Things that changed my life: #1: Read-it-later apps
Last updated: Apr 29, 2019
About 3 years ago I read very little. I didn’t find reading articles or blogs online such interesting and often I skimmed them all. I was reading mostly on my laptop and didn’t find it a very pleasant experience. I did use Pocket sometimes, but did not make it my routine. I abandoned it very soon after.
Then a year ago I found Instapaper and I thought it’s a great app. I read much more regularly and saved a lot of articles, since it allowed me to highlight on important passages, a feature Pocket did not have at the time (and it was free). Then a few months later I found Instapaper has a pretty poor tagging feature and I desperately want to organize all articles I read as a way to archive them. I switched to Pocket afterwards, and have been using it ever since. The best thing is it allows me to save pdfs and have recommendations for similar articles. I found many great reads from their algorithm too.
Yet, read-it-later apps like Pocket and Instapaper changed my life, immensely. I no longer have to read articles on the spot, but to save them until I feel mentally ready to read. It’s also a great curating app since I can categorize them, making it easier to share for later. This makes me feel much more mentally relieved and I can separate exploration time (researching and browsing) from reading time.
When I feel mentally prepared to read (as I set a fixed set of time reading articles), I can read throughly and completely compared to on the computer in which I mostly skimmed. This makes me feel great as I absorb ideas and thoughts much easier. Then I can share those articles to social media and sum it up for people to read too. Reading no longer feels as a pressure and a burden.
So I’m wondering without a read-it-later app, do I still read things with care, or throughly? Maybe not. Probably I will skim most articles. The takeaway is to separate two phases: reading time and exploration time. This system works for me.