Organising my news feed has been on my list for ages. I tried a while ago then dejected by the enormity of the task decided not to bother.
How frustrating is it though when you get a golden ten minutes then realise you have spent it reading about someone else’s holiday on Facebook or scrolling through random news stories that were boring first time round never mind written down again here.
However, I’m now all over it and here are a few of the things I’ve learnt so that if you too want to feel like you are in control of what you are reading it isn’t such a massive ordeal.
1. Use one of the clever apps that are around to do the job for you. Feedly is my personal favourite. You can browse and explore but also set up categories to organise the websites and blogs you like to read. So, I have a few different categories for my business (learning & development, motherhood etc) but then personal ones too (news, lifestyle). I spend a couple of minutes browsing once a day and just pick out anything that takes my fancy. You can also save articles that you like for later or to refer back to. The only downside is that I can’t seem to add all of my favourites, it is a bit temperamental on that front. And the explore option doesn’t work that well for me. But overall I use this a lot. Others I have heard of include Feedbin (more advanced search options) and Panda (nice layouts). Also Bloglovin has been around a while and is often highly regarded and Digg Reader.
2. Organise your Facebook newsfeed. Now I am no Facebook expert (o.k full disclosure I am actually the very opposite and I very rarely use my personal Facebook account so this isn’t a big deal for me). However, I do happen to know that you can manage your newsfeed and unfollow people without breaking ‘friends’ which means you don’t get flooded with stuff you have no interest in. Finding your newsfeed preferences is pretty straightforward (even for me) and can make a big difference. I know, I know, it does take time but honestly it will be worth it.
3. Twitter Lists. Similar to Facebook it can be hard not to get lost in the noise on Twitter and a list can really help with this. Without having to only follow people you want to hear from regularly you can set up a list using a particular theme or topic and add accounts in. They can also be private so no-one need know that you love a particular trashy TV programme or want to stalk someone (not really stalk you understand, I’m in no way promoting this type of behaviour). I am one of those annoying people who started out with lists from the beginning so my Twitter feed was lovely and organised but then I switched to my new @guiltymothers account and have never really got back into Twitter in a big way. It’s on the list!
4. Choose one favourite ‘news’ option. I’m not suggesting that we purely rely on one source but with all the scary stuff going on around what is the ‘truth’ nowadays I do feel quite strongly that I want to get my news from a source I can trust. I also don’t want to be bombarded with all that is wrong in the world, I’m pretty sure that this isn’t good for my mental health. I’m not suggesting turning a blind eye and happily living in a bubble but I have read that when you read about negative and scary stuff regularly it can magnify it out of all proportion.
So whether that be the BBC, a broadsheet, or I personally love The Pool for short snippets and a great range of articles, I go for one option which provides me with the updates I need to know without taking over my feed.
5. Start small and then build it up as and when you read stuff you like. If, like me, you only recently started out with this then this is a real opportunity to only choose stuff you really love reading. Blogs that make you laugh, websites that are genuinely useful, online magazines that provide great stories. If you are a small business then have categories for people doing similar stuff, other businesses that inspire you and content you could share. It might not take ages to set up because actually half the stuff you are reading right now probably wouldn’t make the cut.
Of course there is always still a place for a browse through Instagram and catching up with friends on Facebook but for a more organised digital life I can’t recommend the above enough. And personally for my business in terms of reading, learning and sharing I think Feedly is an absolute gem.
This is not a sponsored post by the way, though maybe it should be – haha. If you can recommend any other apps or know of any other techniques to organise your digital life then I would LOVE to hear from you…