I love being productive and the feeling that comes from getting the right work done at the right time.
A recent productivity hack I’ve been following is to save all reading – including articles, newsletter and books – to outside of work hours, when I have downtime and can concentrate on the material.
There have been two tools that have been invaluable in helping me stick to this: Pocket and Tweetbot.
Pocket is a "read it later" app where a bookmark in your browser lets you to save articles to read later. You just "pocket" (it’s going to be a verb soon) any articles or websites you come across and they will be added to your queue.
You can visit your queue at a later, more convenient time and read the articles at your leisure.
I’ve found that the Pocket browser plugin has been great for when I’m working on my laptop, click a link and see an article I like, but want to get back to work rather than read the article there and then. A quick click and the article is saved to my pocket queue.
This feature is particularly valuable when used in conjunction with Tweetbot, a powerful Twitter client for iPhone.
If you hold down on a link in Tweetbot, a small menu pops up with one of the options being "Save link to Pocket", which acts in a similar way to the Pocket browser plugin.
So, when I’m browsing through Twitter and see a through interesting links posted, I’ll generally save them for later reading.
Alternatively, if I was using the official Twitter app, I’d have to copy the link, close Twitter, open Pocket, then add the link to read later in Pocket. This is fine for one off links, but not when you want to add a few in quick succession.
Tweetbot makes it so easy to save articles to Pocket.
And I find myself queuing far more than I can read.
The unread Pocket queue is the new unread Google Reader queue.
— Ben Matthews ツ (@benrmatthews) February 12, 2014
It’s a similar experience to when unread count of all of the articles in your RSS feed went into the thousands (most notable in Google Reader where it simply showed "1000+" unread instead of the actual figure).
This happened a lot to a lot of people, so every now and then people declared RSS bankruptcy and either marked all their feeds as read, cut down on the feeds they consumed to better be able to keep up with them, or simply stopped using their RSS feed altogether.
The difference with Tweetbot + Pocket is that through Twitter I have learnt not to expect to see every single tweet that comes through my stream, and this applies to my consumption of articles on Pocket.
I’m not on Twitter all day every day, so will miss a lot of content. If I catch some of that content and save it to Pocket through Tweetbot – great! But that doesn’t mean I will eventually get round to read all of the links I save.
I think this is the same for other newsfeeds we’re exposed to. I now don’t expect to keep up with every single Facebook post, Instagram photo, Quora answer, Hacker News article, Reddit thread, etc, so I no longer worry about missing that content in a way that with RSS readers I did.
This feels like healthy progress.
The search for the ultimate newsfeed has led to the content most relevant to me being surfaced when I most need it. And newsfeeds/user experience on most modern apps has evolved to a state where even if I did miss some of that valuable content I can easily discover it (search, favourites, most recent) or it can be flagged to me in another way (email summaries, push notifications).
It’s less Signal Vs Noise, more I no longer worry about keeping up with the signals – they will come to me.
So, tweet me your best links. My thumb, Tweetbot and Pocket are waiting.