Monday, August 22, 2011
I read a lot of other blogs. I'm subscribed to about 190 blogs, which publish about 500 posts/day. Fortunately, I use Google Reader, which makes it easy to skim through those posts and decide which ones I really want to read; I only read a very small percentage of those 500 daily posts! But sometimes I'll scan the posts and "star" those I want to read later, rather than reading them right away.
And that's a fine strategy — except the number of starred items I had was approaching 950, which felt seriously out of control. So I had a project this past weekend to finally clear up my Reader.
And, like any organizing project, this meant I was making decision after decision. Do I still want to read this item, or watch the associated video? Do I want to keep this post for future reference?
And I found I hit the same kind of stumbling blocks we often find in other decluttering situations.
1. No clear "home" for something I want to keep.
I "store" my posts in a big list of bookmarked sites, organized into many bookmark folders. And I found that many of the items that lingered in my "starred" list were things where I wasn't sure where to file the post — where my filing system for bookmarked sites wasn't working for me. So I did some reorganizing of my filing structure, until everything I wanted to keep had a logical home.
2. A tendency to let time-consuming items linger on my list forever.
That might be a long post, or a pointer to a long video. I need to be sure to set aside time to read and watch these items — or let them go.
3. A tendency to keep things I really won't ever refer to again
When I see something neat on the web — whether it's an organizing-related product, some place I'd like to visit, or just something that makes me laugh — my first tendency is to bookmark it and file it away.
But when am I really going to go back and look at that post about some Italian furniture that, while cool, isn't something I'm likely to blog about, or recommend to a client? That might be a really cute photo of Paul Krugman and his cats — but do I really need to keep it? And that might be interesting information — but could I easily find it again, if I ever really wanted it, just by using Google? I had to stop myself, over and over, from keeping stuff that I just don't need.
But now I'm down to 13 starred items — and I'll get the count down to zero, except I wanted to take a break and write this post first. And I'm pretty darn pleased with myself!