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Google Reader Productivity Tips: Keep Up With Your Favorite Blogs and Websites

RSS readers provide a quick and convenient way to keep up with your favorite blogs and websites, and Google Reader continues to be the default for many.

Google Reader is a great tool right out of the box. But if you use it every day, like I do, there are additional ways to customize and organize the reader to enhance the way you consume news, blogs and other media. Here are a few tips.

1. Organize into folders – Organizing feeds into folders lets you quickly scan high priority headlines during busy days. If you have a “political news” or “tech news” folder and can’t get to it for a few days, it also allows you to quickly mark an entire week-old news folder as “read” without wasting your time scanning dated news. This is useful since news sites put out multiple articles a day and can quickly overwhelm your feed.

2. Keep it lean – Nothing makes you stay away from Google Reader like seeing the “1000+ unread items” notice. Regularly review and trim your subscriptions. A blog is no longer being updated? Delete it. Content has become irrelevant or annoying? Delete it. Moved on from that Craigslist job or apartment search? Delete the feed. Stay away from subscribing to too many news sites that can quickly clog up your reader.

3. Subscribe as you surf – There are tons of scripts, browser extensions and third party apps that will help you to customize Google Reader, but I prefer to keep it simple. Too many add-ons can slow down your browser countering their productivity claims. One extension that I do recommend is RSS Subscription Extension for Chrome browser. It auto-detects RSS feeds on the page you are reading, allowing you to preview the feed content and subscribe.

4. Share on Twitter – A Google Plus share button is now part of Google Reader which makes sense since it’s part of their ecosystem. But what if you want to share to Twitter as you browse headlines?

Try Buffer App, it’s a third party app that I can’t do without these days. Buffer App lets you spread your tweets out throughout the day or week. It also seamlessly integrates with Google Reader. So when you come across a post you’d like to share on Twitter, simply click on the Buffer icon and it will be added to your Twitter queue.

Google Reader works for me. I’m already using Gmail, Google Docs, or Google Analytics so I don’t have to login to another product to view my RSS feeds. I like the flow and convenience. If you have more tips or prefer other RSS readers, please share.

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