Adding Read Times to Pocket

I’m an avid reader of online content, and to keep up with it all I save everything to Pocket. When that list gets long, I find myself looking through the list to read the quickest ones first. For a while I was just determining that by looking at how long the article was, but it turns out there’s a better way.

A site called ReadRuler will automatically assign tags to corresponding to the read times (based on your own reading speed) to your articles in Pocket.

I’ve improved the process by creating two smart folders in ReadKit, Quick Reads which includes articles tagged 1 or 2 minutes, and Long Reads which is anything not 1 or 2 minutes.

Now the one caveat is that you need to visit the ReadRuler site to allow it to scan your articles. To make things a bit more automated, I set up a Keyboard Maestro macro, triggered by a hotkey, that opens the Read Ruler site, closes the window, and refreshes ReadKit to get the new read times.

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An Update to My ReadKit Setup

If you’ve read some of my more recent posts, you know I consume an insane amount of content from the internet. I’ve written a couple posts now about how I avoid information overload using web services like Pocket and Feedly and apps like ReadKit and Reeder. If you’ve missed them, you can check them out here:

Today, I’m back with a bit of an update of both how ReadKit is working out for me, and how I’ve tweaked things since writing about a month ago.

Since writing my post on how I was using ReadKit on July 24th, I’ve knocked my number of videos to watch later down from 204 to 61.  {For all you math people, that’s nearly 70%.} My list of blog posts to read later is at zero and has been there for a while.

Now I have been doing other things besides watching YouTube and reading. Okay, maybe sometimes I was binging on YouTube, but for the most part, I’m just watching videos in my spare time. I have picked up a new habit of watching a video or two as I get ready in the morning which has helped a bit though.

So the ReadKit set up is here to stay though, at least until Reeder is re-released. Then I’ll really have to do some soul searching as to which app to use.

Now onto the tweaks and changes…

When I wrote my first ReadKit post, I was just starting to use smart folders. I started out with these 5:

  • Incoming – RSS feeds from Feedly fed into this folder.
  • Read Later – If I wanted to read something, I saved it to Pocket, and it ended up here.
  • Follow Up – As I was going through the Read Later folder, if I found an article that either required a computer, included a video, or required more than just reading (e.g. a picture I wanted to look at on something larger than a phone), I’d star it which would put it here.
  • Pin It – Periodically, I read things that I want to save. By adding the tag “pin” to the item, it’d show up in this folder and I could easily find it and pin it when I got to my computer.
  • Videos – I feel like this is self explanatory, but anything tagged “video” ended up here.

The beauty of this was that it essentially filtered my content into contexts {a lot like GTD for all you planner people}. I’d skim the incoming folder, save things to read later, star the ones that required a computer or additional time, and pull out the videos and things I wanted to pin. The result was essentially folders for “on the go,” “at the computer,” “pinterest”, and “outside of work” {because we aren’t supposed to watch videos at work, right?}.

Now I’ve been using this system for several weeks, and the beauty of it is that it can evolve, and it has.

I had a lot of videos when I started, and since I like to watch shorter videos first, I started tagging videos by length to help me find the shortest ones. At first, I started with generalized times like “less than 5”, “less than 10”, etc. Eventually I ended up breaking the generalized times down into minutes like “14”, “15”, etc. for only the current chunk of time I was working with. For instance right now I’m in the  “less than 20” block, so I have tags for “16”, “17”, “18”, and “19”. Once I’m finished watching the 16 minute videos, I’ll delete the tag for “16”.

So I’ve rethought tagging, but my smart folders were a mess. They accomplished what I wanted, but in roundabout ways, so I tidied them up a bit and renamed them to reflect how I use them.

  • Incoming – No change here. This folder is the same as before.
  • Read Now – Anything I’ve saved to Pocket from Feedly. This was my old “Read Later” folder renamed to reflect that these are the items I can read at anytime.
  • Read Later – This is the same as the Follow Up folder just renamed. Read later signifies that I’ll need to come back to these when I have time.
  • Watch Later – Videos end up here. This folder now filters by content type rather than a video tag which means one less tag to add to each item.
  • Save It –  Anything I tag with “fav” or “pin” will end up here. The tag indicates whether I need to mark it as a favorite on YouTube or Flickr or pin it on Pinterest.

Do you use ReadKit or another app to read blogs or manage videos? If so, I’d love to hear about them. Also, if you have any questions, please feel free to ask!

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