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Read Later Zero

The ease to save web pages for reading is made simple with services like Pocket or Instapaper. You’re no longer need to read the article on the spot. Just send them to the queue list for reading, later.

Later; this word doesn’t live in present. How many articles in the queue list that you haven’t read? People with more than thirty articles in the list feel burdened before they start reading — obligation to read all articles is the cause.

“I can sort them”, you said. Sure, go ahead and tag each article or move them into the folders. Don’t worry. This article can wait.

How much time did you spend? Five minutes? Fifteen minutes? Forty minutes? You could have read eight articles.

Do you have similar problem? Keep on reading to find out how I solve this problem. You should be able to sort all the articles in the list by reading this post now, not later.

The key to read all the articles in the list is to simplify the organization process. You can do this by avoiding micromanagement — things like tagging documents, moving files to folders, or emptying trashes. In other words, automate things that can be automated, simplify the structure of your storage.

Maintain High Level Categorization

Start by separating your articles into three high level categories: Queue List, Archive, and Silo. Queue List is where you save articles you want to read. Archive is where read articles are stored. Silo is where all the read articles are indexed for future references.

Queue List stores all the articles you find interesting on Twitter, RSS, and Facebook. Those articles manage to hook you up with its humorous titles. It doesn’t mean they’re interesting, inspiring, or useful. You might skip the second sentence. But that’s it, you’re interested. It doesn’t store articles you must read, it stores articles you might want to read.

What is the secret of keeping the list Read Later Zero? Only read what you find interesting. The article is boring? Remove it from the list. The content doesn’t match the title? Remove it from the list. The first sentence doesn’t hook you up? Remove it from the list.

This means you can forget all the burden from piling up your reading list. You can save all the articles you’ve discovered.

Another important thing you should do is archiving your read articles. You can treat it as your personalized library where all your favorite articles are stored. Don’t tag those articles. Don’t spend your cognitive resource on something that can be solved with a simple search. Spend it on reading your next article.

There are many types of silos. You can use a folder to store all your read items as PDFs. You can use app like Yojimbo. But I use Evernote as my silo. In my earlier post on remembering everything, I create a silo to store all my online activities. By linking Pocket to Evernote with IFTTT, the archived articles are automatically stored in Evernote.

The reason why I choose Evernote is each new note contains an excerpt and original link from archived articles. Most of the keywords are included in the title or the excerpt that saves me the time from tagging. Beside, Evernote has a powerful search that acts as my private search engine.

This approach solves two things. First, you don’t feel burdened from saving too many articles in your reading list. It means you can decide what to read later. Another thing it solves is organization. There is no micromanagement. You just save, read, and archive.

Read later services are for saving articles you might want to read. They’re not the services to save articles you must read.