5/31/13

How I Use Feedly, Pocket, and Evernote to Sort Through 1000s of Articles and Posts Each Day

Part of my work involves research and part of that research includes keeping up to date with news stories and fresh articles on a variety of topics.  I can easily cull through 1000 - 2000 headlines each day, and after a couple of clients asked how to do this for themselves, I thought I'd share it with you, Dear Reader.

1.  Freeware I Recommend:  Feedly, Pocket, and Evernote

First, I use free Windows versions of Feedly, Pocket, and Evernote.  Get them.  Why these three?  They work well - you can't beat the price - and they are very user-friendly.  Fast, fun tools that do the job.

2.  Set up Feedly for a Fast Read.

I have set up Feedly so the view is "headlines-only" for my research stuff.  Feedly calls this its "title-only" view, choose it for your particular collection by clicking on the far-left option in the row of images in the Feedly home page's top right corner.

I have some collections where images appear -- food, interior decorating -- but that's personal, fun stuff.  Images slow me down when I'm going through lots of content.

3.  Set up Feedly Topics That Make Sense.

One thing I watch are the Top 10 Blogs as determined by Technorati.  Why?  It helps me understand what people are wanting to read, both for myself as well as for my clients.  So, I have a Feedly collection that is titled "Top 10 Blogs" and while the feeds within this collection are rather divergent, the overall theme makes sense to me -- and can be quite revealing when a common thread starts to appear in very different sources.


Above: Here is a screen shot of my Feedly feed collection of "Top 10 Blogs" today.


4.  Read The Headlines and Pick Only Things Worth More of Your Time.

Writers may write headlines or blog post titles that they think are fun, maybe witty - but if that title or headline doesn't give me information on what the content of the article (post) itself provides, then I don't have time to investigate.  Title your post "Whoa" and I'm gonna surf right by it.  Title your post "Whoa, Supreme Court surprise ruling in copyright case" and I'm interested in learning more.  Helpful hint: Be selective here. Don't pick more than you need.  


Above:  I've chosen one article here, published in Ars Technica, to read in more detail. 


5.  Pull the interesting article from Feedly into Pocket.

Using Google Chrome, I right click on the Feedly headline and choose the option "Save to Pocket."  I don't go into Pocket, I continue through Feedly until I've completed going through all my Feeds and have reached the pretty blue Feedly screen that tells me I'm all done.


6.  Once Feedly has been read through, then I go to Pocket.

After I've read through say 500 article titles (headlines) in Feedly, I've sorted through them so I only have a handful to consider in Pocket.  I close Feedly, move to Pocket.  Here, I read through the blurbs provided by Pocket and decide if the article bears further time investment.

I do this for all my Pocket saves.  In Pocket, I will organize these saves by Tabs.  For short term use, say an article to send with some discussion to a client, I tab the article with the client's name and in my afternoon email session, I'll pull it from Pocket and forward it along.  For long term use of an article, I move the article to Evernote.


Above:  Here is the Ars Technica article saved to Pocket after I read its title in Feedly.

7.  Articles warranting inclusion in my research stacks get moved from Pocket to Evernote.

There will be a few articles that I think are good enough to include in my research stacks.  These articles get clipped using the Evernote WebClipper into Evernote.


Above:  Here is the same Ars Technica article as shown in Pocket being clipped into Evernote.

Initially, I put them in a big "Pocket Stuff" notebook in my Evernote library.  When I get to my research block of time, one of the first things I do is organize that Pocket Stuff notebook and move things to their proper notebook in my Evernote world.

For instance, I have an ongoing research project on the drug cartels that have entered South Texas.  I may move something from my Pocket Stuff notebook to the "STxDrugCartels" notebook and feel comforted that when I get back to that project, I've already got accumulated news stories, articles, etc. sorted into the proper folder for my review.

Whew.  Hope this helps you.
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