Pruning My RSS Feeds

I admit it: I was an RSS addict (what’s RSS?). I loved trawling through my RSS feedreader (Bloglines) looking for new nuggets of information, continously hitting that refresh button to get my fix, all because I needed to be in the know, man, I needed to be on the cutting edge! It didn’t get make things easier that I kept adding any other blog that looked vaguely interesting (a blog all about earthworms? that could come in handy…add).

Then the unthinkable happened: my computer crashed in 3 months ago in January, and it took me a few weeks to get it back up again. During this time, my list of unread articles kept piling up and up…when I finally logged back in, I had 10,000++ unread articles waiting for me.


Information greedy geek that I am, even this was too much for me. I procrastinated…my Mount Everest of RSS feeds was too daunting for me. I couldn’t tackle it, and so I let it sit and pile, sit and pile, sit and pile…until, what else? What happens to finally kickstart a change?

Pain and pleasure!

I’m not too tidy a guy, but I do love having my things cleanly organized. I get a nice Zen feeling inside when I know that things are neatly stored and categorized where they should be (I get a kick out of organizing my computer folders for goodness sake!).

It was getting too painful to let my account sit there, accumulating newer and newer posts while the other ones rotted. And I craved that Zen peacefulness again to know that my Bloglines was back to zero unread feeds (yes I know, not really possible), updated and clean (yes, I am a geek).

So I’ve been spending the better parts of the last 3 days plus bits of the last 2 weeks to get my account in order, reading/scrolling through past articles and getting the unread numbers back down.

Something I started yesterday was to start mercilessly unsubscribing from blogs, pruning any that didn’t seem useful to me. While procrastinating about cleaning my feedreader for 3 months on wasn’t a good thing, it did give me a few ephiphany points:

1) I didn’t die from not reading my feeds! Praise be!

2) It gave me a chance to glance through a whole lot of posts by certain blogs and find out they were more trashy than useful.

Point 2 helped loads in deciding which feeds to prune (snip snip! sayonara sucker).

Less Is More

And you know what? Decluttering my feedreader felt good. I already get a natural high from cleaning up and throwing out, it’s something I like doing, but there’s really something to be said for this less is more thing. Or like the guys over at 37 Signals like to say, less is less (well, it is!).

Less stuff that you don’t need. Less rubbish, less dilution, less time-wasting stuff. Less less less. The less you allow into your life, the more you’ll demand that what’s left is the really good stuff, and you’ll have more time and focus left for it. It’s like a concentration of good, leaving the diluted stuff out on the fringe outside of your attentionsphere (hey I just invented a new word).

On You

I’ve gone through my period of collecting junk and deep cleansing (still going through those feeds now actually). What about you? Is there an area of your life where you’re allowing too much unnecessary stuff in? What stuff can you prune (snip snip) to get to that less is more stage?

My picks

If you’re curious, these are some of the sites that have currently made it into my ‘best of reads’ folder (you can get its’ feed from the site itself), sites that are must-reads even if my other subscriptions are ignored. I’ve found what they have in common is either 1) strong info 2) strong opinions or best, both.

Personal Development, Productivity & Lifehacking:

43 Folders
Lifehacker (computer focused)
Steve Pavlina’s Personal Development Blog
Life Coaches Blog (oops how did that get in there heh heh)


Creating Passionate Users (also on learning, product creation, just great stuff all around)
Gaping Void
Seth’s Blog



Web & Tech

Business Logs
Rands In Repose
Signals vs. Noise

One Response to “All Ads are Off”

  1. sanju
    December 19 2009 at 9:39 pm #

    Nice article alvin,I like your thinking of writing blogs related to life coaches blog.It is a great idea to help the people online.Everybody has some problems in life and i think it will be a great idea to deal with the life problem online……