The 10 Most Useful Google Reader Productivity Tips

I’ve tried many RSS feed readers which include browser based readers like Bloglines and desktop readers like FeedDemon but I have to say that Google Reader is by far the best tool for the job.

For someone like me who subscribes to tons of feeds, it’s an indispensable tool that gets me in and out quickly so I satisfy my information craving without killing my productivity.

Since Google Reader may be the most popular browser based RSS reader, I assume that a fair number of you are reading this post from Google Reader. To share the wealth, I am providing some useful tips to help you become more productive while reading feeds and therefore avoiding

com/2008/06/8-useful-tips-to-manage-and-avoid-rss.html">RSS overload.

Keyboard Shortcuts
Google Reader provides an excellent set of keyboard shortcuts which can be easily accessed by pressing Shift + ‘?’ in case you forget them. The simple shortcuts, like ‘j’ / ‘k’ for viewing next / previous item and ‘v’ for checking the original link would save you loads of time.

Manage Tags
If you are able to manage the tags feature in Google Reader, it can serve as a huge information resource. You just have to make sure that you separate the tags and folders, because for Google Reader both are same.

For example, lets say I subscribe to 3 productivity related blogs. I’d tag them as ‘Productivity’ and automatically a folder gets created with that name which will include those 3 blogs. However, if I come across a good post in one of those blogs which I want to save for future reference, I’d assign a separate tag to that post which is different from the names of any folders I’ve created. This way I can easily access that specific post later using the corresponding tag.

Use List View
The default view in Google Reader is the expanded view which shows posts in expanded form. I’d recommend you to immediately switch to the list view which is much better and helps you check feeds faster. In fact, the list view also speeds up Google Reader load times.

Create a Top Priority Folder
A person who doesn’t want to spend the entire day reading feeds always has a top priority folder which houses the blogs he reads most frequently. If you haven’t created such a folder until now, then go ahead and create one for yourself. Check the feeds in this folder everyday and leave the rest for weekends. Trust me, you’d never complain about RSS overload again. :)

Star Items To Read Later
Like Gmail lets you star emails, Google Reader lets you star articles. You can put this functionality to use when you are in a hurry and would like to read a post later during the day. Hence a single click can help you quickly access the post later when you decide to read it. And yes, make sure you remove the star after you’ve read the post. That would ensure you don’t end up with too many starred items.

Integrate RTM
Remember the Milk (RTM) is an awesome task management application and Lifehacker mentions how you can integrate it with your Google Reader account. This could help you easily create to-do lists or reminders from something you just read.

Use Better GReader
Better GReader is a Firefox extension created by Lifehacker’s editor Gina Trapani. It adds many features to Google Reader but if you were to ask how it makes you productive, I’d tell you about the preview item feature. This feature lets you view a blog post in its original form within Google Reader and you can add a comment to that post without leaving Google Reader’s interface.

Search Efficiently
We know about Google Reader’s search function but most of us don’t bother to check the drop down menu which gives you many search options such as: searching read items, starred items and searching items within specific tags. If we utilize these options, we can easily find what we are looking for in Google Reader.

Use AideRSS to Filter Feeds
AideRSS is a cool tool which allows you to filter feeds and sort them in accordance with their ranks. The ranks are assigned using the PostRank technology and other statistics which this tool considers useful.

Analyze Using Trends
The trends feature in Google Reader is an excellent way to analyze your feed reading habits. Here is an article which shows how you can manage RSS overload using trends in Google Reader.

Cheers,

Abhijeet

Written on 11/14/2008 by Abhijeet Mukherjee. You can catch him at Jeet Blog where he blogs about different Web 2.0 apps a nd online tools and how they can help you become more productive. Photo Credit:
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