February 17, 2024 - Tackling my Reading Backlog with Deliberate Intent

Topics: PKM, Obsidian, GTD

I have a backlog queue of internet articles I've saved to read that is more than 1,000 items long. I'd like to winnow that backlog down. However, I'd like to do it in a way that is intentional, effective, conducive to learning, aligned to my near-term objectives.

Typically, how I consume articles is just reading current or queued/backlogged articles as they grab my interest. Reading in this way is strictly for entertainment rather than to inform and quite wasteful with time and attention. I'd estimate than more than 95% of time spent consuming News, Social Media, Newsletters, Video content, etc. is wasted in this way. There is nothing wrong with consuming content to be entertained, of course, as long as I'm deliberately choosing to spend my time on entertainment.

By being deliberate and intentful with what I choose to read, I can use my time and attention to consume media that can actually help me achieve the goals I've set out to accomplish.

So here is my plan: For each day this week, I will pull an item out of the to-read queue that is about a single relevant topic area. For example, this week I will read articles with keywords in 'Productivity', with search phrases including 'GTD', 'to-do', and 'tasks'. Then, I will read that item, and finally I will write a summary about useful key points. That writing will be in the topic matter file (eg 'Productivity') in Obsidian.

I'll still collect articles in other topic areas and add them to the queue, but they won't get read until/unless that area becomes a weekly-ish priority.

I also want to experiment with curating the results of my reading-week and publishing it either as an article, a post, and/or a node ("leaf") to my Digital Garden. I expect the benefits of using this approach would include:

This approach to learning and content creation is an experiment, but I suspect is a repeatable and sustainable workflow.