Thursday, October 27, 2005

RSS Feeds - one day at a time

This item from Merlin's 43Folders blog knocked me for a loop and I took a few examples from the Probations idea and from others in the comments to adjust how my Bloglines feeds are displayed.

* First, I always have the option checked that only updated feeds be displayed. When I began editing my list, I was shocked at how many feeds I've subscribed to that haven't updated in months. Out they went. Others went into the probation folder.

* I like sorting my blog folders in alphabetical order. It's natural yet arbitrary. Sue me. So, I have "z_Probation" to hold the feeds I'm on the fence about.

* I also had subject-level folder categories, the largest being "Blogs," which usually always had something for me to look at and/or clear out. So that needed trimming down. I picked out a few blogs I love checking on a daily basis--Catarina, Cool Tools, Core Dump, and a few others--but that don't update constantly. These are the "desert-island blogs" that I let myself check anytime I want.

* I also created a Comics folder for the few comics blogs I read and a folder to hold various feeds from I let myself check these daily because they don't update often.

* But I also enjoy the novelty and freshness of something new coming into Bloglines on a regular basis because, you know, my bored brain needs stimulation all the time. And there were plenty of blogs I like but that didn't need to be checked daily.

So, I created a set of day-based folders--_1_Monday, _2_Tuesday, up to _6_Sat/Sun. I then arbitrarily split up my huge Blogs folder amongst this group.

So now, the simple rule is: On Wednesday, for example, I allow myself to read the blogs in _3_Wednesday and in any non-dated folder (Blogs, Comics, Audible). I cannot read Monday's blogs till Monday, Tuesday's blogs till Tuesday, and so on. I can tell at a glance if my Blogs and Wednesday folder are empty, and if they are, this is the signal for me to move on to real work. I know that tomorrow's blogs await and that they will have something new to delight me. It keeps me from overdosing on them all today.

A final refinement: high-update blogs like Mark Evanier's and Quick Online Tips go into the Sat/Sun folder because they generate lots of items daily. While I enjoy them, I simply don't have time to process them. I have a little more time on the weekend, so the high-impact blogs go here.

I'm toying with the idea of letting myself view any blog on the weekends or after work-hours, but for now, I'm sticking with this system.