Reading is one of my all-time favorite things to do. But nowadays, there hasn’t been time allowances made for it, which is odd to me because now there is more to read than ever before.
As we all know, reading has expanded from traditional printed books, magazines, and newspapers. Now we have websites, blog posts, emails, Facebook, Twitter, forums, newsletters, digital books, e-magazines, etc., etc. These types of reading can be an overwhelming reading list that we must feel we have to keep up with.
The list becomes difficult, so my solution is to not try to keep up. My reading lists are self-inflicted, and so I pare it down to a read-it-later system that works for me. In true minimalist fashion, I have scaled down my printed books to the essentials. Now my fiction reading is done with e-books. Thanks to an all-inclusive Apple One subscription, they threw in digital magazines that I will occasionally browse through. The blogs I enjoy keeping up with have been scaled back. I don’t do Facebook, “news” websites, or newspapers, so no loss there.
Even with a scaled down reading list, time for reading is still a challenge: how do you make time to consume what you want and when you want? How do you read without distraction? It’s difficult to read when you come across something you want to explore later, or notifications pop up on your screen from phone calls, texts etc.
Here’s my attempt at finding reading without distraction:Books. Rarely will I read non-fiction. I love a good novel here. Most of them are now consumed through the Libby app, which ties into your local libraries for zero cost. To avoid distractions, my reading device goes into “Airplane Mode.” I’m good for thirty minutes to a couple of hours into another world.
Blogs. I love to read blogs on topics I enjoy and love to see another author’s perspective on it. The list of authors and websites I have carefully curated is filtered into an RSS aggregator called FeedBin. I don’t visit these blogs and websites, no, they come to me through Feedbin. No advertising, everything is in reader mode. Meaning, the format is stripped down to white text on a grey background for distraction-free reading. I can save the article for later reference or clear the posts out and wait for the next ones to be delivered as soon as they are published. Genius.
Browsing. If you browse through the internet, you could open multiple tabs and maybe re-visit them later, but let’s be honest- you won’t. There are a lot of “Read-It-Later” services out there like Instapaper, Pocket, etc. to help out. Find an article on the web you want to keep for later? Hit the browser’s send button and deposit it there for later reading. Make the web work for you. Personally, I prefer the one-time purchase of a “R-I-L” service called GoodLinks. That is where all my articles to follow up on. Again, on my own time.
Email. This is a tool for critical notifications only. I do subscribe to newsletters, the next step of blog authors getting their articles out there. Not me. All newsletters are delivered through Feedbin. I like my email inbox for important things and keep my address locked down tight.
Social Media. Twitter, is it for me. I have found so much benefit there than any other social media outlet. I have met so many like-minded individuals there and, as a result, in the real world too. I sprung for the third-party app called TweetBot that eliminates advertising and limit my time there to maybe 2 times a week for 5 minutes. After that, I’m good.
Recommended Apps that I use for my reading workflow:
- Feedbin or Reeder.