I had a problem, a big though not what you would call serious or important problem. It was one that my psyche would not let me sweep under the carpet, or rather, delete. For literally years I would just skim websites and rather than read articles I’d click “Read Later” – that’s how long ago it was, the Firefox extension (and later Android app) was still called Read It Later rather than it’s more famous current name of Pocket.
I just couldn’t be bothered to read stuff, I just wanted to passively watch TV even though I knew that I enjoyed learning and reading interesting articles. I’d look at articles I thought would be too long to read, or watch, and I’d just again think “can’t be bothered” and clicked “LATER!” I often made the mistake of looking at a news article that had links to more, each of which ended in a click on “Add to Pocket”. So the Pocket became bigger. Over 1,300 items bigger.
Like tomorrow, later never comes though so you eventually have to either read it all or delete stuff.
It took over a year of Saturday and Sunday mornings to read, watch and if necessary bookmark or log them in Evernote. At Christmas last year I finally returned to the blank sheet and Pocket was sat there encouraging me to add things to it again. I have vowed never to get there again – I use Pocket to transfer links from my tablet to the desktop to read or watch on the bigger screen and use it to put aside long articles, or complex ones that I’d want to absorb properly that I’d have more time to read at the weekend but never as a replacement for reading stuff, for procrastination.
As for link-heavy sites, well I either try to be disciplined and either not click on the stuff the site thinks I might be interested in, or I cheat and cover the links up with Windows Task Manager – set to stay in front of other windows. Another help in this is Firefox’s Reading Mode, as long as you can click it before seeing the other articles. Due to my earlier effort to reclaim my evening time I now know that I have time to read articles and do anything else I want, I don’t need to procrastinate and tell myself I’ll have to read it later.
It’s just as well I wasn’t buying newspapers between 2012 and 2014 I’d be buried in newsprint by now.
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