Posted on December 25, 2008 at 6:52pm EST. More.

How I organize feeds in Google Reader

I follow a lot of blogs using Google Reader, which lets you group subscriptions into folders. At first I grouped subscriptions by topic (e.g., politics, friends, etc.) but that was pretty much useless. Eventually I developed the following system, which I recommend for anybody.

First, group everything into three folders: Everything, Everything-Feed, and More.

Now, go to Google Reader’s Settings page. On the Preferences tab, select Everything-Feed to be your start page. On the Goodies tab, create a Next bookmark for the Everything tag and put it in your browser toolbar. Create one for the More tag, too.

Now, when you are in a blog reading mood, click that Next bookmark and your browser will automatically load the newest page from your Everything folder. Click again to load the next newest. Click again. Click again. Take a moment to imagine yourself as a laboratory rat pushing down on a lever to release another food pellet. Seriously think about it.

When you log into Google Reader, it will take you directly to your Everything-Feed folder. When you’ve finished reading all of those, you can pick and choose what to read from the More folder at your leisure. Or you can go back to doing work.

One drawback to this approach is that the Next bookmark forces you to browse in reverse-chronological order: if you’ve been away for a few days you’ll read reactions to a particular post before the post itself. It’s also difficult to Star or Share an item this way, since you’re not inside the Google Reader interface. Any workarounds for those issues would be very much appreciated.

Bonus: the Next bookmark works really well on the iPhone.

I hope this was useful to somebody. I searched around to see if similar advice was being offered elsewhere, but most of the posts I found were focused on teaching you the keyboard shortcuts.