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PRODUCT.|PHILOSOPHY.|LIFE.

How do you make choices?


I read between ten and twelve articles a day on average - on a variety of topics that may or may not include traditional news (it often doesn't). My source for all of these articles are varied - newsletters that I have subscribed to, RSS feeds that I have subscribed to, Medium writers and publications that I follow, popular articles recommended by people I trust to share good articles, magazines that I subscribe to, and links that people I know send me now and then.

That adds up to way more than ten or twelve a day. I come across over a hundred articles each day that calls for my attention, of which I only end up picking ten or twelve to read.

For a long time, I used to sift through these each day and read the ten or twelve that I found most interesting on that day. This had a tendency to make me read what was happening around the world on that day (or around that time) - like news around what could be affecting Bitcoin price, new product launches, political updates, and so on.

All of these articles were informative, sure, but the incremental information or knowledge I'd gain day to day would be little. I could get the same information by reading one article at the end of the month on a topic summing up everything that happened in the past month than read daily updates on that each day. But this is harder to do when I'm deciding each day what I'll read that day.

Over a year ago, I started doing something different. Once a week, I'd spend an hour or so sifting through all the inputs to my feeds and email and picked out any article that interested me and bookmark it. Then, during the rest of the week, I'd pick ten to twelve from my bookmarks each day and read them.

After a year of doing this, my Bookmarked list has grown to over 5000 articles, of which I can still only read about ten to twelve a day. Now, the list grows faster than I can consume.

This was to be expected. After all, I'm pretty selective about who I subscribe to and follow, which means I find a lot of the incoming articles interesting.

But, the big change has been that I take the longevity of an article being interesting into account when I now click on it and bookmark it. For example, something about what Trump said or did in relation to cutting funding for basic research or cutting down carbon emissions might be interesting news today. But it may not be as interesting to read three months down when I pick a random article from my list of bookmarked ones. So, I no longer click on it.

Now, I only add articles to my list that I will potentially find interesting even if I read it after a few months.

This has completely decimated the presence of news-like articles on my feed. And the best part is, it doesn't seem to have any negative effects.

Perhaps a similar approach to evaluating everything that I choose to let into my life from new gadgets and apps to new people.

Will I still find this valuable a few months (or longer) from now?

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