Recently I read something on Brass Tack Thinking about editing your streams mercilessly that almost felt like Amber Naslund had been reading my mind. I’d been thinking about what gets my attention and why. I’m already pretty good at letting go of material objects that don’t serve a purpose yet take up space. I’m even pretty good at editing the people I allow in my life to those that make it better as opposed to bringing me down. But, lately I’d been wondering what was going on my Google Reader account.
I’m a voracious reader. The librarians know my name when i walk into my local library–even some of the non-local ones. (This is actually a step up from when I was younger and my mother would yell down the hall into my room at least once a week “There’s a librarian on the phone for you!!”) From biolographies to industry reads to murder mystery to chick lit and even a nice soft cheesy romance novel that would make me blush if you saw me with it, I always have a book. (Um, no vampires unless it’s Anne Rice or Charlaine Harris. I think it’s the southerness that makes it bearable to me.) I’d say I finish about a book a week, which isn’t too shabby considering my chances to sit and read are few and far between.
Fun fact: People always think I’m weird because I love doing laundry at the laundromat, taking long rides on public transportation or standing in line at the DMV. The reason I like these things is that’s when I get to read. Generally, I’ve a ridiculous multitasker. Yeah, I watch a lot of TV, but I’m never sitting on the couch staring directly at the TV. I’m writing something, folding something, sewing something, cooking something, etc, etc.
It doesn’t stop there. I’m eating lunch while I’m washing dishes. I’m making voice notes about my next big idea on my phone while I’m walking my dog. I’m filing while I’m on the phone with my mother. I’m cleaning my bathroom on conference calls about a project. The laundromat, the train and the DMV are just a few places I’m forced to stop multitasking. Then I have no choice but to sit in one place and crack open something to read.
Google Reader Overload
Books are one thing but my Google Reader overflows. I have more interests than I can keep up with–both professionally and personally–and my subscriptions show it. My reader often gets over 200 entries a day and between picking through the stuff I like, I may read about 100 articles a day. Sometimes more. Sometimes less. And because I have OCD, I have trouble letting entries just sit there. I either have to read it or clear it. I hit up my Google Reader two the three times a day, taking a break from other things to read about what’s going on in the blogosphere. It keeps me informed and on top of things.
But, lately I haven’t been as excited to click my Google Reader shortcut. I’m not as inspired or intrigued by what I find. I think it’s a combination of a number of things. I don’t think I had enough variety of subjects or points of view so I feel like I’m in an echo chamber sometimes. There were a few blogs I’d outgrown because it had a very specific audience and I’d moved onto something else. Some websites had changed owners or directions. Honestly, there were a few in there that were pity subscriptions–stuff I read just because I knew the person that wrote them but didn’t interest me in any way.
At the beginning of the year, I unsubscribed from every single blog/online magazine/website that I’d been following. As I hovered over the “Unsubscribe” button, I must have talked myself into and out of it two or three times. I kept saying “You’re going to miss something important.” Then I’d say “But what about such-in-such? You should keep that one.” But, I finally stopped talking to the voices in my head and just did it. And, I instantly felt good about it. I felt so good that I started thinking of other things I could start over on. Twitter? Facebook? What else could I go back to zero and start from scratch? Right now, the possibilities are swirling around my mind about starting over with a clean slate.
I’m sure I’ll resubscribe to some of blogs/websites. I’ll come across them organically again and decide I need to get in on everything that comes from that feed. I’ve already found myself saying “Oh wait. I haven’t read so-and-so in a while. Let me go over there and see what’s up.” I take that as a sign that whatever that person is putting out is valuable enough for me that I missed it when it was gone. And if that doesn’t happen, maybe it’s for the best.
Photo Credit alex_lee2001