January 3rd, 2008 | Google | GTD | Productivity
The fundamental problem when managing feeds is input management. Most of us simply have too many feeds to read in a single sitting. How can we be sure we’re reading the right content at the right time? The goal is to avoid the anti-GTD state of not being sure – a state that consumes valuable brain resources and keeps you from functioning at your best.
That’s what this system helps you do: it lets you instantly choose which feeds to read at any given time – allowing you to feel fully satisfied when you’re done with a session.
Create three types of tags within Google Reader.
Mine look like this:
- Priority (general importance): Primary, Secondary, Tertiary
- Subject (classical organization): Security, Programming, Design, Humor
- Location (contextual consideration): Industry News, Important World Events, etc.
This breakdown gives us three choices for how to attack feeds. You can go by:
- General importance of the feed (priority)
- Type of content that you want to read at a given moment (subject)
- Where you are (location)
The key to the whole system is that each individual feed can have multiple tags assigned to it. This feature is there for a reason.
So if you’re at work during regular hours you can read your “work” feeds, which include important information pertaining to your profession, key world events, and perhaps some other tidbits that may be useful during work-related conversation.
During lunch you can read your “lunch” feeds, which include your feeds that are still work appropriate during lunch but perhaps aren’t completely work related, e.g. Dilbert, XKCD, Reddit, etc. Or, you can choose to read based on priority or subject instead.
Assigning the multiple tags makes it possible to cover the same content during various types of reading sessions – whether you browsed based on time available, where you were, or a particular interest such as design or programming.
This system helps me greatly in getting through my feeds with less stress, and allows me to feel confident that I’ve read precisely what I should have during my session. I hope you find it useful as well.:
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