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What's your feed reading speed?

If you can't measure it, you can't manage it. -- Peter Drucker? [1], [2]
As a follow-up to Afraid to click? How to efficiently process your RSS feeds I decided to time a few of my RSS processing and organizing [3] sessions. I've included the results below, with average time spent/post in bold. (Note: See the above article for the simplified workflow I use.)

Here are the results:

Test 1

# : 139 posts
avg : 33 minutes / 139 posts -> 14 seconds/post

Test 2

# : 81 posts
avg : 26 minutes / 81 posts -> 19 seconds/post

Test 3

# : 242 posts
avg : 43 minutes / 242 posts -> 11 seconds/post

Test 4

# : 132 posts
avg : 22 minutes / 132 posts -> 10 seconds/post

hits : 24
7 new to-read articles, 4 posts to reply to
Crucial to rapid processing is having a great follow-up system - especially an Actions list (I have a "To-Print" sub-category) and a Read/Review cache.

On curious thing I noticed: When I'm timing myself I'm much more aware of the two minute rule, which results in a more focused, more efficient session.

So how does this compare with your speed? I'd be very curious to hear some of your stats!

Note: If you try this experiment for yourself, you might also want to track how many "hits" you had, i.e., how many of the total # of posts passed the first phase. In Firefox you can get a quick count of open tabs by closing the window. It will ask you to confirm, and the message contains the count: "You are about to close ____ tabs. Are you sure you want to continue?". WARNING: It's possible to turn this off, so first do a dry-run, or bookmark the group of tabs (control-shift-D in Firefox) just in case!


Reader Comments (11)

posts : 180
time : 15 mins
avg time per post : 5 secs
their directory of other topics at http://www.netreputation.co.uk/

July 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Anonymous, I am humbled by your speed! Great list - thanks for the pointer.

July 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

I just gave this a try. As I started out I felt stressed about trying to keep my times as short as possible - and then I decided to not worry about it, and I relaxed and read at a comfortable speed. It's a data point, not a contest!

posts: 83
time: 27 minutes
avg time per post: 20 seconds

And another thank you to anonymous for the pointer to netreputation.

July 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterJeri Dansky

Hey Jeri, It's a data point, not a contest! THANK YOU for this - very helpful perspective.

July 30, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

Okay, so I'm a bit of a Luddite (comparatively). I have a few feeds, but not as many as you or the other readers. I just can't imagine spending that much total time reading blog posts -- I feel like there are so many other, more important, things I can do with my time.

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterDan Markovitz

Hey Dan, thanks for your perspective. It's always good to be reminded to think about what we've invited (or allowed) into our lives, and whether it's a way we want to spend our precious time on.

For me, staying on top of ideas and trends in my field, and commenting, is a way to continue to develop my knowledge and my role as a leader (via comments).

Excellent point, though - thank you.

(Note: I *did* drop my Google news subscriptions, which I had set up to capture terms like "personal productivity," "GTD," etc. It was a good call!)

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

One of the fractal thoughts we see over and over is the more you focus on something, the greater your control over it.

To Drucker be it management, to meditation may it be stillness, to dieters seeing calories, to David Allen and the reticular system.

The more we allow ourselves to see, the greater we can affect those things around us.

It's those who shrink away at seeing that I have the most trouble with. ;-)

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterAndy

Andy: The more we allow ourselves to see, the greater we can affect those things around us. OK, deep thought of the day. Thanks for abstracting!

July 31, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

“Not everything that counts can be counted, and not everything that can be counted counts” -- Albert Einstein

Just another perspective!

September 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Elkins

Sarah, I appreciate the perspective indeed - overdoing measurement can get in the way of what's important. I also appreciate the role of measurement in science (and self-employment): An objective measure often provides surprises that run counter to what we "know." Along those lines, my former boss recommended [ How We Know What Isn't So: The Fallibility of Human Reason in Everyday Life | http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0029117062?ie=UTF8&tag=masidbl-20&linkCode=as2&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=0029117062 ]. However, I didn't make it through... ;-)

September 4, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterMatthew Cornell

"overdoing measurement can get in the way of what's important" -- yes, that's a good way to put the risk. I do agree that measuring can point up blind spots and flaws in "common wisdom". Configuration management (part of my job) measurements can be very useful for change management (e.g., a spike in build breaks can point to a need for a process check).

September 5, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterSarah Elkins

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