If you’re like me, you get a lot of email including newsletters and blog subscriptions along with all the other daily email. I’ve developed a habit of going through all my email first thing in the morning and yes I manage to get my inbox to zero unread messages each day (note I didn’t say I read all my messages each day). One of the things I noted about myself a while back was that it was easy for me to get distracted by reading web pages and blog articles. I really wanted to read some of these but could easily loose an hour or more of my productive time right at the start of my day. Here’s how I’ve managed to overcome this.
Step 1. Save Web Page to Pocket
In my browser’s toolbar, I have a button that allows me to send any web page to a service called Pocket (formerly ReadItLater, which I think is a much better name).
This works in any browser. It saves a clean version of the web page for me to read at my leisure later. Heres an example of how it looks on the web and then in Pocket. As you can see it cleans up the page quite considerably.
Step 2. Tag It
When you save the web page you get a confirmation and can add tags but you can also do that later as well.
Then when I have some free time or before going to bed I can use my iPad (which I always have with me) to read articles. The iPad automatically syncs the articles over wi-fi for off-line use; you don’t need a 3G iPad to read the articles. You can also set keywords for articles to help you find them later. They have apps for iPhone, iPad and Android as well as a web interface so even if you don’t have a smartphone or tablet, you can still benefit from Pocket.
Step 3. Share It
I also like that Pocket lets me use another service I’m fond of bufferapp to easily send articles I want to share to Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. These go into my buffer for scheduled delivery later. I use bufferapp so, although I find the articles all at the same time, I don’t overload my followers and fans with a whole bunch of articles all at once.
Pocket also lets me send any articles I want to save for future reference to Evernote. I use Evernote as my online storage for anything and everything I want to easily reference from anywhere. I like that whatever tags I set within Pocket are also transferred over into Evernote and I can choose which Evernote notebook I want the information to go into. These were two features missing in earlier versions and I’m very glad these were added.
Step 4. Read It Later
When you view an article in Pocket you can view a clean version without all the extra web stuff such as sidebars, ads, etc. (see images above) However, you can easily switch to a browser view if you want or need to. You can also follow links and even add those to your Pocket cue for later reading if you’d like.
Once you’ve read an article you can mark it read and it goes into your archive. One thing to note is that the archive is not available off-line like the Home articles are. However if you have Internet access you can view any items in either the archive or Home at any time.
There are many other services that Pocket works with (such as Tumblr, Reddit, Delicious, and more) as well.
Having Pocket as my hub for information I want to read and/or reference latter has been a big time saver for me and helps me focus my efforts on getting things done while still allowing me to read those interesting articles at a better time.
All of these services are free and functional as well as having very reasonable paid options with a few extra perks.