I usually have about 90 articles in my Instapaper, and I’m OK with that. I get around to articles a month after everyone stopped talking about them. I look through my queue like it’s a ten-page diner menu, ignoring certain articles for weeks until I finally decide to read or delete.
It could be worse; once I had 500 unread articles. But if your reading list bums you out—if you wish you could declare bankruptcy on Pocket or Instapaper—then you should try the new competitor, Reading Queue.
Reading Queue is a read-later app that forces you to actually read articles, or archive them. Unlike most competitors, it won’t show you a list of the pages you have saved. It only shows you the first article in your queue. When you’re done with it, swipe, and you’ll see the next article. That’s it.
There’s a slight cheat: you can snooze an article and push it to the back of the queue. But you can only do this three times to any one article. At some point you have to let it go.
The point isn’t to read less, but more. Instead of wasting time picking which article to read, or getting so overwhelmed that you switch to Instagram, you’ll hopefully find your groove with Reading Queue.
It’s a familiar strategy to Lifehacker: when you stop pretending you’re going to read everything, you’re more likely to read what you actually like.
Some people know how to quit a book as soon as they stop liking it. But many of us feel some sort of completist pressure to stick with every book we start, even when reading for pleasure. We struggle through stuff we don't actually like, and so we're less likely to pick up the book and more likely to pick up our phone. We start reading less.
Lifehacker also encouraged Greg to add mass imports from Instapaper and Pocket. It would make sense, given Reading Queue’s origin story: “After declaring Pocket bankruptcy, then Safari Reading List bankruptcy, then having 100+ Safari tabs rotting open for months, I decided to build my own minimal read-it-later app, to discipline myself and my reading habits.”
But for now, you’ll have to export articles from your other app one by one. Of course, this is another chance to whittle down your queue, like getting rid of books when you move.
Greg is also looking into two optional features that he admits are “a bit radical”: an optional limit on your total saved content (measured by read time, not number of articles), and an expiration date for each article. And he currently plans to develop for iOS only.
Some enterprising Android developer will have to build their own, so Google fans can save themselves from digital hoarding too.