How many queues of crap do you have in your life? These lists are things that you intend to do at some point. But really if it’s been sitting for a few weeks is it going to get done?

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I sit here looking at my Instapaper queue of 95 articles and I have no doubt that there are some awesome reads in there. I also know that there are at least 30 articles that have been sitting for months.

If I haven’t made the time for them in months are they really that important?

Hell no

That list is just something that sits there imposing a bit of guilt on me about promises. Each thing I added is a promise to myself that I’m going to read it. When I don’t get to them for months I’ve broken that self-contract.

Well I’m just about to set a timer for 25 minutes (a typical Pomodoro cycle) and the plan is to make a new promise with myself. Go through the whole queue and get it down to 30 articles that are really worth my time.

That means those technical things I wanted to read are hitting Evernote. Almost everything else is just getting removed.

My new contract is that if my Instapaper queue is more than 30 articles I need to cut it down.

I’m tired of making promises to myself that will just never get done so I’m going to try and be a bit more realistic.

4 responses to “Queues and broken self-contracts”

  1. John Parris Avatar
    John Parris

    I do something similar. I host my own Tiny Tiny RSS instance, and have more feeds than I can handle. I’m raising my standards on what I subscribe to, and I’ve started unsubscribing from the ones that just don’t make the cut anymore. Even still, I have some queued up to read that I haven’t gotten around to yet.

    Then there are feeds where the signal to noise isn’t so good, but the good ones are really good. Hacker News comes to mind. I find some really good stuff there sometimes that I wouldn’t find otherwise. Much of it is crap or duplicated posts, but if I unsubscribe I’ll miss the greats. Le sigh. I need to work on better filtering. I’m starring the ones I definitely want, and marking the rest as read and I move along.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      I hear that Fever can help deal with the high volume high noise feeds. I keep thinking of trying it, but now that I’m on WPEngine I’d have to do something about a server to host it.

      Learning to say no to things is hard.

  2. Jon Jennings Avatar

    Bookmarks & “I’ll read it later” services always remind me of Douglas Adams’ Electric Monks (

    They function in a similar way to how VCRs would record TV shows that you felt you should watch… but once it was recorded you didn’t have to worry about it any more.

    1. Curtis McHale Avatar
      Curtis McHale

      Ha that’s a great way to put it. I should, but now that I know it’s saved I can forget about it.