6 Ways to Manage RSS Overload

rss newspaper iconYour feedreader is supposed to save you time by allowing you to see all of your favorite web content in one place.  But if your feedreader is overflowing with unread articles, it’s not a time saver, it’s a time sinkhole.  Here are 6 tips to help you get control of your RSS reader and manage the overload.

  1. Put a time limit on it. Limit in advance the amount of time you’ll spend reviewing articles in the feedreader. When time’s up, move on to other more productive work.
  2. If you’re not reading it, get rid of it. Like the items in the back of your closet that you’ll never wear, articles from blogs you visited once probably languish unread in your feedreader.  Be honest with yourself:  if you’re not reading it, unsubscribe.
  3. Put new feeds on probation.  One way to keep from accumulating items you’ll never read is to save your newest feeds in a folder labeled something like “Probation.”  If you find a new feed useful, you can elevate it out of the probation folder.  On the other hand, if you realize that the articles are not as good as you thought they would be, you can unsubscribe to the feed before it takes up residence in your feedreader and starts accumulating.
  4. Feel free to mark all as read. If your reader has hundreds (or even thousands) of articles waiting to be read, it’s probably better to empty the reader by marking all items as read and starting again.
  5. Search to find the gems. If you use Google Reader, you can Search by topic to find items of interest. The articles that meet your search criterion are pulled out for you to read and tag as needed.  This keeps you from having to page through all of your articles to find the few you want to read.  You may want to do this before you mark all as read.
  6. Save the best for another time. When you find articles that you want to read in depth, you can mark them with a star to be read later, or you can tag them as a “Favorite”. Then you can come back to them at your leisure.  Set aside a specific time in the day or the week to do your catch-up reading. Beware of tagging so many Favorites that you never get around to reading them all.
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