An RSS reader can be a powerful tool for consuming information on the web. You can read content from blogs and news sites using a single interface, and with FlowReader you can also check out what’s happening on your social networks as well.
There’s no doubt that readers have the potential to help you get more done in the day. But like any tool – they are only as effective as you make them. Keeping up with subscriptions and social updates is often a difficult and time consuming task.
So here are 4 tips on building a better workflow with FlowReader to be more productive and keep yourself informed.
1. Use Categories to Make Reading More Efficient
Make sure you filter and prioritize the information that you receive to maximize the time you spend in your reader. Instead of having to deal with all your updates at once, you can view your content items based on a system that works best for you.
Not only does FlowReader allow you to filter your feeds by category, you can also filter the type of content that you wish to see: RSS, Facebook, Twitter, or everything in one stream.
Organizing your subscriptions in your Reader tab into categories also makes it easier for you to check in and read more efficiently.
Here’s a few ideas about ways you can organize your feeds:
- Create an email inbox. Use an “Inbox” folder for your most important subscriptions and place the rest in a few labeled folders by topic or priority.
- Divide into two categories. Place the main feeds you read into one category and then create a second for any high-volume or unimportant feeds.
- Group the way you read. Use the 43Folders method and create a few categories based on your reading workflow. For example, you could set up folders separating them by when you read them (e.g. Daily, Weekly, Monthly).
For a more detailed review of ways you can organize your feeds, check out our short guide.
Pro Tip: Create a “Weekend Reads” Category for feeds that you can only read on the weekend. This means you can’t touch this folder on a week day, no matter how badly you want to take a peek. Designating a folder specifically for the weekend helps encourage you to stay away from these feeds during the week when you need to stay focused on other tasks.
2. Post Updates Directly to Your Social Communities
Keeping in touch with your friends and followers takes time! And opening up each network manually and posting every time you want to share an update can be an unproductive process depending on how active you are.
For many people, integrating an efficient posting method into their schedule is essential step to becoming more productive.
One of the great things about FlowReader is that you can post from inside your reader without having to go to Facebook or Twitter. It’s an easy way to quickly share a cool article or what’s on your mind.
Here’s 3 reasons why you should use FlowReader to post status updates:
- Allow you to post to both Facebook and Twitter (either separately or at the same time).
- Automatic link shortener (flow.to) saves space.
- Character counter keeps you from running out of room.
Pro Tip: If you don’t want to share immediately, try scheduling posts using an app like Buffer and Hootsuite. Click on RSS reader items in FlowReader to open them on their original source and then, use Buffer or HootSuite’s Chrome extensions to quickly add new posts to your queue.
3. Streamline Your Creative Process
Even the most creative minds sometimes tend to run out of steam occasionally. If you have a website or a blog, you already know how much work it takes to find material to write about on a regular basis. It’s not always easy!
Using your RSS reader as a source of inspiration helps cut down on the amount of time you have to spend searching and coming up with fresh content.
Here’s how I’ve incorporated FlowReader into my own creative workflow:
- Test out one or two new blogs a week in my reader for new content.
- Scan my feeds and social networks for content or topics that I can post about on our blog or share on social networks.
- Save items I find interesting from my reader, and like or favorite social updates I find during the day, so I can find them in my Saved for later tab.
- At the end of the day, I go through all the articles I’ve saved and remove the ones I don’t want to keep. The rest I share on social networks or send to Pocket using the quick share toolbar.
This is just one example of ways you can incorporate a reader into your daily routine. It’s really helped me to stay organized and made brainstorming ideas a faster process.
Pro Tip: Set a time and a limit. Build a slot into your daily routine to check in every day. If you have a lot of feeds or active communities, set aside 2-3 periods of 15 minutes and spread them evenly throughout the day. Or give yourself one 20-30 minute interval in the afternoon to check out your newest social and RSS items.
4. Use ‘Mark all as read’ to Avoid Content Overload
If you’ve got too many updates to read and can’t decide where to start – don’t hesitate to use the Mark all as read button.
I find this feature is particularly handy when you subscribe to a large number of feeds and deal with hundreds of new items a day. Things can get especially hairy if you’ve been away for a few days on vacation and come back to an overloaded reader.
One of the most important lessons I’ve learned over time is that part of being more productive is knowing when to throw in the towel and start over. There are situations when the best solution is to start from scratch rather than trying to get through every item that you’ve missed.
I like to think of Mark all as read as my personal panic button for crazy days that need to be salvaged. Use it wisely, but use it!
Do you think these tips can help make your workflow more productive? How do you use an RSS reader to help you work more efficiently?