The Mind Palace
This is an update to my earlier post on The Mind Garden as I’ve been spending a bunch of time on this over the last several months, and have had several folks reach out to see where I’ve landed.
While earlier I talked about Flow and mind gardens my more recent focus has been inspired from none other than Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s famous detective, Sherlock Holmes. The most recent BBC/Masterpiece series reinvented the character brilliantly, and leveraged a fascinating concept from Ancient Greece known as the mind palace.
The basic memory technique is described as:
you visualize a complex place in which you could physically store a set of memories. That place can be a building such as a house, but it can also be something like a road with multiple addresses.
Every room is home to a specific item you want to remember, and when you need to recall a memory, you can walk through the building in your mind, seeing and remembering each item.
Ever since Google abandoned Google Reader in 2013, I have been using Feedly as the backend service to handle my RSS feeds. You can think of Feedly as a site/storage that allows you to read all of your publications, blogs, and newsletters. That’s the wonderful thing when tech is designed to inter-operate, it can be used on the web, their mobile app, or a variety of other RSS (Really Simple Syndication) readers such as Reeder (which I use; more below). It was super easy to import my legacy “feeds” into Feedly and be on my way.
A note on subscription services — When Feedly offered a pro “lifetime” subscription for the first 5000 people; I was fortunate to grab one. When they introduced Pro+ with additional AI features (called Leo), they offered an upgrade for those users — I quickly grabbed that. Today they continue to offer subscription plans for both; and while it’s not as wonderful as lifetime, it’s worth the monthly cost to support them.
Feedly is my news feed backend — it allows me to stay in sync across the devices I use and have sources I follow organized. It has the usual integrations that you would expect with Pocket (which I’ve recently dumped), Twitter, Evernote (which I dumped years ago), etc.
In September, Feedly added the ability to receive newsletters. As my inbox was starting to overflow with them, this was a fantastic way to start receiving them in the same “reader” that I was using to consume the rest of my feeds. Suddenly my “reading content” was starting to centralize; which was an amazing boost to my productivity.
I created a folder in Feedly called (obviously) ‘newsletters’, and added feeds for any I could find (for ex, any Substack newsletter or medium site can be added by ending the URL with /feed) or used Feedly to create a created a unique email address for each newsletter I wanted to subscribe to.
My email was once again “freed” from random things to read.
Now that articles and newsletters are in a single place, I started to mess with what “other” information I could put in there. Feedly brilliantly allows you integrate with things like Twitter. You can add/follow Twitter accounts, hashtags, lists, and searches directly into your Feedly reading.
In fact, Feedly supports tons of various integrations where you can add:
Newsletters and Twitter — as mentioned above.
Keyword alerts — monitor a specific keyword on Goggle News, have the article show up in your reading list.
Research Journals — I haven’t dug too deep into this, but looks like you can use PubMed feeds as well as other research journals.
YouTube Channels — subscribe to Youtube channels and get lists when new videos are published.
I’ve begun to start adding in more content from various places while I’m trying to avoid information overload; that’s where Leo comes in…
Now that you have all this information in a single place, keeping up with the things you really care about can become a bit overwhelming. This is where the Leo AI comes in.
Feedly offers finite control over your feeds to help you prioritize topics, trends, and keywords of choice; deduplicate repetitive news; mute irrelevant information; summarize articles, etc.
For example, I have Leo agents built that examine all of the content I am subscribed to, and if it relates to the topic of “storytelling”, Leo makes it a priority in the things that I read.
This has been an absolute game changer for me.
There’s a ton of other functionality — read later, annotations, summaries, boards, newsletters in Feedly that I didn’t get into; but there’s a plethora of super fun things to try in here to optimize how you discover and consume content.
Reeder 5.0 is where I go to read and curate content. It’s both a news reader and read later client in one app, and supports iCloud syncing.
It’s pretty straightforward from here — I read/review all my Feedly content in app, and my reading/sync list is automatically shared between all of my devices.
If there’s content that I want to save in the digital mind palace, I save and tag it within Reeders iCloud Read Later service.
In the end this workflow has been working very well for me this year. I was able to get rid of several old tools, and have been spending more time reading and discovering new content through Feedly’s fantastic integrations.
I hear more is coming soon from Feedly on this front — the best part is that it’s all done with standards — so my front end reading workflow in Reeder won’t have to change.
Until next time….