Workflows to save and organise the to-read-later content

What are the best workflows to save and organise content that one finds online, but doesn’t immediately have time to read?

First a few questions:

  • How do you find online content on a daily basis, how does content find you?
  • What is your current workflow? How/where do you save content that you find online but want to read later?
  • What services do you use? What works well? What doesn’t?
  • If you could ‘fix’ one thing in the current workflow, what would it be?
  • What would your “dream” tool do for you?

This is what I think:

Whatever service I choose, I want it to allow me to save articles, videos, websites, and blog posts I come across throughout a day:

  • with one click
  • to one single place
  • a place that is easy to view, aesthetic, easy to stay organised (so that it’s a pleasure to come back to it)
  • a place that I can easily access
  • from any device
  • online or offline

If you access the Internet from multiple devices throughout the day you know exactly what I’m talking about.

I use my laptop at work, my smartphone on the move (e.g. reading tweets while waiting for a bus), my iPad when travelling for meetings and conferences (and on the sofa in the early mornings and evenings).

I stumble across things that I’d like to read or watch later constantly in my work. Sometimes curated content is distributed via e-mail and I know this will be something good, but it’s not relevant to my task at hand and I don’t want to get distracted. I need a place to ‘shift it’ to for later…

When reading tweets on my iPhone, I come across and filter different kinds of content. I can read short articles on a small screen but not the longer, more demanding ones – I will do it later…

My iPad is for me a wonderful ‘consumption’ device, allowing for paperless reading of articles, news, blog posts, watching of short videos.

It’s usually from my iPad that I access ‘Pocket’, my favourite service for managing read-it-later content. It’s an app for web, desktop and mobile use.

This is why I like it:

  • First of all (for the non-initiated): there are excellent tutorials available in the help section on how to manage your reading list across devices and media
  • It caters a lot of different styles how to collect stuff
  • In your browser, you can use a bookmarklet: click on the special ‘pocket’ bookmark to add the current web page to the stream
  • You can email a link to add@getpocket.com, which will automatically sort it in
  • You can add stuff from your favourite apps, including twitter and flipboard
  • It will automatically syndicate your various devices.

And last but not least: it’s private :). I can collect whatever I want, without spamming anyone in my circles, groups, or neighbourhood. I can filter first, then share either in Diigo or Mendeley.

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