Today I totally clean my google reader and no I didn't read everything. ;)

As most of the people, I always have around 500+ post unread in my google reader. This is a problem because it's very unproductive. I think of my google reader as a inbox (in a gtd sens) and it should be empty-ed on a regular basis. As a matter of fact, google reader make the collect phase, but, for the system to work you must go through the review phase and there is where all the mess is starting.

List of problems of having a lot of unread items :

  • It's depressing, it 's a constant reminder of what you have not done (which is unproductive because it cannot be done).

  • When you read blog entry for example it is at least a few weeks old, you will not be able to participate the discussion, meaning you cannot spread your wisdom or start a flame war or a troll.

  • You have no sensation of achievement, because the unread count is a constant reminder of what's you haven't done. This might lead you to drug abuse or worth (like no drug at all, imagine that).

The first step to achieve this was to admit that I won't ever read everything. So, you have to prioritize you're reading. We need to categorize our reading, first there is several kind of feed :

  • The ones you read exhaustively (e.g. Dilbert), these are clearly not the problem.

  • The ones you think it would be nice to read but you're never in the mood for it. Simple solution, if you didn't read any item for some time -> unsubscribe!

  • The ones you read on and off. If you don't need to read everything for this source but you think you'd profit from time to time reading, one good solution is to follow the source on twitter (all the cool kids are doing it). The great thing about twitter is the fact that you don't see what you're missing (and would miss anyway) but you can skim over the flow with no guilt at all.

Good day.