This is for those of you who, like me, still prefer feed readers to Facebook and Twitter for blog updates:
Today, I encourage you to declare feed bankruptcy. Open up your Google reader, your bloglines, your Blog Lonvin’. See that button that says “declare all read?” Do it. Hit the button.
Notice that sense of relief you get? Yes, that’s the subconscious belief that it was something you were obligated to do, that you are out of step, that you will fall hopelessly behind, that dear god you might miss something.
You might miss something. For August 2011, here’s the scoop: London was on fire and the economy is bad.
If that felt really good, you can even…
Mark all those forum posts you haven’t caught up on as read. If you miss something. the search feature and/or Google will save you. Really. If a forum blows up in a flamewar, believe me, people will point you to the errant posts.
If you feel really daring…
Declare Inbox bankruptcy. Not sure you should delete something? Don’t – Googlemail lets you archive it; other mail programs have similar features, or you can open a “just in case” folder to send stuff too. If there’s an email you know you should answer, but are waiting until Mercury goes direct to return, schedule a calendar reminder for early September, when you can take on the response with a sense of retrospect and a cool and level head. You might even want to set up filters on your posts, so that certain things, like those Groupon notices, all go to a folder you can check when it’s convenient for you. You might even want to apply the Other Inbox plugin, which filters your email for you, leaving just human beings you want to hear from in the Inbox.
For this, the practical and metaphysical reason is the same:
You clear your path from things that were scattering your attention. Now, the things that need your attention get it faster. That’s immediately more time, attention and energy you can use for a)the people you want to give your attention to and b)for yourself.