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I want to write more. Do more. Hack more. Learn more. So I gotta read less.

There aren’t enough hours in the day. I’ve been trying to juggle several side projects, plus all the stuff I have to do at work, plus all of our family stuff which is ramping up for summertime, and still keep up with all of my sources of information crack – RSS feeds, Twitter, books, etc. And it’s not working. A couple of things are crashing down around my ears. Something has to give.

I read a LOT. I used to be subscribed to over 1500 RSS feeds. That was WAY too many. About a year ago, I cut it down to around 500 feeds or so. But that was around the same time that Twitter really exploded in my life, proving itself invaluable for not only connecting and talking with people, but as the fastest conduit for breaking news, the most efficient source for answers to questions, and general serendipitous gems of things that were interesting and made me smarter. So I think the overall level of information overload stayed about the same.

Today, I decided action was needed. Drastic action, maybe. So I went and pruned my Google Reader feed subscriptions down to around 250 – I cut them in half. I have a pretty structured system for organizing feeds into various attention tiers (which I really should write about one of these days, but I haven’t had time – see my problem!? ๐Ÿ˜‰ ). But even that wasn’t enough. So, after backing up my OPML, I got out the machete. Chop chop!

I feel pretty good about what I have left. I have a serious disorder – FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). I’m always afraid that something cool or interesting or significant is going to happen, and I’m not going to be among the first to know about it! I had to battle that tendency, and be ruthless about what I really needed to keep in my aggregator, and what I could get rid of. We’ll see how it works out.

I pacified my FOMO by reminding myself how effective tools like Twitter, TechMeme, and Digg are at letting the interesting/cool stuff bubble to the top. A few years ago, there really wasn’t anything like them that information addicts like myself could rely on. Now that they’ve matured into what they are today, I’m more comfortable relying on them, and not needing to subscribe to the many, many sources of news myself. It was funny and ironic to tell myself “I don’t need to subscribe to that feed. I’ll just go to the site if I want to see what’s new.” Me, Mister Orange RSS Shoes, lives in his aggregator, etc. You can laugh now if you want. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Anyway, I hope to force myself to have more time to write (long form, as in blog posts, and maybe other stuff – 140 character microposts on Twitter don’t really count as writing!), and work on some side projects. I’ve been getting the itch to do more programming and hacking. I want to sit down and teach myself Python, or PHP, or build something cool on Google App Engine or Amazon EC2 or something. Create. Build. Hack. Teach. Do.

And as much as I love reading, something’s gotta give, so we’ll see how long I can last on this feed diet…

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8 thoughts on “I want to write more. Do more. Hack more. Learn more. So I gotta read less.

  1. Pingback: Silicon Florist

  2. Pingback: Martin Gordon's Blog

  3. Sure you’re cutting out the feeds, but what about all the social networking sites and aggregaters like twitter, pownce, spokeo, friendfeed, brightkite, plurk, zobzee, … ๐Ÿ˜‰

  4. Heh. Good point. Of those, the only one I really use is Twitter. I keep the following open in tabs at all times (my “standard loadout”):

    iGoogle
    Gmail
    Google Reader
    Google Calendar
    Twitter
    Flickr
    My Blog

    So Twitter and Flickr are the only “social sites” I really spend time on. And Flickr is just an occasional check for new comments to respond to (which I also get via RSS), or new photos from my contacts (which as of today, I no longer get via RSS). That leaves Twitter, which streams by in a Twitterrific window I keep open (when it works).

  5. At some point one has to filter for value. Some do that by reducing the amount of incoming material, some do that by only reading some of what arrives, some do that through various other means. I don’t think anyone is going to fault you for trying to get things under control.

    And don’t worry. We’ll tell you if you miss something :)

  6. I know exactly what you mean. I’ve adopted the personal motto of “More output. Less input.”…but living up to it isn’t always easy.

    It’s hard to resist the siren call of the feed reader!

    I’d love to know your thoughts after 30 days: Did you miss all the feeds you cut? Did you find yourself adding new feeds?

  7. Jona says:

    I so know what you mean. I think I’m going to cut my feeds down too because honestly, I’m not reading all of them.

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