On Managing My To-Read List
Today I decided to prune the items on my to-read list. It was getting unwieldy. I hoped to reduce the number of items in there every week. Instead, it kept on growing and growing and growing.
Prior to the purge that happened today, I had over 140 items in that list. I was like, “Enough is enough.” There's no way I could have read through all those links, plus read my books, while I kept adding more items every week or so. I needed a better way to manage the items going into my to-read list. I also needed a better way to determine if an item deserved to stay in my to-read list.
So today, I decided to come up with some criteria to determine when to add items to my to-read list, as well as when to remove items off my to-read list. The criteria are based off this excellent read from Nat Eliason — most of which I've already extracted and listed in here. These then are the questions I came up with, that would serve as filters for my to-read list going forward:
- Does this fall into a category I'm interested in?
- Does this answer a question that's already been answered?
- Does this answer a question I have right now?
- Is this going to help with something I'm working on now or in the near future?
- Does this help grow my philosophical knowledge or does it entertain me?
When I applied the questions listed above, to each item in my to-read list, I went from having 140+ items in there, to just 31 items. That's a good chunk of items that got filtered out.
Now to be clear, I didn't simply delete all the other items on the list. There were a lot that I wanted to keep, but based on my answers to the questions listed above, these were of low priority to me or barely passed those filters. So, those items I moved into a Reading List Backlog. In the unlikely event that I run out of items to read in my to-read list, I will start pulling items from my backlog.
Yeah, yeah, I know, it's another list to maintain. But hold on, this new list has a specific rule: The only items that can be added to it, are items that are already in my to-read list. That should keep it from turning into another unwieldy list in the future. Also, I can apply the same set of questions to each item in my backlog, to permanently delete links I will most likely never get to. And like I said above, it is unlikely that I'll ever run out of items in my to-read list. So I'm not too worried about this backlog taking up my time.
So, there you go. A set of questions that serves as a criteria for managing my to-read list. Just sharing this in case it might be of help to someone else. Thanks for reading and peace be with you all.