April 3, 2013

Cool Product: Pocket (formerly Read It Later)

I should have titled this post,

'Confessions of a Professional Organizer and Former Hoarder'

Whoa! A Professional Organizer who is also a hoarder? Whaaaaat?

OK--I wasn't really a true hoarder in the physical sense--but it makes for a great title, doesn't it?

I didn't hoard animals or newspapers or magazines.

I hoarded tabs.


If you own a Mac and use Safari to browse the web, you're familiar with 'Tabs.' They enable you to open several web pages at once and you can easily switch back and forth between them.

The arrow is pointing to the 'Tabs' in Safari.
I am an information hound. As a small business owner and mom, I am always interested in reading articles that could help my business grow and my family flourish. The only thing I was missing was: TIME.

I had a five year old and a one year old and very little time to read, let alone process the information I was reading. So, if I didn't have time to read a long article, or I was thinking of ordering a product from a web page, or thought I might need certain information someday, I would leave the tab open in Safari. At times, I had 7-10 windows open with 8-10 tabs open in each. Turns out, my tab hoarding was not a very good system. Oh, and I never shut down my computer because that would mean I'd lose all my tabs. Can you tell where this story is heading?

I started getting unusual error messages on my computer. Then one day about a month before my Apple Care Protection Plan expired for my Mac, my computer said, "I've had it with all your open tabs!" and crashed.

I made an appointment at the Apple Store and when my Genius Dude heard my story, he told me that in all his years working at the Genius Bar, he had never heard of anyone keeping so many tabs open at once. I was overworking my computer and my tab hoarding tendencies had to change.

Adrian, my Genius Dude, brought my computer back from the dead. I was so grateful for his patience and expertise that I vowed to not return to my tab hoarding ways. I started bookmarking websites I wanted to refer to again. A few weeks later, the App Gods looked down upon me--sleep-deprived, time-starved, information overloaded me and arranged for a productivity app by the name of Pocket (formerly Read It Later) to be placed in an article I was moments away from reading.

I read the article. I checked out Pocket. I couldn't believe that an app could be such a perfect match for my needs.

What is Pocket and how could it be so life-changing?

According to its website, "Pocket (formerly Read It Later) was founded in 2007 by Nate Weiner to help people who discover an interesting article, video or web page, but don’t have time to view it. Once saved to Pocket, the list of content is visible on any device -- phone, tablet or computer. It can be viewed while waiting in line, on the couch or during commutes or travel -- even offline."

When I first read about Pocket, I thought, "Holy moly--this app was MADE for ME! I'm always discovering interesting items on the web but I rarely have time to view them."

I went to the Pocket website, installed the Pocket bookmarklet into my 'Bookmarks Bar' and immediately began putting articles in my 'pocket.' Now, when I come across an article I want to save and read at a later time, all I do is click on the bookmarklet.  A sign then appears at the top of the web page that says 'Pocket - Page Saved!.' I can read my saved articles on my iPhone as well as on my laptop. Happiness abounds.

 Some facts about Pocket:
- The list of articles you accumulate is called a 'queue.'
- You can view your queue in list form or as a grid with large visuals.
- When you select the article you want to read from your queue, it offers you a stripped-down version of it without ads/visuals as well as a link to the original web page.
- You can type a word in the 'Search' box to look for articles you've saved on a specific topic
- You can assign Pocket your email address and email a link to Pocket, too!

Best of all--it doesn't cost a dime!

How has Pocket changed my life?
- My computer has had no problems since it's major crash in April of 2012.
- I know that if I don't have time to read an article, it will be 'in my pocket' for future retrieval.
- I can retrieve that article/recipe/video over and over again.
- I store often-used recipes in Pocket. When cooking, I bring them up on my laptop which lives on my kitchen counter.
- Pocket is a repository for all the articles I may need in the future on how to grow my business. I know they will be there when I am ready for them.
-Pocket allows me to read, learn and grow on my own time.

Pocket currently has over 4.5 million registered users and is available for major devices and platforms including iPad, iPhone, Kindle Fire and Android.

Want to be the 4.6 millionth user? How would Pocket make your life easier?


Janet Barclay said...

I love Pocket too! Although it's easy enough to bookmark pages you want to read later, it's hard to remember to do that! Plus, I can bookmark an article from my laptop and read it later on my iPhone when I have some time to kill.

I even use it to keep my inbox clear, by quickly scanning incoming newsletters, clicking on articles that interest me, adding them to Pocket, and deleting the email.

Stacey Agin Murray, Professional Organizer said...

I never thought of using Pocket as a way to de-clutter my inbox. Thanks for the great idea, Janet! I have some NAPO newsletters I haven't read yet--I'm going to add them to Pocket today.