Leo at Zen Habits has published a series of productivity hacks including number 8: “Simplify your information streams, and plow through feeds and email.” Here’s how he puts this into practice in his feed reading:
Reading my blogs is a good example: I use Google Reader, and when I check my feeds in the morning, I use the “view all” mode, where I’m reading all the blogs at once. I use the mouse wheel and just scroll down through them all, reading the headlines quickly. If I see a headline that sounds interesting, I’ll click on it to open in a new window to read when I’m done, then continue to scroll through the rest of my unread posts. I can quickly get through more than 100 posts this way. Then I’ll go and quickly read the posts I’ve opened in new tabs. If I don’t have time to read them now, I’ll bookmark them in a folder I call “Inbox” to read later. When I have time later, I’ll read through all my Inbox posts, and delete them (or save them elsewhere if I want to post about them). But the key is to crank through them, really only reading the really interesting ones.
This is similar to my own approach to feed reading, except I use the keyboard for maximum speed. I use Google Reader in List view (as opposed to Expanded view). When I begin feed reading, I use the keyboard short cut “ga” to list all unread posts. I then move through through the list with the “n” key to move down, “m” to mark read without opening, “o” key to read any posts of interest, “v” to open the original post in a new tab in case I want to bookmark or comment on it, and “s” to star anything I’d like to think further about.
How do you read your feeds? Do you use Google Reader or another aggregator? Do you wander leisurely through unread articles or try to plow through them like Leo and I do?