Batching & Automation Challenge, Day 7: Checking Websites

[Introduction to the Challenge] [Day 1] [Day 2] [Day 3] [Day 4] [Day 5] [Day 6]

Today’s batching and automation idea is probably one many of you are familiar with. If you’re someone like me and you read 20 different blogs, it’s a daunting task to try and keep up with them. You might find yourself checking a website more than once per day to see if there are any updates, and once you do this for 5 or 10 websites, it starts to get a little bit time consuming.

Something I’ve found to be incredibly useful is an RSS reader. My personal favorite is Google Reader.  RSS stands for “Really Simple Syndication.”  Basically, a RSS reader is a web-based tool that will automatically check websites and blogs for you, if you subscribe to those sites’ feeds.  If you look close enough on nearly any website you visit, you’ll see a link that says “Subscribe” or “RSS Feed” or maybe even just a logo similar to the one at the top of this post.

By automating your website-checking and collecting it all in one location, you can batch your website/blog reading.  On Google Reader, new posts come in the same way new e-mail does – you see the new post available, bolded as an unread item.  No more time is wasted visiting different sites and evaluating them for new content.

Using an RSS reader has allowed to me drastically increase the amount of online content I’m able to follow and process.  From sports to business, I’m able to keep up with whatever is in the news and interesting to me.  I even follow feeds such as which has allowed me to take advantage of a ton of great deals before they expire.  There’s just so much out there that I know I would never get around to viewing if it weren’t for Google Reader (or whatever your favorite RSS reader may be).

And to me, this automation/batching idea is far more appealing than doing laundry.

Time Savings

Below is the time savings for checking new content on websites, NOT reading it.  Reading an article will take you the same amount of time regardless of the format it’s in.

  • Estimated time spent checking blogs/websites without an RSS reader: 20 minutes/day (10 hours/month)
  • Estimated time spent checking blogs/websites with an RSS reader: 5 minutes/day (2.5 hours/month)
  • Monthly time savings:  7-8 hours
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