There are a couple of serious information consumption problems with reading blogs and online articles, no matter how informative, engaging or actionable the content is…
- You will be working online and stumble upon an article that you know is going to be worth reading, but you don’t want to stop working on your current task.
- Distraction factors are huge; the temptation to check email or social media accounts.
- A lot of times you will read half an article, get distracted by something, and never return to finish the article.
- If you want to reference information in that article later, you have to go back and find it.
- If you’re like me you have a million bookmarks in your web browser, if you bookmark yet another blog or article to read, all that does is ensure it’s going to be lost in the avalanche of bookmarks.
- If you’re a hustler-geek like me a lot of times you like to read work or business-related articles at the end of the day to let the knowledge marinate into your mind as you relax.
- Reading on your computer screen is bad for your eyes, especially at night, which is when you are probably doing most of your reading if you follow proper information consumption practices.
The Solution: An Evernote Stuff to Read Notebook
The free and AWESOME tool, Evernote, synchronizes notes between your web browser, devices, and smartphones beautifully. This makes saving articles for future information consumption super easy.
- Create a folder in Evernote called ‘Stuff to Read’, you don’t have Evernote yet it’s seriously time you got with the program! Did we mention it’s free?
- Install the Evernote web browser plugin for Google Chrome (I believe the other leading web browsers have Evernote plugins as well but if you are serious about your life hacking Google Chrome is the best). You will now see a little Evernote icon in the upper right corner of your web browser.
- When you stumble upon an article that looks like it’s worth reading, click the little Evernote icon and select save article in the Stuff to Read folder. It takes about 2 clicks and 3 seconds to save the article for later consumption, what’s especially awesome is that Evernote (usually) intuitively selects just the text of the article to save, not the distracting side banners or menus on the web page.
- Later on, when you’ve got some time to relax and enjoy some reading, pull up Evernote on your smartphone or tablet and you will find the article already downloaded to your device (if not just click the sync button in the Evernote app and you should have the article in moments). I prefer to turn off the other apps on the device so I’m not distracted by social media or email notifications while reading. If you are reading at night: save your eyes and circadian rhythm by taking a minute to turn down the brightness on the screen of your device.
What about blog commenting? Let’s say you have some ingenious comment to leave on an article you saved to Evernote, click the edit button to write in the note, and leave your comment at the top of the article. Now click the sync button to save your comment. Evernote conveniently saves the URLs of all articles you clip so later on when you are in front of your computer you can quickly copy and paste your comments into the comment sections of the blog articles you read. Talk about task batching your blog commenting!
Optional: Create another folder in Evernote called ‘Read Stuff’ (or whatever), when you’ve finished a seriously useful article that you want to save for future reference just move it to this folder so that your Stuff to Read folder doesn’t get overwhelmingly crowded with outrageously interesting articles to read.
Take it to the Next Level: I have the paid version of Evernote, which enables me to create offline folders, downloadable folders. This way if I’m traveling and without wifi, in some exotic corner of the globe I can get my read on!
Fellow online-information-aholics, you’ll want to read or listen to my book review of The Shallows: What the Internet is Doing to Our Brains…