I can sometimes spend hours just reading. I don't have an outrageous amount of blogs in my reader (I think it's about 120 right now), but the way I had them organized really made it easy to use the information unproductively. I previously categorized all the blogs by type .. ie, "marketing", "friends", "technology", "politics" etc., While on the surface, this sounds like it would be useful, in reality all it really did was let me easily skip from time waster to time waster without even realizing it.
My new organizing plan only has 3 categories:
- - interact: These are blogs that are either written by people I'm already friends with, people I want to be friends with, and/or they have a strong sense of community. My friend Sire's wassup blog is a good example of #s 1 and 2. And Jim's marketing blog falls into # 2 .. a site that I like reading, but would like to participate in a bit more.
I placed this category in the #1 position, because this is the area where reading can be most productive, and therefore where I plan to try to spend most of my time. A while back, I wrote a post called Don't Be an Invisible Reader where I outlined some steps to take to interact better with these types of blogs ...
If I read something good in this section, I want to do one of several things: tweet about it, share it on facebook, go leave a comment on the blog, and/or share it in google reader (which will send it immediately to Buzz, and allow me to use it later in a "link love" type post.
That's my goal, we'll so it works out ... I've been way more invisible than I should be here lately.
- - learn: These are blogs that I definitely want to have in my reader, and reading them can be very productive ... but I usually don't have anything to add to the conversation, so I won't stress too much about trying to interact with blogs such ask Seth Godin's, or Zen Habits
- - time waster: This final section, as you can probably guess, now contains the type f blogs that I think I've been spending too much of my time on lately. I'm not going to link to anything that have termed a "time waster" (that wouldn't be fair, as there are some really good blogs in this section). But suffice it to say, this section contains things like news sites, political blogs, technology blogs, and even the majority of the marketing blogs that I'm subscribed to.
These are sites that I still want to be able to read, but I need to be careful that I'm not spending too much of my (limited) online time simply perusing the equivalent of mental candy. I'd like to have about a 2 or 3 to 1 ratio between this section and the others. Then, if I've had a good productive day interacting and making new friends, I can go read about politics for a while, and not feel guilty.
So how about you ... what are some things you do to help stay productive when you're online and reading other people's blogs?
Thanks in advance for your answers.