Every single day, we get hit by wave of content. It often feels overwhelming. News, articles, podcasts, newsletters, social media, and other formats plaster our timelines, inboxes, and are almost everywhere. Suddenly, it became one of the hardest tasks to filter signal from noise in our digital lives. People experience it as a burden if there are still some unread newsletters in their inboxes at the end of the day. They never touch their RSS readers since every day 10, 20, maybe 50 new articles pile up there. They abandon podcasts because they are way behind on episodes.

I was there a couple of years ago. I was following so many creators, writers, journalists, subscribed to countless RSS feeds, newsletters, and podcasts, and I got overwhelmed by all the content and information I got hit with every single day. There was the deep urge to keep up with everything, however it was impossible. Once I saw unread newsletters piling up in my inbox and the unread counter in my RSS app reaching four digits, I lost motivation to keep up. Suddenly, my content and information consumption was only driven by reaching inbox zero. I was no longer consuming because I wanted to keep track of specific topics or catch up with news, learn something, or to explore. It felt like a burden instead.

I did not really have any plans on how to tackle that burden. All I knew was that my goal is to revive my joy of consuming all different kinds of mediums. I am subscribing to multiple newsletters because I want to receive any new content by those specific creators as soon as they send it out. My RSS reader is packed with lovely personal blogs by people I deeply admire, so it feels natural to me to keep up with their writings. In my podcast queue you currently find over 200 podcast episodes. My Up Next list in my audiobooks apps consists of over 100 audiobooks.

That is a lot of content to consume. And I am adding a lot more every single day. While doing so, I realized what I am actually doing is personal curation and it helped me to no longer experience information overload as a burden, but rather embrace the fact that there is alway some kind of content to consume.

Personal curation is a powerful practice to build your own content streams. And instead of seeing posts, articles, newsletters, podcast episodes piling up in your backlogs as a burden, and feeling overwhelmed by it, embrace it, embrace the content, embrace your personal curation.

Inbox zero has never been the goal. I do not want that. I want to have a lively, ever-growing backlog of articles, books, newsletters I can choose from whenever I want to read or listening to some kind of content. My RSS readers are my favorite places to hang out, my most favorite feeds to scroll through. Whenever I want to read something, I love the fact that I can open my RSS reader and choose from articles and blog posts that 99% aimed at my interests. I do not have to actively search for something, since everything gets automatically added to a single feed I can choose from. Whenever I finished a podcast episode, I do not want to spend much time on figuring out what I should listen to next, I simply check my queue and have a lovely selection of episodes I have discovered throughout the last couple of months. If it was interesting enough to add it to my queue three months ago, chances are high it still matters to me today.

This principle can not only be transformed to all the other digital mediums I am consuming every single day. It also applies to reading books. In my appartement, I have several bookshelves. In them you obviously find books, but among them are probably hundreds I have not read yet, and owned for multiple months or even years. The reason for that is that it is one of the best feelings to finish up a book, put it back on the shelf, and then looking through the other books that are there, choose another one and get back to reading. I do enjoy strolling through bookshops, but having a similar experience at home, knowing that there is always another book I can grab as soon as I finished one is simply amazing.

Once you start personally curating the feeds, queues, and lists of your choice, embrace the fact that they are constantly growing. It is not about reaching inbox zero. The goal is to have constant content streams to choose from, curated by you, tailored at your interests. And you can achieve that in different ways. For example, I use Readwise Reader to subscribe to personal blogs from people I admire. Since Readwise Reader also provides a dedicated email address to subscribe to newsletters and read those in Readwise Reader, I forward the newsletters I subscribe to, to that email address (when I subscribe to a newsletter, reading it is not the only thing that matters, I also want to be able to engage with the creator by replying to the newsletter, and to make that possible I need to subscribe with a regular email, but the reading part happens in Readwise Reader). Following this practice, all the content that streams into Readwise Reader is a mixture of personal blogs and newsletters, as well as independent media.

To keep up with news from the fields of design, technology, startups, economics, and politics, I use another RSS reader app, which is Reeder by Silvio Rizzi. You might ask yourself, why I am using two different apps for doing one thing, aggregating feeds. Well, obviously I could use a single RSS reader and then using folders or tags to separate the different content streams. However, on one hand, I simply love both apps (and a lot of other RSS readers too, like Flyleaf, NetNewsWire, Omnivore, ...), and on the other hand, I do not want to make my feeds to crowded with too many sources.

My preferred podcasts app is Pocket Casts, my audiobooks are in BookBeat, and to keep track of the books I have read, own, and want to buy next I am currently use Book Tracker and Sequel. There is no weird and complex connection or integration between all of them, just me manually updating and curating.

I love it.

Information overload can be overwhelming, but once you filter signal from noise and create your personalized information and content streams, it becomes a goldmine of knowledge.

Till next time! 👋‌‌‌‌

Support: Do you have a friend who is looking for inspiration, news about design, and useful tools and apps? Forward this newsletter to a friend or simply share this issue and show some support. You can also show some love by simply clicking the button down below and keep this newsletter a sustainable side-project by buying me a coffee. ☕️ 🥰