Earlier this year I did the Digital Minimalism thing and pared back a lot of tech stuff then layered it back in. That was a great one-time thing. The real usefulness of the practice has come from being more deliberate about new stuff that wants to come in, and the reasons for doing it.
For instance, there’s a resurgence in interest around RSS and I found ooh directory. Since I do a ton of RSS reading on my iPad, having a simple way to subscribe to a site would be nice, but there’s an unfortunate gap in tools that let you subscribe to a feed quickly. My day-to-day RSS reader, Reeder does it on the Mac, but not on iPad.
I mentioned the gap and a few people pointed out NetNewsWire, which does have RSS subscriptions via the iOS share sheet. I used to love NNW, so I installed it and tried it out and for how I use RSS, it’s as good as Reeder … almost.
Reeder also has a built-in, iCloud-based “read it later” service. During my digital declutter I decided to start using Reeder because it let me set aside Pocket, Instapaper, and other RiL contenders and just consolidate in a single app. I remember the thought process because another part of my declutter and ongoing practice is to write about tools I’m interested in and to document the reason I have the tools I do now.
But I slipped a little this time because I’ve got plenty of time on my hands and like to play with new tools, so because I was fiddling with NetNewsWire and that meant I needed a new RIL service, I looked at ReadWise’s new Reader which … ohhh … it does RSS! What if I imported everything into there and …
That’s when I remembered I’d made a commitment to not do that:
The utility from RSS readers, read-it-later services and bookmarking services isn’t to further the diversity of tools I use, it’s to further something that is important to me, which is reading. Day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month, it is more important to me to spend time reading than it is to spend time playing around with tools about reading.
I even plumbed something in to deal with the urge to play with tools, which is a list of tools to evaluate that I keep in Things for review every month or so. So NetNewsWire is going in there, as is Readwise. They’ll still be there in a month, and I have some reading I want to get done.