Managing My Pocket Queue

Starting in 2015, I made a goal to actively read more. I approached this in two directions: traditional books1 and trekking through my Pocket queue. For those who aren’t familiar with Pocket, it’s an app that allows you to save online articles and videos for later consumption (even offline). Moreover, it has an amazing interface which makes reading web content feel comparable to an eBook.

One issue I have always faced with Pocket is the fact that deferring content to read later2 often meant that I never got to it or read it much later, when no longer relevant. In the past few weeks, I have been able to take my Pocket queue from well over 400 items to 100. Here are some techniques that might help in your quest to ‘Pocket Zero’!

Aim for a Decreasing Number of Items Each Day

In any given day, I try to read more items than I save. A simple rule for accomplishing this is “for every item you save to the queue, read two.”

Use Badge Counts

Badge counts help me keep track of my queue totals (and the above technique). However, I always have to remind myself that this number shouldn’t be discouraging. It’s just a mile marker. For each decrement, I’m one item closer to my goal.

Sort by Oldest First to Trim Irrelevant Items

Every so often, I’ll reverse the sort order of my queue to trim older or irrelevant items. No longer interested in the topic? Archive. Out of date? Archive. Broken URL? Archive.

Watch Video Content on Commutes and Workouts

Unfortunately, I get motion sick when reading in moving vehicles. So, I’ve often resorted to watching videos during commutes3. Another great time I’ve found for knocking out video content is during my cardio workouts (on stationary machines). It helps the time pass so quickly!

Use the ‘Quick Reads’ Feature in the App

When the day is coming to an end and I haven’t gotten any reading in, this feature is a lifesaver. As the name implies, it’s a collection of the shortest items in your queue. Any progress is better than no progress.

Reflect on What You Have Read for the Day

Before going to bed each night, I’ve started to look back at my most recently archived items. Reviewing items helps with spaced repetition of their core ideas and better persists them into memory. Moreover, this fits snugly next to my habit of journaling.

You Don’t Have to Read Everything in Your Queue. Life Goes On!

At the end of the day, a Pocket queue is exactly that, a queue! It’ll be there whenever you have an idle moment or an itch to read. Don’t put life on pause just to clear Pocket, it’s there for you to read later :)

Hope these techniques help you get the most out of Pocket! Have any that you use personally? I’d love to hear about them!


1: My current preference for reading is with iBooks. This allows me to seamlessly transition across all of my devices (including bookmarks, notes, and hightlighting). I have given the Kindle app a try, but I preferred the visual aesthetics of iBooks over it.

2: Subtle pun since Pocket used to be called Read It Later

3: Not driving of course!