Feed reading and blog posting

Thought I would share my current system for evaluating new posts in my RSS feeds and deciding whether I want to use them for my blogs. I have folders in Google Reader that group posts according to which blog they're related to and how valuable they are. ("Read for Lifemuncher", for example, or "Lifemuncher Second Tier".)

For the top-tier feeds, I go through folders in expanded view, starring the ones that look interesting. I use the keyboard shortcuts J (next) and S (star). I find that I need to see them in expanded view to know if they're worth reading or not.

When reading the second tier folder, I usually use list view, because I know that most of them aren't going to be interesting. I go right by things like "Use Linux to wash your dishes" or "17 Ways to Find Eternal Happiness." C'mon. Really?

I then go through the starred items folder for a second look. If it looks like something I want to read, I open it in a new tab and quickly go to the next post. If my first instincts say that the post is promising, I leave the star, but if it seems like it might be boring, or something I will be able to post immediately using the Firefox BlogThis extension, I take the star off. I leave the star on more interesting articles so that I can find the article easily if I decide to write about it. The fact that it stays in my starred folder serves as a reminder as well.

When I have a few open tabs, I go to them to look at the post directly. If it seems boring, I close it. If it looks like something I could post about right now, I do so. If it's a long article that I'll probably sit down to read on the couch, I print it out. Then I go back to the starred items and repeat the process as time allows.

What do you think? Any suggestions?

Does it make coffee?

Web Worker Daily - Archive WWD Coffee Break: Xambox, Link Bunches & Traffic:

"In addition to scanning documents to indexed PDFs, it also files the hard copies for you in a special tray. If you ever need the actual piece of paper, the application will tell you where to find it - “three places beyond the black divider,” for example."

This is kinda cool

Add a Blogroll to Blogger:

"Blogger in Draft (a pre-release version of Blogger) added an interesting widget that lets you display the latest posts from your favorite blogs. It's an enhanced blogroll that displays the recently updated blogs and snippets from the most recent posts."

Hey, me too!

Scott H Young - 20 Tips for Batching to Save Time and Cut Stress:

"I’m batching right now. Although my articles appear almost daily on this website, I only write twice a week. This is my third article today. I was batching this morning too, when I did all my daily e-mail, RSS, website maintenance, comment-handling and inbox dumping over one 30 minute period."

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy defined

How to Change Your Beliefs with Praxis, Part 2:

"The idea of praxis is that by taking consistent actions and creating results you will create new reference points for yourself that will change your thinking. By doing and taking action you will change the way you experience yourself. When you change the way you experience yourself you change what you believe. The key is to take action, do things and do them consistently."

Making it easy to do the right thing

Unclutterer - Archive - Preparing for tomorrow’s work day:

"At the end of the work day, I clean off my desk and then I organize everything that I need for the next day. For example, if I were to have a morning meeting, I’d have my agendas photocopied and in a labeled folder at the center of my desk. This way, if I were to be stuck in traffic or sick and attend the meeting over the phone, it’s easy for someone else in the office to grab the agendas and pass them out in my absence.

A clean desk and organized materials also are worthwhile if you do make it to work on time and healthy. This preparation allows you to hit the ground running when you arrive at work. Five to 10 minutes of organization at the end of the work day will have you on your best footing tomorrow morning."

How's your time and motion?

2time’s Time and Motion Basis - The 2Time Mgt Blog:

"One of the key inspirations behind of the 2Time way of thinking happens to be the time and motion techniques I learned as an undergraduate in Industrial Engineering.

The idea behind the technique is simple — observe each physical motion taken by person performing a task of some kind. Record it, and analyze it using some common sense, then experiment with improvements. Use metrics to determine whether or not the improvement is a valid one.

When I look at someone’s time management system, I naturally have an inclination to see what they are trying to do in 'time and motion terms,' coming from my formal training in this area."
This morning, I was thinking about my eye makeup. Usually I get bits of mascara and eye shadow on my cheeks and have to wipe them off, which disturbs my foundation. Duh, I thought, I should do the eyes first, then the foundation will be perfect! Lookit me! I'm an industrial engineer!

More on happiness and choice

Barry Schwartz at Google

Dan Gilbert at TED

Another argument for limits and routines

The Choice-Minimal Lifestyle: 6 Formulas for More Output and Less Overwhelm | The Blog of Author Tim Ferriss:

"The choice-minimal lifestyle becomes an attractive tool when we consider two truths:

1) Considering options costs attention that then can’t be spent on action or present-state awareness.

2) Attention is necessary for not only productivity but appreciation.


Too many choices = less or no productivity
Too many choices = less or no appreciation
Too many choices = sense of overwhelm"

I call it "repurposing"

Do it Tomorrow and GTD: Comments on the two systems? - The David Allen Company:

"Hi, I've read all of Mark Forster's books now and I have to say that I've found them extremely helpful. My problem is with procrastination and overwhelm, and Mark's book Get Everything Done was a revelation.

I just read it last weekend and I'm still thinking about it, but I'm beginning to think that for me it was even more helpful than GTD. It really gives you a lot of insight and practical tools to deal with resistance, and helps you get started when you feel stuck.

The problem I see with GTD is that it's not possible to think through all your work in advance. Life moves too fast. I've been working with GTD for a couple of years now and I've never been able to "think about once a week." In my profession, working is thinking. The idea that I could do a weekly review and come up with everything I needed to do that week is just not possible.

Get Everything Done doesn't delve into that issue specifically, but it does give you tools for getting going. My problem is that I get overwhelmed because I don't know where to start. Forster has helped me to understand that I need to just dive in, and that giving myself time to think is not goofing off. "

Interesting ideas and tips from the productosphere

Plan your work and work your plan

Organising my home tasks with a week planner | blog to discovery:

"There are 14 boxes each representing a different area of my life e.g. website, writing, health, friends. On Sundays I go through my home task list and add two tasks to each section on the form. This provides a spread of tasks to ensure I am progressing each area of my life, but is also a manageable number to complete in a week (although I haven’t actually completed all of them yet). There is also an area to mark any deadlines and to highlight any tasks that I am resisting."

Maybe that's why I'm always reorganizing

Simply GTD with Kelly: Shifting your position:
"Did you ever move your bedroom around as a kid? Even a simple thing like moving your bed from one wall to another? Remember going to bed that night? It felt new and exciting. Same furniture, new perspective. If that worked for you as a kid, it can work for you as an adult."

I read this paper. It's really good!

[Productivity Workflows] - Blog Archive - Getting Things Done: The Science Behing Stress-Free Productivity:
"A post on the David Allen Company Forum draws attention to an intriguing academic paper, available for download as a preprint, which seems worth a read. It is: Francis Heylighen and Clement Vidal (2007) Getting Things Done: The Science behind Stress-Free Productivity."

Who could resist a good Conan quote?

The Task Tarot at LifeClever ;-) Tips for Design and Life:
"Personally, there are days I’d rather be elbow-deep in cow guts than take another scan through my to-do list. At least a good hieromancer would give you a clear answer, from 'the crops will be good this year' to 'you will crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentation of their women!'"