Simplifying

I recently wrote a post about how I was a bit frustrated with the various types of backlogs created by an unexplained need to consume information. This is a follow up to the post. I took immediate action and here’s what I have done so far to make life a bit easier:

  • Unsubscribed to all but 4 podcasts. Also, changed podcast subscription settings to keep only 2 episodes. If I don’t listen to an old one and it happens to be a good one, I will go find it, rather than let it pile up.
  • Unsubscribed from many high-volume RSS feeds. Most of these feeds were from tech blogs where there is much incentive to keep posting “fresh” content for a variety of reasons (well, no, for one reason – pageviews). I have noticed my “pending” stuff has gone down dramatically as a result.
  • DVR pain has been eased by the fact that we are in summer and therefore, it is off-peak for most primetime shows. I am sure I will cut down on the shows after seeing what gets cancelled this Fall.

The result of this simplification? The wife and I were able to watch two movies :-) I know, it was also one of the complaints, but it was nice that we were actually able to make a choice about what we want to do rather than letting something else choose for us.

I strongly suggest you take a look at your information consumption habits too, and see where you can trim and enjoy life as it should be enjoyed. :-)

Playing catch up

This morning, as I was looking through my unplayed podcasts list, I realized I am (as I am sure many others are) living in a world where we are consuming so much “stuff”. There is always a tendency to catch up on things. Some of my pending items to “catch up on”:

  • Unplayed podcasts: I subscribe to 8-9 podcasts of which 2-3 are daily and the rest are weekly. In the end, if I don’t keep listening to these every day, they pile up and I have to “catch up on”.
  • Readability: I come across a lot of interesting articles and videos and links in general. I simply add them to Readability to read later. So there is the Readability list to “catch up on”.
  • RSS Reader: I subscribe to *many* RSS feeds, some of which are extremely high-volume (like some tech blogs). There is always a ton of feeds to “catch up on”.
  • Personal email: Bills, statements, friends pinging for meetups, etc. Personal inbox to “catch up on”.
  • Work email: Freaking nightmare. Email flows in faster than I can clean up, despite several filters I have set up on the server. Work inbox to “catch up on”.
  • DVR: We almost never watch anything on TV live (except sports). Anytime we see something interested to watch on the TV, it gets added to the DVR. So we end up having a DVR list to “catch up on”.
  • Movies and music: So many new movies and music is being released. A lot of these are worth the watch, but they end up going into a to do list to “catch up on” sometime.
  • Books (audio or otherwise): Same as movies and music, so many good books to read. Goes to a list to “catch up on”.
  • Hobbies: Not really a catch up item, but with all the stuff to catch up on, there is no time left for hobbies. This includes side projects, travel, etc.

There is of course a tendency to declare bankruptcy on one or more of these things. I frequently mark my RSS feeds as read, or my delete my podcast queue, but that’s only a temporary solution. Perhaps simplifying our digital lives by cutting out many of the above (newsletters, podcasts, feeds, notifications on the phone, etc.) would help.

I am going to give that a shot as I prepare for a simpler, more “offline” life. :-)