I have thought about this issue for long time now and I have come to some conclusions:
- Read new stuff in fixed times every day, as Demian has said, for example 0.5 hour each day after lunch, or before going home (don't start with it in the morning in any case, the most important job should be done first)
- Use an RSS reader with most appropriate feeds to you. More than 50% of them should be worth for you, so you don't lose so much time by filtering not appropriate articles (The world news or sport is not good feed - there is a lot of articles per day, many of them without any value or information you can learn and use, and you can be very fast overloaded by them.)
- Don't have many RSS, don't be hurry about reading them, there is no MUST to read all; it is better to read one and gain something useful from it as reading a lot of stuff but in a hurry and without thinking
- Think about text in article you read. Ask yourself, "What do you want to learn from this article, what are you interested in, how can you use described methods/products in your projects?"
- Read the introduction, concepts and conclusion first, to make an overview about article
- Highlight the interested parts of articles, it improves readability, concentration - I use for example "Wired-Marker" plugin to Firefox
- Notice the author of article and find out, whether this author writes often articles you are interested in or not, and than you can use this experience by filtering your articles, you can follow the articles from your most popular authors
- Notice the "popularity" of article before reading it - how many people had read it, how many people share and encourage it or what mark (how many stars) gains this article (so use opinion of other people who already read that article)
- Articles are useful for staying in touch with news in your scope or for finding out methods, products, that you have not known yet, so now you can start to learn and use them in your job, projects
- If you know what you want to learn and improve, prefer to read the book about it - it is more complex source of information, the book was written mainly by some university professor or professional in a scope and it had to go across many corrections before it was printed and sold, so the information are logical structured and has worth information.
- Use how to read advice.
Firstly, you will spend more time by finding appropriate sources of articles, by finding out which authors has useful information for you, which feeds are good, who to follow and so on, but then, you will have your target group and you won't spend so much time by filtering.
Don't forget to track the usefulness of sources all the time - you would find, that one of your source has no more appropriate information for you (you read for example only every tenth article) or your popular author don't work in your scope of interest anymore and you are only spammed by his articles and so on.
Use Pareto efficiency, because maybe your nowadays system has these results:
- 20% of articles gives you 80% of information
- 80% of time spent by reading, gives you only 20% of information
Try to improve your efficiency by finding the most weak spots.
Don't worry about articles you haven't read. There is so much information in every scope nowadays, nobody can know them all. Read the most popular articles, read articles from your popular authors, ask your colleagues - and that's all. :)