A Brilliant Way to Organize Feedly or Your Favorite RSS Tool

September 24, 2013

Find yourself too busy to read all the blogs and publications that interest you? Don’t have time to keep on top of the news in your industry?

RSS is a great tool for keeping up with all the blogs you know you should read, without spending all day on your computer. While RSS sounds complicated, it’s actually really simple, and it goes a long way toward making your life easier. It also saves you time, and we can ALL use more of that.

Image: Organize your RSS

Let’s be honest: Being smart about RSS makes you look good.

So what is RSS, exactly?

Before we dive into today’s hack, here’s a quick RSS explainer.

In simple terms, RSS allows you to aggregate new posts from all the blogs and publications you want to keep up with in ONE place. Rather than hop around to a million different URLs to catch up on news while you sip your morning coffee, you can hang out in your aggregator and easily browse new entries. Think of it as a sister to email but without the spam; all the important stuff comes right to you.

I used to recommend Google Reader because it was the simplest RSS tool around. But Google has eliminated its Reader, forcing us Google Reader disciples to find an alternative. My Socialexis team now uses Feedly — and for more than keeping up with industry news. We also use it to find blog and social media fodder for every one of our clients, making it a vital part of our workflow.

If you’re new to Feedly, here’s an easy-to-understand guide from Jessica Lawlor about how to get started.

My favorite RSS hack

But my goal here isn’t to convince you to set up RSS. Instead, I want to give everyone who’s already sold on the value of aggregation a better way to use Feedly or whatever RSS tool you prefer.

Most of us typically set up our RSS tool haphazardly, just sort of throwing lots of blogs and news sites into our reader. If you’re savvy, you might organize your Feedly into folders by topic.

Here’s a way to take it even further, a tactic that’s especially important for those of us who are so busy that we’ve gotten into the habit of neglecting our Feedly: organize by importance.

You can do this in two ways.

Brilliant Option No. 1

The first is my preferred method. In addition to organizing feeds by topic — I have folders for careers, journalism, social media, entrepreneurship and marketing — I also create a folder called “Don’t Miss.”

That folder includes all the blogs I absolutely don’t want to miss, the ones I want to see even when I have a lot of other tasks on my plate. Feedly allows you to put blogs into more than one folder, so you can file your top choices both in a topical folder and in your “Don’t Miss” folder.

That way, even during weeks where you’re running from one event to another, you can easily pop into your Feedly and browse new posts from the publications that are most important to you. This is a great way to ignore a lot of the noise on the Internet and focus only on what you care about. Kind of like the Notice-Me List you create to wade through Twitter noise.

Brilliant, right? (If you think so, click to tweet this idea!)

Brilliant Option No. 2

The second way to do this is to avoid topical folders altogether and organize by importance only.

Create several tiers of folders — Tier 1, Tier 2 and Tier 3 — and file all your publications wherever they belong, with Tier 1 being most important.

Whenever you have time to pop into your reader, start with Tier 1, to make sure you get through the important information first. When you have extra time (or, let’s face it, are procrastinating), you can move onto Tier 2 and Tier 3.

No matter how you approach it, this system of prioritizing will help you be more efficient, so you can accomplish the big things that really matter.

Would you try organizing your Feedly this way? Do you have another way to organize your RSS tool that we should all know about?

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14 Replies to “A Brilliant Way to Organize Feedly or Your Favorite RSS Tool”

  • Good hints Alexis, I didn’t know that you can put feeds into multiple feedly folders. The “don’t miss” folder is a “must have” as there are many days that I only have a few minutes for reading.

  • Jim says:

    I use the first one, calling that folder my “Must Reads.” I also make sure to cull out feeds I don’t read after a period of time… if it accumulates more than 30-40 posts, chances are it shouldn’t be in my reader anymore.

  • Anne says:

    I’ve just started using Feedly…I especially love it for the iPad. I hadn’t thought to create a “Don’t Miss” section…it reminds me of your prioritization suggestions re: Twitter lists. I’m going to go make one now! Thanks!

  • Just started using feedly, so this post was timely! I can’t wait to see the benefits!

  • Tatiana says:

    I organize my feedly by topics: spirituality, coaches, career, sexuality – etc. That way I can keep track of whose blog is whose and I can even skip topics if I’m not interested in that today. And Feedly recently updated it so that it only shows you which blogs posted whereas before you got all of the blogs and it was annoying to sift through all of it.

    But yes, Feedly is awesome.

  • Alex Sheehan says:

    Wow, I never would have thought to organize my Feedly like this. I’ve organized it by topical areas and put a few that have too many updates in their own folder, but haven’t thought about prioritizing like this. So simple but so effective!

  • Dana Sitar says:

    Great tips! I used to organize my reader by topic, but realized I skipped over a ton of great content that way (and it’s tough, because many bloggers I follow write on a variety of topics).

    Now, I use my Feedly to follow the blogs of people I want to connect with and support, so I organize them in folders by network: DIY Writers, The Write Life team, members of Hungry Entrepreneurs (a support tribe for entrepreneurs I’m a member of), etc., and I have one called “Interesting People” for the bloggers I want to get to know. For my “Don’t Miss” bloggers, I tag it with Feedly’s “Must Read” feature.

  • Hey Alexis, I’ve never actually thought of sharing my method before I suppose it is pretty different. I organize my feeds by Daily, Weekly and Whenever and it has worked great for me thus far 🙂

  • Thank you Alexis, those are awesome ideas! Life got crazy this month and I fell behind on my reading. Now I dread going into Feedly and all the accumulated backlog. Definitely going to set up a Don’t Miss folder for future bouts of life insanity!

  • Matt says:

    It was a sad day when google reader was discontinued. I think Google relly undervalued that service.
    Feedly does seem to be a more than adequate replacement. I like when multiple tags come up when adding content so you can use more than one category.

  • Thanks so much for including my Feedly guide in this post! I am really loving Feedly, lately.I love the idea of creating a \”don\’t miss\” folder. I currently have mine separated by categories, but may need to create a don\’t miss folder since I\’ve been neglecting my Reader a bit more lately than I\’d like to.

  • Vanessa says:

    Awesome information. I had been looking for some good leads. Thanks for all you do!

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