Speaker | Entrepreneur | Author

Sam Davidson's blog

Every Tuesday, I write.

I share an idea I’ve come up with, a struggle I’m wrestling with, a puzzle I’m turning over in my head, or a story that I think the world needs to hear. You can sign up to get these emailed to you each Tuesday morning by clicking here

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Simplify Your Life by Better Managing Your RSS Reader

I subscribe to 239 different blogs. Well, they're not all blogs. Whether I'm getting the news (I don't subscribe to print news and I don't have cable), keeping up with friends, or trying to stay on top of my entrepreneurship/Gen Y/nonprofit game, I need information coming in so I can distill it and use the best stuff. In a sense, I'm the opposite of Tim Ferriss, who is on a low-information diet. But, as you can imagine, all of that inflow can get might weighty. Rifling through all those feeds can be time consuming. Unless you have a plan. Feeds are meant to come and go. Some sites are great for a season and others can stay consistently great for a few years. But if you're not paying attention, you'll never know. As with most things when it comes to simplifying your life, you've got to pay attention to what's working and replicate it while getting rid of what's not beneficial. Examination is crucial if you're looking to live a simple life.

It's easy to simplify your life by better managing your RSS reader if you just break things down into two categories: Daily reads and everything else.

Daily reads

These are my closest friends, the best pontificators, news about where I live, and anything else that I need to check in the morning. The total incoming stories never gets above 100 in a single day (not including Google alerts), so even if I'm slammed in the morning, I can still manage things later that night. Great stuff gets read, tweeted, shared, liked, and saved for blogging later.

Everything else

I still categorize everything else, but it's all tied for second in terms of priority. I go through everything else when I can - when I have some spare time before my daughter wakes up in the morning, a lazy Saturday afternoon, before bed when I need something to read, or when I can dedicate time to wade through thousands of posts. I can scan headlines quickly (note to writers: headlines matter, so make them good) and then star things I may want to share or blog about later (I use - and love - Google Reader).

Most importantly, I audit my subscription list once a month. If I don't remember something worthwhile you wrote in the last 30 days, it's out with the old. I'm always adding new blogs to read, so, as fate would have it, my subscription number still never drops below 200 .

Sometimes I can be a little late to the party, but I don't work or live in a world where time is always of the essence. But, what I've found is that anything earth-shattering or super urgent is usually covered by one of the feeds that is a part of my daily reads. So, as roundabout as it may seem, I'm never that out of touch.

Unread posts don't haunt me as much as unread emails, so I may even go two weeks before getting to a post if it's part of everything else. But that's okay - the best posts seem to be somewhat timeless anyway.

How do you manage your feeds? Any tips to add? And has anyone found a great feed reader for the iPad yet?

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