Shortly after Catherine was born, I came to the realization that I had far too many subscriptions in my [Bloglines](http://www.bloglines.com/) account. I think the number was somewhere around 324… yikes. Most of the subscriptions I had, I rarely read in detail, and most of them weren’t about things for which I cared very deeply. The simple fact that the subscriptions were there, waiting to be read, weighed on my psyche, and the fact that I wasn’t giving the attention I had originally intended was what [David Allen](http://www.davidco.com/) would call ‘breaking an agreement I made with myself’. At some point in the past, I had made an agreement (consciously or subconsciously, it doesn’t really matter) that I would read all of the items in these very interesting Bloglines subscriptions. As time went by, and I kept adding more subscriptions, the practical reality of being able to keep up with all of them ended. I had broken my own agreement, and that brought along with it bad feelings and an overwhelming sense of delinquency.
So what I did was renegotiate the agreement. Rather than reading every single blog that I thought would be vaguely interesting, I decided that what I would do is only follow those blogs that I really cared about in some meaningful way, something that was more or less directly related to me. True, this meant that I would stop reading some blogs that contained interesting techie news, and that I might miss a few pithy sayings from some internet personality or another, but in reality, it simply meant that I would be using [Bloglines](http://www.bloglines.com/) to keep track of the stuff I really cared about.
Basically, this was a sort of ‘de-toxing’ process that involved several steps over a period of weeks:
1. I deleted all subscriptions from my Bloglines account.
2. I deleted all links to Bloglines from all of the web browsers I used. This included [Chad](http://jayseae.cxliv.org/)’s excellent [Bloglines Toolkit](http://jayseae.cxliv.org/bloglines_toolkit/).
3. I did not use Bloglines at all for one week. This part was tough, as I had developed a ‘tic’ to check bloglines any time that I stopped thinking about the task at hand. Bad habit, but it’s gone now. I did check a few of my favorite websites occasionally by just clicking through from our [blogroll](http://prwdot.org/blogroll/).
4. After I had broken my habit, I went through our blogroll and picked out the blogs that I really did care about and felt that I really could benefit from reading. I’ve got them organized into three folders. One is called “People I care about”, which has all of my friends whose blogs I really do want to keep track of. The next one is called “News that pertains to me.” This one has news feeds about things that directly impact me. For example, news feeds for software that I use, so that I can stay up to date with any important updates or security issues. The final one is called “Current Projects”. That’s where I put feeds that are related to something I’m currently working on, but may not want to read in the long term. I regularly review this folder and take out anything that I don’t have any current use for. The list is currently a very reasonable 72 feeds – 40 to 50 of which are in the “People I care about” category, most of which are for friends who don’t blog all that much (and hence don’t generate that many items for me to read).
5. P.S. I am using your toolkit again, Chad… just to keep track of only the blogs I care about. 🙂 P.P.S Your blog happens to be one of them. 😉
I feel like I’m paying a lot more attention to the blogs for people I care about, and a lot less attention to stuff that really doesn’t require my attention. Sure, I’m probably not up on all of the latest rumors on Mac or techie stuff, and I don’t know about every event that’s going on everywhere in the world, but I *am* keeping track of the things that matter most.