On Making Time

While pecking away at a post on my other, more literary, weblog, I realized that I waste a lot of time. A lot of the time I waste is wasted simply reading the web, the vast majority of which is just not useful to me beyond being random trivia I absorb and occasionally pass along. The vast majority of this vast majority of not-really-useful-content comes to me via web feeds. To quote myself:

One easy way for me to make more time is to stop reading through thousands of stories via RSS. I’m of the opinion that the blogosphere has (as quickly as it started) jumped the shark. Once upon a time, weblogs acted as human filters for the sea of dross that flooded through the intartron. Now blogs seem simply to amplify the noise, not only adding to the flood of garbage (one piece of real content will get reflected back a dozen times, with little or no added or useful commentary) but also drowning out the useful-but-less-noticed content that’s out there. Job one, therefore, is to cut my RSS subscriptions from “anything that’s ever caught my interest for more than 30 seconds” to “feeds for things I actually need to monitor every 2 hours”. This will make a nicely compact, useful, and efficient list.

As an example, I got out of bed at 9am this morning. After making coffee (mm, coffee), I read my email. That was finished by around 9:30am. Since then (it is now 1:43pm) I’ve been reading through my RSS feeds. What the hell is with that? That’s four hours of my life I won’t be getting back ever, and only about 6 of the stories I read required any sort of real attention or action on my part (all of which were related to the MDC).

Enough, say I. Right now I am subscribed to 185 feeds. Having looked through those, I’ve found that only fourteen (14!) are things I actually need to monitor regularly. I’ve put those 14 in their own folder. The rest will be getting moved into a web-based feed reader system (bloglines or such) where I’ll check them once every couple of days.

I honestly have no idea how people who boast they’re subscribed to thousands of feeds ever get anything done.

I think I’ll make 2006 the Year of Figuring Out How to Waste Less Time. Paring down my feeds is step 1.


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