Like any diet, what you read has an impact on how you feel. I’ve been evolving my information diet over the years - cutting out things that have low intellectual caloric value, like Facebook updates of people I barely know, and trying to read more long-form pieces and books.
The Newspaper. I’m addicted to the NYTimes on my iPad. In college Northwestern was part of a collegiate readership program which offered free NYTimes, Wall Street Journals and Chicago Tribunes all over campus every day. I would try to read the paper each weekday. That habit fell off for the first 3-4 years of Next Big Sound but I would still try to read the Sunday Times as a treat for myself on the way into the office. Two years ago I decided to pony up and pay for the iPad access to the paper. At first I thought that no digital equivalent would ever live up to the physical paper. Now I like it much better. I’m able to stay in bed and with one hand spend 30 minutes feeling like I’m totally caught up with the major news stories from around the globe.
Blogs. I got heavily into blogs about 10 years ago when I first started scheming about starting Next Big Sound. RSS and Google Reader (R.I.P.) were a godsend. I now follow about 200 highly curated blogs across all sorts of categories: data viz, economics, entrepreneurship, venture capital, music, marketing, book publishing, finance, and lifestyle. Any publisher that posts prolifically is cut - sorry ESPN, Mashable and Techcrunch. I’m aiming for 100-200 high-quality blog posts across a wide range of my interests each time I fire up Reeder, the gorgeous app that I use for reading blogs. I used to be pretty disciplined about checking it only on Wednesday and Sundays but I now am less militant about it and switch to blogs whenever I’ve finished the paper. By Saturday I try to zero out anything I haven’t read.
Instapaper. Rather than having to leave a tab open until I read a long article, the Read Later bookmarklet has been a brilliant addition to my workflow. I used to have 100+ posts to read but I went through and deleted or read all of them on a transatlantic flight last year. Now I aim to keep fewer than 10 and be really selective about what actually I save to read later by previewing a few paragraphs.
Techmeme and Social. Throughout the day I check Techmeme 4-5 times to make sure there is no breaking tech news I need to be aware of. I skim Twitter as well but no longer feel like I need to (or am able) to keep up with the ~500 people I follow. I’ve unfollowed 1000+ people on Facebook (not unfriended, just their posts don’t show up). This process took months of active effort each time I checked my timeline but Facebook is actually now a total joy to use, every update is by someone who I am eager to hear life updates about.
Books. On Saturdays during coffee shop crawls I try to make meaningful progress on a book. I typically read 20-30 books a year (Goodreads profile). I don’t read the paper on Saturday since I figure the important stuff will be covered Friday or Sunday. Sundays I read the NYTimes.
Think that about captures it! I’m sure there are plenty of blind spots here but this is obviously a priority for me and I pride myself on not missing too much.