If you’re anything like me, then you have an RSS reader or an email folder of blog articles and it’s full to the brim from the past couple weeks’ worth of content. Somewhere along the way you had one busy day, didn’t read the articles from your favorite bloggers, and then they started to stack up. You’re feeling stressed, overwhelmed, and the achiever in you won’t let you delete the articles without reading them.
The problem you’re facing is that you know you’re reading too many blogs to really get anything out of it. But the bigger issue really lies with the fact that you think you’ll miss out on something if you unsubscribe from any of the blogs. As a result, instead of missing on some content, you’re missing out on everything.
So what to do about this little blog addiction we’ve created? With some effort and a small time investment, you can narrow your reading list to the blogs that can help you make the impact you want to make right now. Whether that means learning a new topic, or tackling a problem you’re trying to solve, your blog list should be intentional and fulfilling.
I’ve put together a concrete set of steps you can take to get going towards a more enjoyable experience with your reading. Here goes:
Step 1: Set aside a block of time to read through the posts that have piled up. You know how fast you read, so set aside a chunk of time that will allow you to get through every post that has piled up. Determine to read through all of them, just like you would a book. Schedule the time on your calendar instead of recording it on a to-do list.
Step 2: Follow through on your commitment. It’s great that you put it on your calendar, but when the time comes I guarantee you will have an excuse to do something else. Trust the process and follow through on your commitment to yourself.
Step 3: Decide on the five blogs that will help you in the biggest way right now. As you read, take some notes. Which posts inspire you most? Which author is hitting home most often? Why do you read each blog? Which blogs will help you make the kind of impact you want to make, given your goals and vision right now?
Step 4: I’m forewarning you: this is the hardest step of the process. Unsubscribe from every blog that did not make your top five list. As you do, open up a word document and record the names of the blogs that you still have an interest in reading in the future so you don’t lose them. Take a second after you complete this step and celebrate. You’ve just liberated yourself from the burden of so much unnecessary stress and burden that’s coming from your RSS feed right now.
Step 5: Choose your delivery method: email or RSS. Now that you’ve got the list down to the essentials, decide whether you would prefer to have your blog posts in email or RSS format. After trying email for a long period of time, I personally prefer RSS because it keeps my inbox free of clutter. The choice is up to you, but I encourage you to make a choice and stick with it strictly for a period of time.
Step 6: Schedule time each day to sit down and enjoy your reading. Create a space on your calendar on a daily or weekday basis so that you can sit down and really enjoy the reading that you’ve intentionally selected for the impact it will have on your life. Don’t feel guilty about this time. It’s important to take a break from the work at hand and be inspired so that we can get back to it with more gusto.
Advanced tactics: Schedule blog-reading projects on your calendar. Blog-reading projects are half-days on which you choose a specific blog you liked, but that is not pertinent to the learning you want to do right now. Go through all of the posts on the “Start Here” page or pick interesting posts from the archives and read just like a book. Boom. Your reader’s anxiety from wanting to read more than the top five is gone. Do this about every two weeks to get some variety and major satisfaction from accomplishing a chunk of learning all at once!
So that’s that. In less than a day you can completely transform the way you interact with your favorite blogs around the web to achieve more fulfillment and impact from your reading. Every time you notice your RSS feed or blog inbox getting full, stop back by to tackle the process with a fresh effort.
I would love it if you did two things now that you’ve read this entire post:
- Share this post with a friend you think might benefit from cleaning up their reading list (aka their RSS feed has over 100 unread posts in it).
- Tell me your one or two favorite blogs in the comments section. It will be great to see what blogs are popular, and which stand out as unique choices!