Jenny over at ExConsumer recently had a fantastic post about the fact that many A-listers are telling people to stop reading blogs – or stop reading as many, anyway.
It’s instructive to note, however, that most of those people would still tell you to read their blog. After all, that’s where they get the huge subscriber numbers that make them A-listers!
Love him or hate him, at least Everett Bogue was consistent – he not only told you to stop reading so many blogs, but he’d be the first to tell you to stop reading his own blog if it didn’t do anything for you.
Those A-listers do have at least a minor point, though – not everybody can read every minimalism blog out there.
A Cluster Of Clutter
Not that I didn’t try at one point, mind you!
In fact, I used to follow several dozen of them. They were all on my “to read” list, and given equal priority. This was great, because I got lots of information.
The problem came when I missed a day (or two). I’d made some sort of mental commitment to reading this stuff, but a day or more off resulted in a huge backlog of unread posts.
As anybody who’s ever been overextended can tell you, mental commitment + large backlog = stress.
I needed a strategy. Specifically, I needed a way to maintain close contact with a few favorite authors, but still be consistently exposed to the best ideas from the others.
That strategy is what I’m outlining here.
I use RSS for my blog subscriptions, specifically Google Reader. You could accomplish the same thing with e-mail subscriptions if you like, but it would take more time.
When Tanja posted her humongous minimalist blog list, I went through and subscribed to them all. Yes, all 120+ blogs, because I’m just crazy like that.
This also meant that for many of the blogs I had to manually find the RSS feeds; you’d be surprised how many blogs don’t have a nice “subscribe” button on their homepage!
I already had a “Minimalism” folder in Google Reader. This folder contained all the minimalism blogs I’d subscribed to before I’d run across Tanja’s humongous list.
To that, I added a “Misc. Minimalism” folder – and I put every blog from Tanja’s list that wasn’t already in “Minimalism” into that folder.
Yes, “Misc. Minimalism” has well over 100 blogs in it – but it takes up exactly one line when it’s collapsed.
Clear The Clutter
The next step was to evaluate the blogs in my main “Minimalism” list. Some of them I read because I want to see everything they have to say; some I read most of the time; some of them only post something good once in a blue moon.
Anything I didn’t read almost religiously got bumped down into “Misc. Minimalism”. This keeps it in my system, but moves it to a place where I don’t feel pressured to deal with it if I don’t have the time.
Now when I have a few minutes and I want to do a bit more reading, I just expand my “Misc. Minimalism” folder and skim through the headlines. Out of a few dozen headlines, there are likely to be at least a few that catch my eye.
I pick what look to be the most interesting posts, and click into them. If I really like them, I click over to their blog and comment!
Sometimes a particular blogger stands out. Maybe I really like what they say, or I really enjoy their style. I might just notice that I’ve read three or four of their posts in the last week or two, which means that they consistently draw my attention.
When that happens, I move them up to my main “Minimalism” folder. They’ve become a “priority read”.
The reverse is also true – sometimes a “priority read” becomes less interesting, so I bump them down into the “Misc. Minimalism” category.
This isn’t rocket science, just a simple method that works well for me.
It lets me keep tabs on the six to twelve “priority reads” that I have, while at the same time getting a good mix of all the 100+ other minimalist blogs on a semi-regular basis – all without a lot of undue stress!
What about you? Do you have any strategies you’ve developed for managing “blog overload”? Let me know in the comments!
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