Avoiding ‘Infoxication’: My System


Some time ago, after a blog article, several people asked me to explain “the pocket and evernote thing”. They found it interesting to know how he could digest large amounts of information and not die of a stomachache. So I hope I can explain it briefly and simply, for those who want to follow suit.

The graphic on the left perfectly expresses the workflow and comes from the url http://www.jamierubin.net/ (a heavy evernote user, paperless ambassador). I am neither an expert nor an advanced user of such programs and the schematic is proof that this system, which I affectionately call “my system”, I have copied/adapted from the productivity writers I have read on this years. This is simply the way to explain to those who asked me, in a little more depth, my way of dealing with this phenomenon of ‘infoxication’. There is a great basic premise.

I will not be able to follow all the news in the world, nor to follow all the topics I want, and I am sure that one day I will have to stop reading because there are a million plans that I want more. If one day there is no time, if one day there is no Internet access or if one day there are more fun plans, possibly the “mark all as read” button is the best option. And another thing butterfly. Starting with the sources of information, which I suppose will be common for many of us…they are mainly: RSS, web pages (which can come from our own searches or from links commented by colleagues) and twitter or other social networks (Note while I edit in 2021: the original article talked about Google Plus, a social network that passed away a few years ago. Most of my links continue to come from Feedly and Twitter, some from Facebook, some from YouTube…)

A special mention for the RSS. I think it was my first discovery reading personal productivity topics. The hours spent browsing between websites, blogs, forums, etc… And something as simple as the rss button to have all the news from your favorite blogs in one place. So to speak, it accumulates new articles from various sources in a single reading place, drastically reducing the time spent browsing thousands of websites. Once google killed the reader I switched to feedly and the truth is that I am very happy.

Once every three or six months, it’s a good idea to clean the sources, some stopped publishing and some I haven’t opened an article for months, although if I’m honest sometimes I don’t do this very well. I think that during the week, about 500 articles enter feedly every day and I check it between two and three times a day, depending on how productive I am (note, I mean that the less productive, the more times I enter)… I have classified them by themes and the way to manage them is always the same. The view allows you to read the title and two or three lines of the article, no more.

If said article could be interesting, then I mark it with “Pocket” the old “Read it later” and the idea is that it is marked as “Read later”. I hardly ever read an article on the spot, but save it for “reading times” that can even be rewards to productive work days. As you can see, Pocket is a program that allows you to bookmark articles from various sources for later reading. You have seen how I bring articles from feedly, but in the chrome browser there is an extension to mark the articles you open on the web and on twitter I can do the same with tweets that contain a link that may be interesting (I usually use a rule with a application called IF (previously known as IFTTT)) and in this way, that half a thousand potential daily readings end up being no more than 20 or 25 at the end of the day.

If you follow several Apple blogs, the same (or very similar) Keynote news will come out in 5 or 6 different sources, in excel blogs the same thing will make you a new graph that explains the most convoluted macro… program that closes the circle is Evernote, and comes to play in those “reading moments”. There are articles that once you read them can be archived in pocket but you will rarely need to retrieve them (continuing with the example, the new features of the iOS system in my work are not necessary, it is more a personal matter, a hobby… ).

But then you find those articles, those that you want to have them marked in a special place, saved somewhere with easy access and quick search and for that there is the green elephant and the clearly extension. When I have time to read, I open pocket and all the unread articles are at your disposal. You can open them ten by ten or open the one you want. It works differently in the browser or on the ipad but the idea is more or less the same. In the browser it takes you to the article’s website. On the iPad it shows you the article, usually without the additional web advertising, or the rest of the page elements, just the text.

This is the same thing that the Clearly extension allows you to do with the web. It takes the gibberish out of the article and allows you to focus on reading. If that article can be useful to me in the future as a blog reference or source of information, then that article is saved to my Evernote. I don’t know how to define Evernote, for me, because of the function that I give it, it is the archive of all my newspaper clippings (including the PDF format). It allows you to save it by notebooks, stacks of notebooks, tag them and it works so brutally that its search engine is able to look inside the PDF documents to find your search term. This makes it so powerful that many times, instead of searching in google, I start by searching in Evernote.

In short, hundreds of articles that reach the RSS reader (Feedly) go through a quick reading of the headline and if they can be interesting, they fall into Pocket. When I have time to read, I go to them and if they can be interesting, they end up well classified within Evernote. And the best of all is that although the three programs have paid versions with very interesting additional functions, I do all this with the free and fully functional versions of them. By the way, for the physical world, if I can’t find the electronic version of a document, I scan it, convert it to PDF and upload it back to Evernote, it’s that simple. And what system do you use? Can you help me improve it? This article was first published in “Working that is a gerund” on June 8, 2014 and has been republished for n5now on March 6, 2021.

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