Managing inboxes

I’m sitting staring at the huge backlog of articles I have in Instapaper, the long list of books on my Kindle, and wondering: how do you all manage your content inboxes?

For me, I subscribe to a lot of RSS feeds using Feedly. If something is interesting, I save it to Instapaper to highlight / take notes later. But my backlog is bigger than I can ever get through. Definitely a lot of stashing stuff “just in case” going on.

Anybody get over this? Or come to grips with it, anyway? :slight_smile:

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I had the same issue. What I did - i started filtering stuff related to active projects only. From my experience - this backlog you will never get over with it. So I designed system where I read only thing that are related to my current projects.
It works like this:
1.Everything is a project
2. In notion i create kanban board for project and pages inside it where I collect information and
3. Since the project is ongoing - I read some stuff, make notes, collect links etc.
4. When the page reaches to column “done” I started making retro (or reflections)
5. Here comes Obsidian. After project is done I do reflection on most insights I got from it and transfer this knowledge to obsidian.

This approach gives you 1) clarity of mind - no backlog, all stuff collected per task or research. 2) obsidian is getting distilled thoughts that i acquire from doing things not just collecting things.

My stack is :

  • Agenda app - for actions and calendar
  • notion - for high level project planing
  • obsidian - distilling knowledge

Decide what project to do in notion, breakdown action points in agenda, once project down move your knowledge to obsidian

There’s no problem with having a huge pile of stuff you thought was interesting. There is a problem having it in your inbox.

Dump everything older than a week into an unsorted, unnoted archive. No point wasting the effort spent reading and collecting - that process has established that this is higher grade ore than the web in general. Rely on search for future discovery. If it becomes more pertinent you can make notes then.

Always keep your inbox to items less than a week old. Many items can go straight to this archive. When you are less overwhelmed, you might add a tag or two before archiving them. You can choose to keep your inbox to items less than a day or two old - choose what fits you. If you don’t have an active interest in making a note, just don’t; the suffering is probably pointless.

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I’d bet most of us interested in Obsidian or other knowledge software have either had or have this problem. I’m in the have group too, I’ve suffered the Collector’s Fallacy. But I don’t stress about it, the wonderful thing about the web is great thought and writing is continually being brought to our attention. I’d like to think we’re here because we want to do more with our own when it encounters said material.

I notice the above answers hold some similarity to other systems I’ve read about for solving this problem. To start over, you shove everything in an Archive. Create new relevant boxes tied to your responsibilities or concerns. For instance, Tiago Forte (one of those self-styled productivity gurus) has his ‘PARA’ system. You have your Projects, Areas of Concern, Reference Material and the Archive, which is finished projects, other areas of concern or previous collections. I think he uses Evernote or another system that would allow search to bring items to you when needed (it’s my reference box too). I think ideally you could dip in and revisit some of those collected items to add to your new Obsidian Book Of Knowledge. I’ve found going through a lot of my inboxes a rather large portion, more than I thought, was relevant to it’s time and easy to toss.

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The Feedly part of the problem was what, I think, the Resonance Calendar was supposed to fix. The idea is that, if you think enough of something to save it, you should also spend a moment to summarize and categorize it on the spot.

Because it’s too easy to collect information, we’ve completely lost touch with our own personal KMSs. I can’t tell you how many times I saved something to one of my boards in Feedly, never to look at it again… and when I do go searching through that board for something, I can’t find it because I didn’t spend the time recording in a manner that made it easy to search for in the future.

I haven’t groked Resonance Calendar in Obsidian yet, mainly because there isn’t a really good clipper that removes the friction involved. (Yes I’ve tried all the Markdown clippers, they aren’t good).

So, as of now, I’ve stopped just collecting web links in my KMS. I use Feedly and Pocket as my bookmark “inboxes” and anything that is important enough for me to spend a minute of time with, goes in my KMS.

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Hey rossbd, I have a largely similar approach, I’m curious to know: how/ where do you manage resources that may be useful for your future projects/works?

In the Notion. So i have to two big folders: projects and references. Reference folder aim - is just being a dump where everything I found goes to. At this point I usually don’t care about the structure - I simply create folders by topic “math”, “marketing” whatever. And dump all things I think related to this field. The main lifehack - I don’t care if I will ever will use this info - I may never use it indeed. But what’s important is my projects folder - that’s where all the action happens. Project folders shows me all my active projects (and future projects) - and it looks like kanban board. Kanban board has tasks (in notion this is pages) so basically I outline every research as task. And then I got to reference folder to see if there any info I saved for this specific task. This system is solves two problems : 1) you don’t have a “collectors” guilt 2) you move projects by actually connecting information not just storing.
And obsidian just recently joined this system as kinda place of where I collect wisdom from the experience and learnings i got from doing projects.

In simple words:

  1. Put any stuff you find into reference folder with some simple tag
  2. run projects and outline actionplans
  3. See if there are any usefull material in references according to action plan.
  4. When project is finished or reached certain milestone - collect notes of wisdom to obsidian

I don’t want to pull the conversation off-topic on another software - my goal here is really to improve my information flow INTO obsidian because I’m struggling with that.

My approach is 90% overlapping with yours, I guess my question is more about how and where to store resources or reference which may be helpful for future projects.
Let’s say you stumble into an article relevant to a topic you are covering (being a project you are working on or knowledge you want to develop).
You may process a couple more pieces of works from that author but not all since you are in action mode (working towards project completion). How do you organize future consumption of materials from the same author/source?

I have been doing it in Notion so far, and wondering if Obsidian could offer a smarter serendipity based approach