It used to be easy to keep up with the news & events that were important to you and your career. You would spend a few minutes each day or each week with a fresh copy of the newspaper or business journal. You could skim through the pages to scan headlines and read excerpts. It was rarely a distraction from your work. The paper would just sit on your desk till you had the opportunity to read it.
Now, content is more of a distraction than ever. News sites, blogs, social media, RSS, and email newsletters deliver an avalanche of content every day, every second. Admit it. At some point, you've let content on the web distract you from your work or some other important task. You were trying to focus, but you got an email with some interesting headlines that you just couldn't resist exploring. This very article might be pulling you away from something.
Thanks to some wonderful applications, you can stay up-to-date, but still be efficient and productive.
Read it Later
Read It Later is one of our favorite apps and deserves a world of praise. It has over 4 million registered users and has been called "a DVR for the web" by the New York Times, Business Week, Time, TechCrunch, and others.
You use the system to save articles, videos, or anything else you find interesting to your own, personalized Read It Later queue. This queue is a reading list that syncs across a wide variety of devices (desktops, laptops, smart phones, tablets, etc.).
When you're ready to catch up on some reading, you can use any of your devices to see just the text of the article and any images that might go along with it. You're not overwhelmed with hundreds of links and ads and flashing lights. It's just you and your article.
When you finish the article, you hit the check to flag the item as read and it removes it from the reading list on all of your devices. It even saves a copy of articles that you've read in case you want to go back to something later.
You simply can't give this app enough praise. Just use it and enjoy it.
An RSS feed is a list of recently published articles or content that is continuously updated. You can see the RSS feed for our blog by clicking here or using the button in column on the right.
To really use an RSS feed, you need a reader. Our personal favorite is Google Reader. It's very easy to subscribe, follow, and read RSS feeds with Google Reader.
You may read content from many sources, but there are probably just a few that you really care about. For those, you simply visit the site and look for their RSS feed(s). Some have just one feed. Larger sites have many feeds to choose from so you can focus on content or category that's important to you.
Once you find the feed you want, you follow a few simple steps to subscribe and add the feed to Google Reader. Once it's there, you can arrange and organize your feeds in a way that makes sense to you. It's a lot like having an email box for content where you see read and unread items.
Read It Later + Google Reader
When you put them together, you get a powerful, time-saving tool. Read It Later will integrate a small icon next to each article headline in Google Reader. As you scan headlines for valuable content, you simply click the icon next to each article you'd like to read. This adds the article to your reading list so you can review it at a time of your choosing. It's a great way to review a lot of information in a quick, painless way.
We always love to hear what you have to say. Have you used these apps before? Is there another solution that works well for you? Leave a comment below to share your thoughts.