Monday, February 7, 2011

How to follow blogs and still have time

I am an avid Google Reader Feedly user (*edited. GoogleReader has been discontinued so I switched to Feedly for a similar experience to Reader.)  It has saved my life from an excess of unused time and web searching.  I don't have a ton of time in a day, and so when I to get a few spare moments, I love to look at all of the wonderful blogs out there.  Because I do have a lot to do (other than being a mom), I try to only be on the computer when baby's asleep- aka: an hour or two during nap time, and after 7pm.  Even during those times, I need to paint and sew and clean and cook and read and spend time with hubby, so you get the point.

Anyway, with all of that said, right now I am avidly keeping up with over 75 blog subscriptions.  I am constantly updating and weeding out boring blogs that are just wasting my time, and a couple months ago I unsubscribed from about 25.

I started following blogs about five years ago.  I found that I was spending time looking at blogs more than I was doing my homework.  Then I found a professor who worked with me on an independent course where I could clock those hours looking at blogs toward my school work! (I know, I LOVE art).  This professor allowed me to think outside the box and let me explore the world more and I haven't stopped.

I also know that this world can become very addictive, or even fulfilling if not used correctly.  I have found that my time is more valuable than I initially realized and I am important enough to not spend every waking hour admiring other people's work.  So, with all of that said, I have some tips:

1. Don't read every post--While I do follow a lot of blogs, I weed down exactly which ones I'm going to read.  For instance, I follow Design*Sponge and while almost every post is interesting to me, some of them just aren't relevant, so I don't spend the time to read the City Tour posts or the cooking posts, but I just eat up the BizLadies and other design posts.  Unless you're following your sister's blog, you definitely don't need to feel obligated to read every post, and even then maybe... :)  I suppose you only need to feel obligated if you're getting paid.

2. Don't read everything-- Most of the time I just look at the pictures.  That's where I get all of my pleasure from. I work and live in a visual world.  If I feel compelled to read something, then obviously I will, but most of the time I breeze through posts until I find a picture I like.  Some days I have over 100 new posts, but I can easily get through all of them in 20 minutes or less, and sometimes while I'm even talking on the phone too.  If there isn't a picture that catches my eye, I'm not going to waste my time.

3. Manage your blogs-- Sometimes there are blogs that I'm super excited to find, only to realize a few months down the line that they weren't as exciting as I originally intended.  Don't waste your time looking at anything that is less than amazing. There is so much out there that is perfect for me, I don't want to get cluttered in all of the other stuff.  I am constantly adding and deleting blogs.

If you don't like managing your blogs like this, here's another option:  If you find a blog that you're thinking of following, take 10 or 15 minutes and click through a good 5 pages or more of the blog's posts.  If you're scanning the entire thing only to click on the "previous posts" button, then that's a red flag that you won't be so happy with the blog if you're following it.  If there are those few posts that are winners, most likely, if you have a good selection of blogs you're already following, when those amazing posts pop up, your current subscriptions will lead you to them.

When I only have 5 minutes, these are the blogs that I always check first:

Chez Larsson - A blog of a Swedish mom in a small and amazing white house.  She writes on organization, cleaning, and Swedish life.  This is one of the few blogs where I actually read most of what she writes!

Design Mom - A mom of SIX kids who worked as a designer in NY and just barely moved with her entire family over to France!  She writes of high-scale baby clothes, toys and other children products as well as home-made projects and life.

How Does She -  A conglomerate of home-made projects and other bits of life. I've just recently started following her, but I LOVE it.

You Are My Fave - A personal collection of things the author loves, and as you will see, so does everyone else.  She has great taste and is always spotting the newest trends.

There is so much out there.  I could spend all day online, but I like to slim down my time so I can spend more time with baby or on my art.  I think if you find that you can minimize your time and effort online, you'll have more to do what you really love!


You Are My Fave said...

I can't believe I made your if I only have five minutes list. That's an honor. Thanks!

Natalie said...

I must say you deserve it!


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