May Your Birds Never Be Angry (Or Why You Should Download Instapaper 4)

From Merlin Mann:

When you’re in line at the ATM or the professional sporting event, what do you do?

If you’re like a lot of people, you hit your mobile device like a pigeon on a goddamned pellet. Then, you decide what happens.

You can decide to throw birds at pigs. You can decide to check in on which strangers are pretending to like you today. You may even decide to see what you would look like if you were really fat.

Thing is, you could also decide to read. Just for a couple minutes. Maybe more. Maybe less. Who knows. It’s your decision.

When you spend enough time on the subway, you start to notice just how much time we decide to waste (and yes, I’m as guilty of this as the next guy) on mindless games like Angry Birds. We decide to look at these brief moments as something to be squandered rather than spent.

There is nothing, and I mean nothing, better for making the most of these little moments than Marco Arment’s Instapaper. In fact, if you own any iOS device of any kind and do not use this app, punch yourself in the face, then go to the App store and give the man his $5. If you are just digging into your new iPhone 4S, you can skip the face punching, but this is a one-time offer.

I’ve decided to read and decided to create more than I ever imagined since Instapaper came into my life. I’ve decided to geek out and go deeper into the topics I love. I’ve decided to read that thing that I wanted to read, but would have forgotten about again and again and again. I could go on forever about why you should download this app, but I think Merlin sums it up best:

If you’ve decided that you want to read, Marco’s app will really help you. He’s removed any phony barriers you’ve built about “not having time” or “not having it with you” or “not knowing where to put it.” There are no excuses, apart from the superficial animated ones you’ve constructed out of cartoon birds.

Bottom line: download Instapaper1, take five seconds to learn how to use it, change your life2.

  1. Or upgrade for free if you’ve already purchased it. []
  2. Note: This will take a little longer… []
  • http://pharmastrategyblog.com maverickny

    I’ve been using Instapaper to catch up on my reading on my iphone or ipad planes, trains, buses and subways for a while.  If I need to write notes, the PlainText or Elements apps are perfect for capturing quick thoughts.  Angry Birds lasted a week for me then I got bored and wondered if I could spend the time more productively.  The answer was a surprising yes.

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      It really is amazing what you can accomplish when you decide to spend that time differently. I’m a Simplenote guy myself, keep wondering when I’m going to have to break out of it, but so far, no problems! I still jump into the games every now and again, but am really trying to get myself to treat that time as sacred.

      • http://pharmastrategyblog.com maverickny

        I’ve been using Simplenote with nvALT for a few years too, but recently 36 notes got corrupted and returned {“error”: “Internal Server Error”} on them, which freaked me out a little.  I was able to restore a dozen of them, but still left with 24 notes that are unreadable.  The plain text editors seem much more reliable with Dropbox syncing.

        • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

          I know what you mean, I had my first “lost note” the other day and I know Dropbox is likely so much more secure, I just love the simplicity of the app… just may need to switch everything over to Dropbox rather than the Simplenote server.

          • http://pharmastrategyblog.com maverickny

            I synced mine via Dropbox and that may have been the problem

          • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

            Well, there goes that idea :)

          • http://pharmastrategyblog.com maverickny

            Good news it looks as though you can restore from Dropbox manually so that’s something to be aware of.

  • http://freetraffictip.com Tinu

    Love Instapaper and ReadItLater. I use IP for professionaal and RIL for personal. It’s important to me not to fill all of my time up with reading, socializing or even playing games. Planned silence is my most productive activity.

    • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

      I’m not much of a silence kind of guy, but I know what you mean. Actually, writing has become a little bit of that for me. A way to hack through the mess and work out my thoughts.

      • http://freetraffictip.com Tinu

        I highly recommend silence, esp to people who aren’t silence people. Not idle silence, just a time during the day when all the electronics are off and everyone is stfu. I’ll read, brainstorm with a pad and paper or just work out an answer in my head. Used to HATE silence. Like a deep, almost fear-based hatred, because being silent used to make my mind default to the problems in my life. But once I learned how to get past the noise… so worth it.

        • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

          My best secret here (and it will probably be a future post) is taking in ear headphones that are attached to nothing and keeping them in. Blocks out a lot of noise and helps me keep my ADHD in check.

          • http://freetraffictip.com Tinu

            That. is. AWESOME. Yes, new post because I want to share that. Or even better, guest post on that Zen Habits site.

          • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

            Something tells me Leo Babauta isn’t looking for a guest post from me :) Will either do it here or at Lifehack.org :)

          • http://freetraffictip.com Tinu

            I don’t know what that means. But I think anyone would be lucky to have it.

          • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

            Leo Babauta is the guy behind Zen Habits :)

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