How to Find Inspiration Online Without Being Overwhelmed by Internet Awesome

How to Find Inspiration Online Without Being Overwhelmed by Internet Awesome

Today’s guest post is by Jodi Bonjour, one of the very first blog friends I made when I waded into the blogosphere last year. When Jodi recently tweeted “I cannot even believe what freedom sorting my blog reader into ReadNow and WhenIHaveTime folders has brought me,” I asked her to tell me how. And then I asked her if she would tell YOU how in a guest post for MMD. I’m so glad she agreed!

I think every blogger comes to this place, the Valley of Completely Overwhelmed by Internet Awesome. I arrived there this past winter. For some reason, I couldn’t find time to read all 300-some blogs I had stashed in my Google Reader. It might be related to having my own blog to write, pursuing my passion of sewing, and caring for four small children. It was time for a blog subscription spring cleaning.

It’s a scary thing for a blogger to say, but by trying to stay on top of so many blogs meant I was getting less out of the blogs that truly inspired me. And by INSPIRE, I mean the blogs that made me go…

“Wow, this post is AMAZING. It really breathed life into me. I feel like I can become a better person. I can achieve great things!”

Instead of…

“Wow, that is so amazing. I could never be that amazing, I now hate myself more after reading that post. I’m going to go crawl into a corner and cry.”

Well… it wasn’t really that bad. However, not everything I thought was “inspiring” was truly inspiring me. Cleaning up my blog reader made room in my life for things that fill me up. For me that means I spend a little less time reading about sewing, and a lot more time actually sewing.

How to Declutter Google Reader

To free up my blog reader, I went through each of the blog subscriptions in my reader and storted it into one of four categories. Each category (except for “purge”) is put in a separate folder in my Reader.

  • PURGE – Just delete it. I cleared out the blogs I never get around to reading and felt guilty about it, and the ones I felt like I “should” care about but didn’t, and the ones that just made me feel like crud. My life is too full for these types of blogs to clutter it up. Any truly awesome posts will make their way to me eventually anyways.
  • Read Now – Here I put my friends’ blogs, both my “IRL” friends and my good blogging buddies. I want to be timely in reading their posts and to be able to comment on them. I check this folder daily.
  • When I Have Time – These are blogs I enjoy enough to keep around, but I don’t necessarily need to read every post. I also tossed in blogs that I wasn’t quite ready to delete. I only check this folder as time allows. For me, this is every few days or so. If I get too backed up, I’ll “mark all as read” and let it go.
  • IBN – I am lucky enough to be in a private bloggers forum. I’ve grouped these blogs separate from the rest, because most of them aren’t my usual “crafty blog” fare.

These are the categories that work for me. Elizabeth of Things Bright, the blogger who inspired my blog reader makeover with her amazing post called “Read Less Blogs”, sorts her reader into more priority levels. If that’s your cup of tea, go for it. I needed my system to be simple or I would never do it.

“Wait!” you say. “What’s this folder business? How do you make folders in Google Reader?”

I’ll show you.

The quickest way to sort your Google Reader subscriptions is from the settings section. Fire up Google Reader and click on the gear icon in the upper right corner. From there choose “Reader Settings”.

In the Settings window, choose the “Subscriptions” tab.

Next to each subscription, there is a “Change folders…” drop down menu.  Use the “New Folder…” option to make folders for each of your priority categories.

Tip: If your new folders aren’t showing up in the drop down menu after your create them.  Exit the settings panel (“<< Back to Google Reader”), then reopen it by clicking on the gear again.

With your folders set up, go through your subscriptions list and sort each blog into a priority categories mentioned above. Delete when necessary.

Now, when you open Google Reader, clicking on the folder will bring up only the blogs in that priority category.

Ahhh… that’s much better. Isn’t it? 🙂

How’s your reader looking these days? Is it in need of a spring cleaning?

