I used to have over 30 RSS subscriptions in Google Reader. I think reading blogs is one of the best ways to gain knowledge on a topic because of the dynamic and consistent flow of articles. While following all your favorite blogs can easily become an addiction, too much is too much.
Having 30 blogs on my list kept me pretty busy—to say the least. Having those blogs on the list was convenient when I just wanted to relax and enjoy reading stuff because I could choose from a large selection of posts. But on most days I was frustrated by the never-ending stream of posts. When I opened Google Reader in the morning, I was welcomed by 30-45 posts. And you can guess how much time it takes to go through every post if you don’t want to resort to skimming through most of the content.
In the end, I just couldn’t take it anymore. Following 30 blogs was too much. I didn’t want to stop reading those blogs but I didn’t want to continue like that either. But I finally made the decision, about six months ago, to drop two-thirds of the RSS subscriptions. And it felt great.
At first I felt insecure because I thought I would be missing out on valuable information, but then l realized that there are millions of blogs out there, and hundreds and thousands of excellent blogs offering mountains of great content. Anyway it would be impossible to follow all of them without suffering from fatal stress. So I just had to simplify my RSS list, and pick the ones that I had enjoyed reading the most, and eliminate all the rest.
So now I’m down to 10 subscriptions—which I still think is too much, but I’m seriously considering cutting it further down to 5 or less (you can probably guess that Zen Habits is still on the list). The awesome thing is, I’m no longer shackled by Google Reader. I have more time to focus on more important things like writing and learning Spanish (for which, by the way, I strongly recommend the greatest language learning audio program ever, Pimsleur Spanish).
I didn’t feel as if I was missing out on anything. I realized that by spending less time on reading RSS feeds, I would have more time to apply the knowledge and test things out. You don’t really need to follow five different blogs about blogging to learn how to blog better. Just choose one and focus on applying the concepts instead of passively absorbing them and doing nothing.
What I also like to do with frequently updated websites like The Unofficial Apple Weblog and Lifehacker is not to subscribe to them at all. It would just be too much of a hassle to receive tens of additional posts on my RSS reader every day. Instead, I check them once a week, just randomly, pick the most interesting articles, and leave the blog cooking for another week.
How many feeds do you have on your list?