I always feel like I'm busy recently, so I'm trying to use my time more efficiently. Looking at how I spend my time, I spend far too much of it reading the news. I've become a news junkie - having a smartphone makes it much too easy to dip in and out of the news when I have downtime.
There's no reason for me to check the news multiple times per day - realistically nothing's going to happen in any 24 hour period that requires my immediate attention. Reading sites like the Guardian is also pretty inefficient - it's hard to see what's changed, and I automatically skip a lot of sections.
What I really need is a system that lets me:
- Read the news once per day
- Only see what's new in the past 24 hours
- Curate the sources to minimise noise
I wanted to get this set up as quickly as possible, and the first service that came to mind was If This Then That. I've been wanting to use this for something for a long time, so this was the perfect excuse.
After poking around with the settings, I discovered the brilliant e-mail digest action - it pulls in new items in an RSS feed and sends you an e-mail summary. You can do this daily or weekly, which was fine for me. I then picked my news sources, and set up three daily digests:
- Hacker News posts from hnrss.org/newest?points=50
- Guardian articles from three sources, combined using Chimpfeedr
- Cute animals from reddit.com/r/aww/top.rss
Now I get three e-mails every morning that let me easily browse the past day's news, with no distractions. This means I have no excuse to constantly check the news throughout the day, and I can use downtime more productively to read books, do some writing, or start a project.