Bear with me a bit. What I’m about to say might seem a bit counter-intuitive, however it will all come together in a moment.
I was talking with another blogger recently. He was finding that he was paying so much attention to conversations happening on other blogs that he wasn’t getting enough work done. He’d find himself unable to resist chiming in with a comment and that would inevitably lead to more comments. You get sucked in.
Another blogger recently commented on Twitter how he was slowly working his way through Google Reader. He expressed triumph at the idea of getting below that dreaded “1000+” count for unread items.
With the first blogger (won’t mention names), I shared what many bloggers may find as sacrilegious. But, since this is a “confessions” blog, here it is:
Don’t Worry About Reading Other Blogs!
Now, before you jump down my throat, let’s put this in perspective.
Of course I read other blogs. I’d be an idiot not to. However, look at this fact…
You’re either producing or you’re consuming. And you can’t do both.
In other words, when you spend that time buried in Google Reader, that’s time that you’re not producing. You’re not writing posts. You’re not working on building your list. You’re not working on any product offer. You’re really not working on a frickin thing that has much use to you, are ya?
One argument might be that you’re furthering your education and getting ideas. Fine, however you probably wouldn’t spend a few hours per day reading magazines, would you? Why are other blogs that different?
Blogs are a form of media and the medium is CRAMMED with content. There are so many bloggers producing great content that you can’t possibly keep up. SO WHY BOTHER?!
I actually don’t spend nearly as much time as many other bloggers digesting other bloggers’ content. It isn’t that I don’t care. It is just a choice I make so that I don’t get so distracted with all the shiny stuff that I don’t get my own stuff done. I really don’t have the mental fortitude to keep track of all the great bloggers out there and still keep up with my own stuff.
I tend to check Google Reader maybe once every week or two. I scan headlines and I use the “Mark Read” button an awful lot. In other words, I go into “reading mode” and I’ll purposely set aside time to read other blogs. Honestly, I’ll probably try to increase this and do it a bit more often, but it is controlled. Google Reader should NOT be treated the same as your email!
When I find some downtime and I’ve got my Iphone handy, I’ll check out Google Reader. I sometimes make use of the Regator Iphone app to keep tabs on things, too.
Get It Under Control!
If you’re constantly sucking on the spicket of other people’s content, you’re going to always be short on time to do your own stuff. You can’t eat and talk at the same time, can you?
So, my suggestion is:
- Set up a schedule for digesting other people’s content. And learn to abide by that schedule.
- Lean on the side of digesting LESS. Information overload is a HUGE problem for bloggers and part of the reason why is because they’re constantly sucking on that spicket. It leads you in a thousand directions at once, and if you haven’t yet decided on our own direction, you’ll find that all those other viewpoints just confuse you and you never get started.
- Do not keep Google Reader (or any RSS reader) open all the time. It isn’t email. And now that I think about it, you shouldn’t keep your email open all the time either.
We can all only process so much information at a time. We have a certain throughput. You need to learn to manage that throughput.
Of course, if you’re just an information junkie, then by all means, knock yourself out. I’ll just continue to laugh at you as I go cash my checks.