Organize Your Feed Subcriptions by Priority, Not by Topic

5:57 pm PHT

One big productivity step I took a few months ago was to organize the subscribed feeds I had in Google Reader into folders by priority. The result is that I no longer feel overwhelmed if I have hundreds of unread items in my feed reader, and I now able to use my time more wisely by scanning those feeds that I really am most interested in.

Back when I was using Bloglines and later when I switched to Google Reader last year (see the related vaes9 post), I did the most natural thing in organizing my feeds and that is by grouping them topically (such as News, Web Development, Tech, Pinoy, Google Maps, etc.). That’s how I organize my e-mail in the office—I sort them by project. I didn’t realize then that this made hunting for the really interesting feed items quite a chore. Moreover, so that I wouldn’t miss anything, I developed an informal weekly goal to trim down all unread items to below 20. I ended up spending an inordinate amount of time every weekend to catch up on my subscribed feeds, which number above 50 and dump an average of 30 to 40 new items per day.

Fortunately, I stumbled onto articles like these: “Sink or Swim: Managing RSS Feeds with Better Groups” and “10 Smart Hacks for Google Reader”. That’s when it dawned on me that the way I organize my feeds is most definitely not the way I read them. These articles clued me to the fact that there are a few feeds that I really want to read each and every item of and others that I wouldn’t mind not being able to visit for several days.

So I abolished those topical folders that I set up in Google Reader (and inherited from Bloglines) and then grouped my feeds into priority folders. This replaced my weekly goal of cutting down unread items to below 20 with just reading the feed items in the higher priority folders and only venturing into the lower priority folders when I have more leisure time.

I still tweak things a bit (demoting or promoting feeds as necessary), but I no longer feel guilty that I have 248 unread items in Google Reader. Freedom from feed oppression!  :D

I’m just curious: how do you organize your feed subscriptions? More importantly, do you have the vaes9 feed in your highest priority folder? Hehehe.

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