Morning Papers

In November, I wrote a post about my post-Twitter news consumption workflow. Less than two months later, I cringe at how comically over-engineered it was. It served a purpose. I got over my Twitter news FOMO. But I was still pumping way to much information into my brain every day.

I’ve abandoned pretty much everything I described in my November post. No more RSS feeds from newspaper sites. No more breaking news push notifications. No more email digests. No more Nuzzel.

My current approach is much simpler.

Most newspaper sites update their home pages frequently throughout the day, but many also have a single “Today’s Paper” page with a list of articles from the current day’s print edition tucked away somewhere. I’ve bookmarked three of these pages as Safari favorites.

When I sit down at my desk in the morning, I open Safari and hit ⌘-Option-1 to pop open the day’s edition of The Boston Globe. I scroll down a single web page and right click to open anything that looks vaguely interesting into a new browser tab. I then hit ⌘-Option-2 and repeat the process the day’s edition of The New York Times. Lastly, I hit ⌘-Option-3 and repeat for The Washington Post.

This sounds like a lot, but it takes me less than five minutes to do this initial triage by scrolling down three self-contained web pages. I also try to be fairly selective, so I end up with fewer than 10 article tabs open most days.

As I go through my article tabs, there are generally at least a few articles that I skim quickly and decide not to read. I read most of the others in the moment. If there are longer pieces that I don’t have time to read in the morning, I will sometimes send them to my Kindle (using the excellent Push to Kindle Safari extension) to read in the evening. But I try to be pretty selective about this. After all, current events aren’t the best way to unwind these days.

I’m pretty happy with this approach. By focusing on the “Today’s Paper” pages rather than using RSS feeds or checking news site home pages throughout the day, I cut down the noise and avoid derailing my thought process during the workday with weighty or disturbing news.

The whole process usually takes me less than 20 minutes over coffee in the morning, but it allows me to feel engaged with current events without overwhelming my mind.

Doug Lane @douglane