One of the best parts of the internet is the access to, and supply of, an abundance of information. I continually find great, but distracting articles, “to read later.”
The “read laters” end up as browser tabs, which remain open for days, or even weeks, until I get a chance to read them. When the tabs are for research, I’m torn between investing time to organize them, or leaving them open until I can finish.
Here are five distinct challenges with “read laters”.
Out of sight, out of mind. I’m so busy handling the daily onslaught of things to read, that putting them aside for later means they get forgotten. Or move to the bottom of the pile. I never have enough time to read everything. And finding that one special link later can be difficult.
Links come at me from everywhere – emails, social media, notifications, surfing, recommendations, etc. Aggregating is difficult.
Three distinct deletion requirements.
- Links that will have no value after I’ve read them and can be deleted immediately. Of course, assuming I have the time to read them!
- Links with short-term value that I’m saving for research or a particular project (e.g. travel, purchase).
- Links with long-term value, like recipes and commonly accessed reference materials.
Sometimes links lead to downloads, which must be managed in their own way.
Syncing saved links across 3 devices: smartphone, laptop, and tablet.
I use a 3-part solution, but it doesn’t address all my challenges, like a continually open browser window and a hefty reserve of cool things to “read later”.
- I set time aside to read some articles. Then I delete, or bookmark, them.
- Anything with retaining value gets bookmarked and tagged.
- For everything else I give myself a deadline, then I delete it and move on.
Occasionally I review my bookmarks and clean them up. This is a great Friday afternoon project. And offers a good chance to catch up on some reading, or rediscover something.
I searched for some new options and discovered a family of “Read it Later” apps. After some research, I learned that bookmarks are the best way to save long-term links, which I’m already doing. However, I can be doing better with my continuously open browser windows.
Stay tuned for next week’s posting on my trial run with a Read it Later app.