimming:
- Skip the introduction. It’s just fluff around the main article to get you in the right mood. We don’t need the right mood. See the introduction for what it is: just an introduction. You don’t need to waste more time than necessary, so just skip the first one or two paragraphs.
- Now comes the main part. Skim the paragraphs by reading the words that stand out to you. This is actually what skimming really is. It’s a speed reading technique. After you “skimmed” the other paragraphs this way, you should have a grasp what the article is about.
- Still interested? Then read the article again, but this time in your normal reading speed.
- Not interested? Delete it!
- Not feeling like deleting? Archive, Pinboard or Evernote it. Just get it off your reading list.
I know it sounds radical, but you have to see it like this. The next time you open up your reading app there are fewer articles. This tip is not about reading less stuff, it is about how you get quicker to the stuff you are interested in, so that you can spend more time with those things that are more important to you.
These two writings are related, but appeared in my subscriptions when I was done writing this. Pure coincidence.
photo credit: taiyofj via photopin cc
I wrote this article in the gym, too. ↩