RSS Reading Productivity Tip

If you’re like me, you’ve got more than a hundred of RSS feeds in your favorite online RSS reader. If you’re also subscribed to some really active blogs like Lifehacker, which on average post 5-15 times a day, then your average number of unread posts will be around 100-120 each morning.

Now, you could try and honestly read each on of them. Will take you a few hours even if you read quick enough.

Another alternative is to skim through. Will be a bit faster, but still about an hour for 100+ posts.

Finally, you can minimize content to headlines only, and then you’ll be able to quickly run through all the posts titles and mark or open for further reading only things you’re interseted in.

But my ultimate solution to reading many RSS feeds a day is even a step further: use folders (in Google Reader), categories or tags – whatever it is called in your favorite RSS reader. Use this option which allows you group your feeds by a subject or level of importance.

The idea is this: if you sort all your RSS feeds into categories, you’ll be able to read/skim through posts on a particular subject only. This, in turn, will save you time because you don’t have to switch context all the time.

Here’s how it compares to reading all the headlines in one large list: as you go through titles of various posts on technology, productivity, graphics design, music and all the rest of your personal interests, you will automatically have to switch between subjects these titles are talking about. And it does take a few seconds for your brain to fully switch the context, recover a few latest news from the subject you’re switching to, and analyze the importance and relevance of a particular post title you’re looking at.

So my RSS productivity tip is this: place your feeds into categories, and you’ll save time because your brain won’t have to switch context when going through titles of new posts.

Aim to have 5-6 large categories with 20+ most interesting blogs and possibly another 6-10 smaller categories comprised of less important feeds.

This way, you’ll be able to run through all of them in just a few minutes, and mark stuff you’re not interested in as something you’ve already read.

At this point, you can either go ahead and read posts in each category (again, it will be faster cause topics are probably similar), or go and read all the posts from various categories in a much shorter list of only titles you’re interested in.


  1. I do this already. Great idea to anyone who doesn’t. It really changed my productivity. One further thing I did, now that I’m watching about 300 feeds, is create three subfolders inside the category folders. I then ‘rank’ the blogs in the category folder into being either Tier 1 – must read blogs, Tier 2 – good blog, usually really good content, but not always or Tier 3 – have liked some posts, but they’re on the fringe of me unsubscribing. I make sure I read Tier 1 every day and often Tier 2. If I have time, I’ll peruse Tier 3 and if not, I usually just mark them all read. Then once-a-month I reorganize blogs between the three folders. This system works great for me.

  2. That’s what I’m planning to next myself, Dawud! Thanks for sharing the tip with others!

    Which reader do you use?

  3. Thanks for the great idea, Gleb, and for the additional info, Dawud. I’ve been feeling pretty overrun with my feeds recently… just can’t seem to keep up with them! This should help.

  4. I just bundle everything into the river-of-news. What’s the latest, and the newest holds my mind.

    Categories is a good thing too – especially grouped by posting frequency.


  5. How many feeds do you regularly read, ggw?


  1. […] Everyone  I know uses RSS and solicits subscribers (including myself). Darren Rowse even has a series running that explains How To Make Your RSS Feeds Pop!  and Gleb Reys of Perfect Blogger has a post today that gives an RSS Reading Productivity Tip on how to deal with a multitude of Feeds. There are even Bloggers that use Links to Feeds rather than the Blog/post itself. Everywhere you look you can find someone singing the praises of using RSS (usually by reading a feed). […]

Speak Your Mind