I’ve previously described my writing workflow — and what I wrote then is still applicable today. Pandoc rules. But what about my reading workflow? Well, I’ve written about that too, but things have changed a bit since the last time I did so. So here’s the approach that I’ve been using for quite some time now:

1) I have a pretty large RSS feed — about 300 sites I subscribe to — and my preferred service is Newsblur. My preferred RSS client, on the Mac and iOS, is Reeder. So a few times a day I check Reeder to read the news and see whether anything of more long-term interest has turned up.

2) If a post or article looks like it would be worth my time to read, I send it to Instapaper. Articles and posts might sit in Instapaper for several days before I’m able to set aside time to read them. When I do, I use Instapaper’s highlighting feature to mark important passages.

3) Enter IFTTT. I use an IFTTT recipe to copy all my highlighted passages from Instapaper to Pinboard.

4) Pinboard is the home for everything I read online: its tagging and excerpting features allow me to organize all my reading, browse related items by tag, and search for what I can’t immediately find. Pinboard is really my outboard brain — the other elements of this workflow are just ways to get stuff into Pinboard. (I also use a different IFTTT recipe, along with Dropbox, to copy all my Pinboard bookmarks and excerpts to a text file on my computer. So even if Pinboard were to disappear I’d still have all that data, though in less usable form.)

This may look complicated, but it really isn’t: it’s just a three-stage filtering process, with IFTTT doing the handoffs. I scan Reeder to find out whether there’s anything worth reading; in Instapaper I read it; in Pinboard I store whatever looks like it might have lasting value. If you wanted, you could bypass Instapaper and just read things in your browser (or in Reeder), using the Pinboard bookmarklet to save items. I use Instapaper because I like reading in an ad-free, distraction-free, horrible-web-design-free environment.

Anyway, that’s what I do. I hope this description is helpful to someone.