How to Read 200 Blog Posts in 20 Minutes

You should read blog posts like you’re following directions on Google Maps.

I use the Google Maps app on my iPod Touch (waiting for iPhone 5 from Verizon) when I don’t know how to get where I want to go. In the course of the trip, many places grab my attention, but most are irrelevant to my trip. I only turn or merge when I see a sign or street name that matches the directions on my map.

When it comes to reading blogs, your destinations are the things you are working on: a teaching series, issues to stay up to date on, or skills you are trying to build. You’ll see a lot of posts that you could read, but only a few that are relevant.

Focus on your current or upcoming projects to keep up with what’s going on in the blogosphere without feeling overwhelmed, reading superficially, or spending too much time on blogs.

5 steps to read 200 blog posts in 20 minutes

Step #1 Get set up. Find the combination of apps that works best for you. I suggest using NetNewsWire or Google Reader (don’t know about feed readers? Here’s your tutorial), Instapaper, and Evernote for processing blogs.

Step #2 Scan the blog titles for topics you’re interested in. If you can tell by the title that the topic isn’t relevant, don’t read it. If the article relates to your projects or interests, proceed to step three.

Step #3 Read short posts, park the long ones. If you can read the post in two minutes, read it right then and there. But if it requires a longer, critical read, send it to Instapaper, and read it when you have a block of time available. With Instapaper on my iPod Touch, I can read a batch articles offline whenever I have a spare time.

Step #4 Save the best posts. Evernote is a great place to save blog posts because it is completely searchable. You can send articles to Evernote from Google ReaderChromeFirefoxSafari, or you can email a link to Evernote from Instapaper or NetNewsWire with just a couple clicks.

(Why not use bookmarks in your browser? First, since Evernote is searchable, in two years you won’t have to remember “that one article” that you bookmarked when you’re preaching a series on the topic. Second, all your articles are stored on their servers, so if you change computers or your hard drive crashes, your files will be safe and sound, and accessible anywhere.)

Step #5 Click the “Mark All As Read” button.

Congratulations, now you’ll read blogs like a pro. Use your extra time to do stuff pastors did in the olden days, like read the Scriptures and pray (Acts 6:4). That’s where we get the most important directions anyway.