Jodi blogs at Sew Fearless, her “geeky sewing blog.” If you’re interested in sewing, you must read it (and check out her patterns and tutorials). If you’re not interested in sewing, pop over there for a glimpse of how Jodi’s finding ways to pursue her passion while raising 4 small children. You can find her on twitter, or follow her fabulous Pinterest boards here

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19 comments

  1. I really like using my Blogger Dashboard to check blogs…however, it’s just one click to get to Google Reader from there. I am doing this! Today! Thank you! 🙂

  2. Amanda says:

    I just discovered your blog last week, Jodi! What a small world to find out you are friends with my dear Modern Mrs. Darcy! I’m not quite ready to take the time to sort out my RSS feed (I’m still working on my bookmarks!) but the project has made it onto my project list. Now I know how to go about it. Thanks!

    Amanda R., Louisville, KY

    • Jodi says:

      So, fun, Amanda! I look forward to chatting it up with you over on Sew Fearless.

      It’s hard to make the time to organize, but well worth it. Maybe you could set a timer and work on it in 15 min chunks at a time? It’s easy to tell where you left off, because those are the blogs that haven’t been sorted into a folder! 🙂

    • Jodi says:

      yes! my mornings too! So much easier now. The good news is that I don’t miss out on much anymore because I see the “really good stuff” over on Pinterest.

  3. Scott says:

    We understand this is a huge problem. People have lots of unread articles. When my unread count reached 10,000, I had an idea to create a service where you can listen to your unread blogs on the go and have them read by real people. Kind of like audiobooks for blogs. It’s just an idea and web page for now, but if you’re having this problem and looking for a creative solution, let us know.

    Thanks,
    Scott A—Melbourne, Australia (http://castifyapp.com)

  4. Karianna @ Caffeinated Catholic Mama says:

    great post, Jodi! I use the Perfect Reader app on my iPad, but I found that I look at blogs with kind of an editors eye. There are so many great blogs out there, but it would not do me a service to have 100s of blogs to read, so I try to stick to the ones… like you said, that really speak to me.

    Love the graphics on the screen shot, BTW. But I am thinking you needed some Wonder Woman in here!

  5. Thanks for this tip, Jodi! I’ve been getting overwhelmed by blogs lately. I think I need to go back to just reading them in goggle reader. I’ve been using Flipboard which makes all of my social media and blog reading stuff like reading an online magazine. However, it’s so easy to get sucked in for way longer than I intended!

    • Jodi says:

      oh my goodness.. the HOURS of my life I was wasting just “flipping” through the posts. I wasn’t even reading most of them. so sad.

  6. Yes! Thank you so much for this! I have tried to organize them without using the official folders and every time I came back it was undone! I already went through the purge stage a few weeks ago and this helps further simplify things for me!

  7. Alia Joy says:

    I need to do this. I have so many blogs I wish I could read. Some I never read and can’t remember why I subscribed, and some that I read vigilantly as time allows. I also feel guilt when I unsubscribe. I know that when someone unsubscribes to my site, I feel a tad bit of hurt feelings. Kind of ridiculous considering but I do wonder if it’s some failing on my part. Now, I just deleted the notification so I’m not bothered with the numbers. It helps me write better and as I purge the bloated google reader, I remember that sometimes it’s just a matter of decluttering, nothing personal. Great post on categorizing. Thanks.

    • Anne says:

      Alia, I deleted the notifications, too. It was morale killing, and I never followed up with them anyway. Just know that you have company 🙂

  8. Adrienne says:

    I have to make a confession. I recently set up an entirely new Google account just so I wouldn’t have to deal with my old Google Reader list. I also needed to set up a new email account, so it went hand in hand. Don’t judge me. 🙂

    Now I really need to get down to categorizing all the blogs because there are still many that I love to read, but they definitely need prioritizing. Great post, Jodi!

    • Anne says:

      Adrienne, I would never judge. I’ve been there! Prioritizing my blogs per Jodi’s instructions has helped so much.

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