Lately I have been increasingly annoyed by the fact that I would spend more and more time on sites like Facebook, Twitter, Friendfeed, LinkedIn and so on with little to no real gain or benefit.
I would spend hours a week browsing through all the “news feeds” I have subscribed through my RSS reader – but again I more and more got the feeling that I did rarely really get something really useful out of this daily routine. And website stats – oh my these dammed stats. You can – and I did – spend hours a week browsing through your analytics accounts.
So at some point I decided to try a little experiment and go on a news diet.
I came up with the following 5 Rules for me and thought I share them.
Everything you do on these time eating monsters of websites – do with purpose, do it with a reason.
Sounds weird but really I did realize that loads of the time I spent surfing was just giving in on habits I did take up over the last years.
Rule 1: What do you really need? Think about being stranded on a lonely island.
Only read RSS feeds once a day during the week – did this in the morning.
I did set up a brand new reader account with only the 5 subscriptions I thought I just could not do without. That’s 95 subscriptions down from what my usual daily dose was in the month past.
Here go my 5 remaining RSS feeds – and believe me I did not miss anything (big).
Rule 2: No news is no news
Check your Facebook, Friendfeed, LinkedIn and Twitter account only once a day. If you really really can’t follow this one you can do twice a day. Set the time and follow your own rule. I did check the accounts twice in the first week and then reduced it to once a week for LinkedIn and Friendfeed and once a day for Facebook and Twitter.
You say that Twitter or Facebook once a day is not possible – it’s even against what’s making these services so great? Well ur right up to a certain extent but guess what setting up e-mail alerts can help you massively to avoid checking in randomly.
Rule 3: cut back on stats for ego surfing
Website statistics are the greatest single source of information for your website. You can learn loads about your users, good and bad content and simply what works and what doesn’t.
BUT – you can spend hours and hours without getting anywhere playing around with new comparison features of your preferred analytics software with no real result. Its just another way of ego surfing – this time not googling your name but getting high on the fact how many people from Australia did visit your latest article on green laptops.
This is a waste of time! Get your stats delivered to you via mail or check them once a day – just the most important figures – to make sure the server does not go down.
Install email alerts to check if your server is down – cause that’s when you really want to check something – maybe even some stats.
I’m down to an email once a day with the most basic numbers – maybe I’ll get to once a week.
Rule 4: Dump RSS
Dump RSS for real news discovery – your friends will let you know if something really important is going on.
Probably the most important learning in the last couple of weeks – so once again.
People will let you know if something important is happening.
I do use my feed reader with the 101 subscriptions every couple of days to browse through these /mostly/ high quality sources of ideas and interesting information.
Rule 5: Use more email alerts
I can’t emphasis enough on this. Email alerts from your favorite search engine, social media site, web analytics provider – use them!!!
I found email clients so much better to get a handle with the sheer volume of blips of information I have to deal with on a daily basis.
You can very efficiently search, sort, delete all the elements once delivered to your inbox. And with a couple of additional rules and metas applied to your inbox you stand a much better chance to be the master of your own domain again. here is some further reading on how to manage your inbox even with a video.