A reading routine focused on what matters (to you) with Instapaper and Alfread

Estimated reading time: 2 minutes

Information’s lifespan is widely variable.

My first line of defense is my triage process.

Despite my ruthlessness, I still save to Instapaper way more content than I can read. More importantly, a lot more than what I should read. Some of the content I save seems important but is perishable; sometimes, I make mistakes. Instapaper’s primary focus is reading, so it doesn’t offer many tools to keep the content fresh.

Enters Alfread.

Tinder for news articles and blog posts.

It’s a recent but valuable addition to my workflow.

Alfread presents the content I saved in Instapaper, one article at a time in a single card layout. So I can swipe left to archive, right to read later, or tap on the title to read right there. Articles I swipe to later will pop up again, but I set Alfread to automatically archive anything I have dismissed for one month. This second triage phase takes only minutes here and there but removes more than two-thirds of the content from the queue.

It’s funny how most titles sound dull two days after saving.

Reading time is focused time.

I try to read every day.

Ideally, I do when I can concentrate on what I am reading. The purpose of the two triage phases upstream is to increase the odds of investing my attention in valuable content. Even if I am mostly successful, I can still categorize what I read into two very different groups. By far the largest, the first is content that I find valuable to read. I generally learn something from it, then archive it.

The second group is small but precious—the evergreen pieces resonating with me that I invite to become a permanent part of my life.

I highlight and save the crucial bits that trigger my feelings.

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