If it’s not staring me in the face, I probably won’t get round to reading it

In the constant battle with interesting posts I see online and want to read but not now, when I discovered Instapaper I thought it was the answer – so easy to just add a post to my Instapaper so that I can read it later, it even lets you set up folders so you can organise the stuff in a meaningful way, and it lets you add a description so you can make a note to yourself about what this post is about, why you want to read it, even how you came to stumble upon it – all well and good, but how often do I actually open it and read the stuff I’ve put there for later? When exactly is this “later” that we’re talking about anyway? There just isn’t enough time to read all the stuff that I’d like to read, so I glance through what’s new and I pause and read the odd thing that seems interesting and then I see something interesting but I’m running out of time/mental energy so I find some way of keeping it for later and… whichever way I’ve tried, I find that I hardly ever get round to reading them. If I leave a post open in a browser tab, it stands a better chance because I’m actually seeing some kind of heading which reminds me of it – it’s not quite staring me in the face but at least I notice it now and again waving at me.
I’ve found a similar principle with my emails – I have subscribed by email to a whole load of blogs, and at some point I decided to create folders for them, so for example I’ve got a folder for WordPress blogs, and I’ve been putting the updates in there, but that means these emails are filed away and it’s a lot easier to ignore them. Yes, I see the name of the folder in bold and the number of unread items, but, a bit like dust, once it gets past a certain level you stop noticing it. (I recently had a long period of hardly finding time to read blogs because of being busy with proofreading, so a lot of stuff has accumulated.)
So, no, I don’t really have an answer to this, all I know is what I’ve found not to work for me…
And one thing that is becoming increasingly clear is that there are never going to be enough hours in the day for reading everything I’d like to read. I just wish I could feel I’m making wiser decisions about what to read when – I feel that a lot of the time I’m just going with the flow, but there is so much stuff that I don’t even know how to decide, so letting the flow decide for me is the easy route…

11 thoughts on “If it’s not staring me in the face, I probably won’t get round to reading it

  1. I gave up on filing for later. If I didn't read it then it would probably never get read so there was no point. My folders became a collection of things I never read, lol.


  2. I leave stuff that I want to read in an open tab. Eventually I force myself to clean through my tabs so that my browser will continue to work. By that point, I generally find that the articles that looked interesting initially either weren't nearly as good as I had hoped they would be, or they just don't seem relevant any more. About 10% of what I save for later is something I end up finding so good that I pass it on. There's also the goodness to time ratio issue. I might watch a video that, yeah, was actually good. But it was also 10 minutes long. Was it so good that it was worth watching for 10 minutes? Or was it really just good enough to have wasted 2 minutes on it but once it passed that it just didn't seem to be cost effective time effective any more?


  3. Isn't that THE challenge of the information age!One approach is to decide the priority of the information:1. MUST read it – because it has immediate relevance2. SHOULD read it – probably has relevance, but not immediate.3. COULD read it – it might have relevance. Scan when there's time.4. MIGHT read it – just looks interesting but no obvious relevance. Sometime, maybe.To follow a priority structure requires a lot of self discipline. I suspect many of us spend too much time with priority 4 stuff!


  4. yes, that's one of the reasons why I actually ignore most video clips, unless they're very brief. I much prefer text on screen, where I can glance quickly and see if it's interesting or not.


  5. Jon – not much that comes my way would go under "must", and those things I tend to deal with pretty quickly. My struggle is really with the stuff that I'd like to read and there just aren't enough hours in the day to read through all of it.


  6. Seriously, I think one of the issues is that I have this stupid voice in my head that says I should catch up. The longer I live on this earth the more I'm beginning to realise that catching up is just not going to happen.


  7. lol… amen, I guess :)(it's just so hard for me to get that voice to shut up. maybe I need a 12-step support group or something. My name is Meirav and I keep wanting to catch up on blogs.)


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