An algorithm/flowchart for prioritizing which content to read


The following is an algorithm/flow-chart I use for literature research/reading EA content/…

It is not based on any evidence, but it helps me prioritize a lot.


You feel overwhelmed, because there is just too much content that makes you think “I should read this, it might be really important at some time.”?

You just wanted to quickly research this one question, but then you clicked on a few links and now it’s two hours and four articles later and you still have 11 open tabs?

You haven’t checked the EA forum for two weeks, and now there is so much new content but you only have one hour to read?


I regularly had these kinds of problems, but it got much better since I started following a structured reading algorithm. You can find the flowchart here.

If you want to try using the flowchart, I recommend printing out a copy and putting it next to your screen, until you made the process into a habit. If you want to totally nerd out, you can track your reading habits by noting down how often you end up in which path.



Comments (5)

Comment author: Denkenberger 14 November 2017 10:44:21PM 2 points [-]

Thanks! I would also add that I find it useful to delay reading that is not too difficult to times when I would be less productive, like when I am tired.

Comment author: SebastianSchmidt 13 November 2017 11:19:59AM 2 points [-]

Thank you for sharing! It seems pragmatic and I find it likely that it'll make my reading more focused and productive - I'll definitely try it out.

Comment author: SoerenMind  (EA Profile) 20 November 2017 07:50:32PM 1 point [-]

Another thing I found useful: When you have a few open tabs, order them from left to right in terms of how important (and urgent) to read you think they are. Every time you open a new one, put it in the right place. Often you won't even get to the less important ones anymore.

Comment author: vollmer  (EA Profile) 13 November 2017 09:38:31PM 0 points [-]

Thanks for sharing!

Do you have recommendations for tools to manage reading lists? Especially doing the things that you describe in your flowchart (list types/categories/tags, dragging items around and reordering them, etc.). Mobile apps would be a plus. I've experimented with several tools (e.g. Pocket / Instapaper) but will probably stick with Google Docs / Evernote.

Comment author: JanBrauner 14 November 2017 04:34:25PM 1 point [-]

Sorry, I use plain old google docs as well :|