For sometime now I’ve found myself feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information from sites, twitter and social networks. There’s too much noise, too many articles, and too many chances to easily miss something. I realised after taking an audit of my daily browsing history that I visit much the same sites in sequence.
I’d used RSS some time ago but not had it stick. I decided the best course of action was to take a look at the best RSS readers on the market, figure out what I needed and design, test and utilise a new workflow.
My hard requirements were that due to the fact that I work across 3 Macs, an iPad Pro and an iPhone the selected solution must fufill the following:
- Allow me to utilise synchronisation across all devices, across starred, read and new articles
- Poll regularly and use rich notifications
- Allow automations (via IFTTT or AppleScript)
I quickly learned that as well as the application of choice, there was a further decision to make, namely the syndication provider. In order to get the simple syncing across of devices I decided to go with Feedly due to good reviews and wide set of sites covered. Furthermore, my logic was that if I built my RSS configuration in Feedly, I was free to move between different reader tools, and utilise my content in other ways (perhaps on an Apple TV or such in future).
I started by signing up for Feedly (with a Feedly account) – I’ve moved away from SSO via Google and Facebook due to some really bad security breaches on my old Facebook account this year. Once setup, I installed the Safari plug in (for easier configuration) and added a few basic sites and categories to my feed. When I was happy with this, it was time to move onto the RSS setup. I ended up setting on Reeder 3 for OSX and Reeder for iOS, both from the same developer, the Feedly account is simply entered on both, and bang within a few minutes all was synced. I set my feeds to refresh on the Macs every 5 minutes, and on the iOS devices every 15 (to get a better battery life).
With everything setup I tried it out. I found it fastest to get through the big morning glut of mail on my Mac. Simply using arrow keys to quickly fly through the list, down for next, up for previous, right arrow to see the article itself and left to cycle back. My work flow is pretty simple, I star things I might want to share , review or blog on later, and by using the starred view column I keep articles I want to reread via starring. The strangest feeling is the fact that I can check all my sources in 5 minutes rather than the original 60. At first that feels like somehow I am being cheated, but I think in actual fact what I’m seeing is the time saving. I now quickly scan my task bar for the Reeder 3 icon which shows the number of articles, and quickly skip through these between calls or work.
I’m pretty happy with the solution, and it certainly has freed me up greatly. I really like how pages with YouTube videos from video channels are also included and how I can access those videos from within the tool – it’s very neat! So give it a go, stop being a slave to your web browser and make the web deliver to you.