Like most other people, I suffer from information overload. Instead of using some kind of sorting system like the one recommended by Getting Things Done, I prefer to automate filtering so that I read the items I want to see when I’m ready to deal with them. I track information from a ton of places, but I don’t pretend to try and read it all – there’s just too much information to follow everything. Instead of wading through stuff I don’t care about to get to the interesting stuff, I use some simple search tricks to help filter what I consider the cream that I don’t want to miss.
These tips save me at least an hour every day by eliminating information grazing and getting me straight to the details I need to be more effective. Here’s a handful of free solutions that will help you do the same thing.
Saving Time with FeedDemon
Features built into FeedDemon easily save me an hour every day, by eliminating the wait times for Web pages to load and sorting information into contextually organized Watch folders.
Prefetching Web Pages – I use the Prefetch feature of FeedDemon to load the pages behind news items, which allows me to do other things while my computer does the heavy lifting of pulling in all the graphics and stuff that slow down page load times. By the time I’m ready to read, pages load instantly when I click through from an article in FeedDemon. The other advantage to automatic prefetch is always having the articles on hand for offline viewing if I want to catch up on reading while I’m on the plane (Web apps like Google Reader or Bloglines can’t do this).
Custom Watch Lists – Custom watches are a big key digesting more information quickly. I use Watches to filter through thousands of posts from hundreds of sites to get to the point quickly. This can even be great for keeping track of my own writing – say for instance that the only thing you care about in my writing is Windows freeware. You can use a custom watch in FeedDemon to filter all your feeds into a Watch that only shows you the items with Windows freeware.
Fast Feed Searching – A third way I use FeedDemon is as a search engine to help me find things. Most of what I read starts in FeedDemon, so I get much more accurate results when trying to find something I’m looking for by starting the search in FeedDemon. I don’t get junk in my results because there’s no way to game the listings in FeedDemon, saving me even more time in wading through results that don’t pertain to my needs.
Download FeedDemon and start saving time