Have you ever faced a situation where you wanted to read an article but you didn’t have time for it? Some of you might have bookmarked the page in your browser but let’s be honest here. How likely was it that you would actually read that article some other time? My guess – not very likely. This is a problem that needs to be addressed. Fortunately, with the help of software we can.
Today I want to introduce you to Instapaper. If you have never heard of Instapaper before, you’ll be in for a treat. It will take your reading experience to another level. For those already familiar – a couple of our tricks will help you get even more value from this great service.
In short, Instapaper is a service that allows you to save articles for you to read at another time. This is especially useful because all articles will be saved in the cloud and you can access your collection of saved articles from anywhere. Some of you Apple fans might have noticed that Safari’s Reading List offers a similar service – and it does. However, Instapaper is supported on most platforms (it is web-based so all you need is a browser) and it was in the game way before Reading List.
Due to the support of many platforms it’s very easy to access your articles. If you have a smart phone, Kindle or a tablet you can reread your saved articles any time at your own convenience. Whether that is on the train, while you are waiting in line or when your girlfriend kicked you out of the apartment – it’s all possible.
That is just one feature which is very useful but Instapaper has many other advantages:
- No need to email yourself articles you want to read later.
- No need to print articles you want to read later.
- You get the text-only version (no ads, no nothing) of articles.
The fact that every article you ever want to read is collected in one place and is accessible anytime makes it really convenient to invest your time and to maximize your time. Examples of moments you can do some reading include:
- During transit
- While you are waiting in line or in a waiting room
- Bathroom breaks (seriously – I get so much reading done then)
As an example I will share how I use Instapaper. Each morning I go through my morning ritual and a part of that is going through my RSS feeds on my iPad. There will be lots of articles I would like to read another time, so I just send those to Instapaper. Perhaps later in the day while I’m in the taxi I might pull up my iPhone and read some of my saved articles of that morning or articles I saved some other time. Whenever I’m waiting somewhere, Instapaper is right there with me so I can kill time. I can’t stress enough how this has changed my way of reading but also how much reading I do now on a daily basis.
I highly suggest you sign up for the service (it’s free).
It’s pretty straightforward to use Instapaper but here are some tips and tricks to get the most out of it. I want to give credit to Eddie Smith of Practically Efficient for collecting a lot of awesome tips in his Instapaper post. Some of these will be included here and definitely check out his post for some cool tricks. And checkout his blog as well where he shares many productivity tips.
There are many places where you can capture and store articles from. Because of Instapaper’s popularity most iPhone and iPad apps support this service. Literally almost any iOS app where you deal with content has support for Instapaper so it’s easy to capture articles and to store them into your Instapaper inbox.
What many people don’t know is that you can also use Instapaper to read emails. Each Instapaper user gets a unique email address and any content that gets emailed to that address will be stored in your Instapaper inbox. This is great for when you sign up for newsletters that share lots of valuable information so it doesn’t cloud your inbox. So if you want get a grip on email management I highly recommend for you to switch your newsletter subscriptions to your Instapaper email address.
You can find your Instapaper email address once you are logged in under the Extras page.
On the same page you’ll find a lot more extra cool features of Instapaper that you can use (many bookmarklets). Definitely play around with that as well.
While Instapaper works by using a simple bookmarklet, you can also use extensions for your favorite browser. Not everyone, especially yours truly, uses the bookmark bar in their browser. That’s when browser extensions come in handy. Here’s a list for the most popular browsers and our recommended extension:
Now while stacking interesting articles is a great it also requires you to keep everything as organized as possible. Fortunately, you can have folders within Instapaper so you can categorize your articles. This makes it easier to search for articles (the free account does not have a search feature – premium accounts do). Some of my folders include:
- Business – anything remotely related to wealth, business and marketing
- Productivity – all time management articles go in here
- Brain – I read a lot of neuroscience articles
- Self-help – speaks for itself
- Misc – the rest I can’t categorize
I like to keep my Instapaper inbox for articles I still have to read while I will file read articles in the appropriate folder.
That wraps up this article on using Instapaper. This is really just the tip of the iceberg because this awesome service has many nifty features but we will cover those in depth another time.
- Sign up for Instapaper
- Get the Instapaper app on your devices
- Start collecting and reading
Do you have any Instapaper tips to share? Please share them in the comments below.