The Siphon

The Siphon is my workflow for sifting through all the content on the web and converting it into usable ideas, concepts and notes. It is constantly in flux and only has a name because I think Siphon has a funny spelling.

There's loads of content on the web -- books, youtube, netflix, news, blog posts, etc. How do you find quality content? When you do, how do you decide and prioritize your consumption?


I use RSS feeds with Inoreader and Pocket. An RSS feed listens for changes in people's websites and adds any new posts to my incoming queue. Inoreader allows me to categorize and label my incoming feeds, as well as adding newsletters and videos as potential inputs to the funnel. Here is where I siphon off posts -- I start from the dashboard and read everything that might look immediately interesting. If I don't have time to finish, I'll save the link to Pocket.

Pocket is useful for reading articles from different areas. If I'm browsing somewhere outside of Inoreader, Pocket has a plethora of extensions to support adding from anywhere. Both Inoreader and Pocket have fairly good mobile apps. Inoreader supports browsing by category and reading articles as well as saving to Pocket (although I'd prefer their swipe options to be customizable).

It's fully possible that I want to label or customize the number of funnels I can place articles into (ex: enjoyable, short reads vs. research papers, etc), but at least not right now.


When I have a longer contiguous block of time, I'll read through the Pocket queue. It's important not to treat this as a chore; articles should be enjoyable or interesting, or it's not worth it and degrades the experience. Whenever there are interesting insights, we export comments and highlights to Google Keep. We also do this during the initial browsing session in Inoreader.


Now that we have this massive post-it board in Keep of ideas, look over them periodically (1-2 hours a week) to see what general ideas or concepts you tend toward. Periodically organize/label this and consolidate related notes.


Explain these in an Evergreen Note or simply a note that works for you. This webpage is my experiment to see if the notes I take are useful in Andy's second brain format. There are several tiers of notes (informational, general observation, synthesized thought, fully fleshed-out ideas), but for now I dump them all into here. This is my second brain.