How I optimized my learning time with Instapaper

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Introduction

I am not a huge book reader, but I read a ton of different articles on the internet. They cover multiple topics like Power BI, SQL Server, DAX, Running, World news, High Tech review, Blogging, Self-improvement, and many other topics I want to cover at a specific moment. (Now, everything related to my house, design, …)

When I browse LinkedIn or Twitter, I find interesting articles, but sometimes I do not have time to read it. (Or maybe I am not in the mood to read them right now).

I also have a big trouble (and it seems that I am not the only one on earth). On a computer or a smartphone, my focus time is quite small. I like to switch between applications and topics, which decreases completely my learning curve. You know this little monkey in your head who tries to discourage you to finish something he thinks “too serious for him”.

On this topic, I kindly recommend you to watch this TED video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=arj7oStGLkU

I found a solution to solve that problem, and it is a technical solution which provides me much more fun.

This solution called “Instapaper” has also a killing feature!!! Let’s see together how it works and how it can help you.

Instapaper?

First of all.

Instapaper is an application available on smartphones (IOS, Android), PC, and your internet browser.

Follow this link to access Instapaper: https://www.instapaper.com/

What can you expect with Instapaper?

Instapaper provides a clear and simple interface to collect, store and read all the web pages you like.

My workflow

On a smartphone: When I see an interesting article, I send it to my Instapaper application. This article will be synchronized across the Instapaper servers and all my different machines.

On PC: When I have a question, I go to my favorite search engine and pick up 5 or more articles and send them to Instapaper.

Later (or not), I open it on Instapaper and start to read. It’s often on my smartphone when I have time. (In the public transport, sofa, waiting time, …)

5 features I like:

  1. Reader mode: Instapaper provide a better interface for you to read the article. Better format, font size, … A dark mode is also available, which is super cool!
  2. Highlight: I don’t use it after all, but I feel more concentrated when I Highlight important text and be happy to know that I can found it back if needed.
  3. Offline mode: Ok, now we always have an internet connection. We don’t also have a roaming fee in the EU. But it’s cool to be able to read your articles and disable your internet connection and be more focused. (Hey Instapaper dev team, if you read this post: A Pomodoro timer inside Instapaper could be a huge improvement!)
  4. Archive: I can archive the articles I liked (or I read) and find it back later. No more sorry when at the coffee corner we said. “I read an interesting article, I would like to share with you, but I don’t find it back”.
  5. Export a list of your links in an HTML format (easy to share with you colleagues or friends)

And I forgot to mention: THE KILLING FEATURE!! (At least for me)

Which is for me the best thing ever and the reason why I switch to the “Pro” / “Pay” version.

A nice Kindle integration!!

Instapaper allows me to send my unread articles to my Kindle. The configuration is pretty easy, and the result is very nice!

I receive the file through my kindle email address and can read all the internet articles with the beautiful E Ink screen.

On my kindle, all the articles are grouped in “one book” and each article is separated by chapter, which allows me to switch easily between articles. All Kindle features are available, you can highlight the text you want to save, search for a translation, or a Wikipedia explanation.

Reading with a kindle, I think there is no better choice to keep the focus on this task and it gives a different atmosphere to web articles.

I wanted to share with you because I simply think it’s super nice!!!

(BTW I’m not paid to promote their tool or the Amazon Kindle 🙂 )

If you like diversity you can also use:

Pocket: https://getpocket.com/

Microsoft Edge Browser with the reading list.

In the last 6 years, I used Pocket but I quit when I saw the kindle feature on Instapaper.

Please comment if it changes your life too (or not), or if you have more tips to add!

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Arnaud GASTELBLUM

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