As of March 2017, there were approximately 2.8 million apps available in the Google Play Store and 2.2 million apps in the App Store according to Statista. App Annie reports that we are spending more time on apps now than ever before. On average, a person uses 30+ apps in a month with 9 apps used on a daily basis.
Since we’re already such app addicts, why not mold the habit a bit and use a productivity app that can help save a lot of time? So, on to the read-it-later app that can help up productivity by several notches.
Read-it-later apps and how they can help improve productivity
A read-it-later application allows you to bookmark what you’re reading or plan to read, so that you can read it later. Essentially, it’s a simple but effective approach to not only save time but also organize your reading.
There are tons of read-it-later apps that you can download with most of them being free. Here is a list of these applications to help you choose.
I did not make my choice from here though. Instead, Zapier (another productivity application) did a showdown of two leading read-it-later apps, Instapaper and Pocket, and I met my read-it-later partner, Pocket there.
Here’s what I noticed after I chose Pocket as my go-to bookmarking app:
1. My reading habits are organized better
When you read books and novels, you know how much progress you have made. You can track how many books you’ve read in a month or year — we’ve Goodreads that helps us do that.
When it comes to reading online content though, there is no way to track what you have read and how much you’ve read. You may have read one or two articles in your lunch break or a bunch of useful blogposts with your morning coffee. But you can’t keep all that in your mind, right?
What’s more, if you read content for inspiration, then it can be challenging to recall where you read what. I faced all such concerns but Pocket helped me solve them.
Since downloading it, I’ve my reading list saved in the app, which means nowI can easily keep tabs on what I’ve been reading and how much I’ve been reading. Here’s the web version of the app showing what I’m going to be reading tomorrow:
2. I read more than I used to
I’m guessing that’s because my reading is organized. In a way, a read-it-later app gives your reading habit the training wheels that it deserves. You really can’t know if you’ve read enough for a day or a week if you can’t tell how much you’ve read.
At the same time, you may even miss an article or two because you got busy. That happens with me all the time. I get caught up in a client call or in a Twitter chat and what I was supposed to read becomes a tab that was carelessly closed.
After bookmarking my articles though, I don’t have to close the tab because I’m tired or have something else to do. Instead, I simply add the unread content in my Pocket and I’m good to go.
3. There are zero distractions when researching the Internet
We all have different ways to procrastinate. Some of us fall prey to clickbait articles while others finally find the topic they have been meaning to read. As a writer who constantly researches various topics, I come across several read-worthy articles, but I really can’t read all of them while I’m doing client work.
So, for me, no matter how tempting or useful online content is, it’s basically a distraction. Pocket helps me solve that issue as well. If I find an article that is interesting, I simply add it to the app, continue with my work, and read it later.
4. Minimal distractions = more focus and less attempts at multitasking
As empowering as multitasking may sound, it can quickly take a toll on your productivity. In fact, multitasking can drain as much as 40% of your productivity. You may assume that you are a pro at it, but 98% of the population can’t multitask.
Basically, multitasking requires you to shift from one task to another. Each time you go back and forth between tasks, your brain is required to refocus, which negatively impacts your performance significantly.
So, let’s suppose you are writing an important email and an interesting, click-worthy article comes up, you don’t have to switch between emailing and reading. Instead, you can simply add the article to your to-read list and focus on the task at hand. I’ve been doing the same, which is why I can work in bursts of 25 minutes and take a quick 5-minute break.
5. I’m making notes as I read
Lastly, a read-it-later app can also help you categorise your reading. The application that I use lets me tag each article. So, when I find a piece that I’d like to link to my content, I can simply add a tag to it like here:
Similarly, you can also make further notes by highlighting lines that you find useful as I do so using the mobile application:
A read-it-later application is great for eliminating distractions while adding content to your to-read list. It also works to organize your reading, so that useful nuggets of information are highlighted and tagged under different categories.
How A Read-It-Later App Has Helped Increase My Productivity was originally published in The Ascent on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.