5 tools for efficient toilet reading

5 tools for efficient toilet reading

I am married, with two boys under 9 who are on a permanent sugar high. I balance a career in trading, development and start up ventures and still cannot kick my Candy Crush addiction. So how can I fit in time to self educate?

I have two places where I can get time to myself.

  1. On the bike
  2. On the toilet

There are no other quiet sanctuaries in a married man’s routine. None. Everywhere else is constant, endless questions and demands. Jobs, chores, dinner, diaper changes …

Luckily I am not bitter about it. At all …

Reading on the bike is a tricky one. You need to master the one hand page flip and reading footnotes is a bitch with all the shaking. Throw in a good head-wind and it gets near impossible. Then there is the threat of impending death from oncoming traffic. Nothing ruins a good read than the front fender of a SUV.

So that only leaves the toilet.

The need for reading efficiency on the toilet

I can see the understanding nods of all the parents. If you are not a parent. Take notes, you’ll thank me later.

So how can we maximize our reading time while seeking refuge in that tiny sanctuary with the porcelain reading seat?

We don’t want to start our reading search on the dropping of pants. There is only so much time we can stay there before the fire department is re-enacting Lethal Weapon 2:

No, we need a refined list of curated reading material, ready for reading the instant the door latches.

5 tools for toilet reading efficiency

There is something nostalgic about the smell of real paper, the textile of the page as you turn, the sound of a stuck together page ripping. But when time is short, and odours are high, nostalgia must be abandoned.

Amazon Kindle

If you are book reader, get the Amazon Kindle. Period. I recommend the Kindle Paperwhite variety.

It is touch screen, can store a museum of books, has a back-light for dark toilet reading and can fit in the back pocket of the jeans for easy sneaking in and out.

It also doesn’t have the glare of a tablet making reading for hours a pleasant experience and as close to a book as you are going to get.


For the web article reader, your smartphone will do the trick. You might think a tablet is a better option here, but if you are sneaking off to the toilet for a quick catch up on your favorite sites, a phone is much more discreet. This is the preferred toiletry reader of 99/100 toilet readers.


Download: https://feedly.com/index.html

Now that you have your smartphone ready to go, you need to gather your reading into one place. You can’t waste precious toilet time on page loads and fat fingered Google searches. You need the content to come to you. This is where RSS feeds are a heaven send.

How very 1990’s of me.

RSS feeds have been around since 1999, which is around 150 computer years. Any site with articles has one (you can find mine here: http://adamjowett.com/feed/). An RSS feed is a re-structured text based version of content that can be drawn in from external programs automatically.

If a site you have added posts a new article, it feeds straight into your RSS reader ready for you to read in an instant. There are many RSS readers out there, but the program of choice for me is Feedly.

Feedly is a news aggregator application for various Web browsers and mobile devices running iOS and Android, also available as a cloud-based service. It compiles news feeds from a variety of online sources for the user to customize and share with others.

– http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feedly

A quick search in your the App store of your choice will show many others, but some recommendations for Android are FlipBoard, gReader and News+, or Circa, Pulse or Zite on the iPhone.

Chances are after not too long we don’t have time to read them all in one “sitting”. We need to cherry pick the best looking ones (power of the headline anyone?) to maximise the educational benefit.


Download: https://getpocket.com/

Pocket is a service that let’s you “pocket” articles to read later. For the time poor the service is invaluable, letting you pick out the best looking articles from your feed to read on the throne.

Pocket, previously known as Read It Later, is an application for managing a reading list of articles from the Internet. It is available for iOS and Android as well as multiple web browsers and commonly used computer operating systems.


Add in their handy browser extensions and mobile apps, and with a few clicks in your lunch break you have a playlist of articles ready to go.

Pocket syncs across your computer, mobile and tablet, so if you find a couple of minutes free it doesn’t matter where you are, that article you were meaning to read is always available.


Download: https://evernote.com/

After a good 30 minutes of toiletary reading, you are bound to find some gems of information. You can’t rely on remembering where you read it, as chances are as soon as you hit the fresh, post bathroom air, distractions take over.

This is where Evernote rules. Find an article you liked before the wipe? No worries if you have Evernote on your mobile. Simply “share” it with Evernote, and it will save the article to your Cabinet for reading again time and time again. Evernote is another one that syncs across all your devices meaning you will never lose that one tip you wish you had remembered.

Evernote can take notes in all kinds of formats, but considering the setting, voice and photo’s might be best avoided in this context.

Evernote is a suite of software and services, designed for notetaking and archiving. A “note” can be a piece of formatted text, a full webpage or webpage excerpt, a photograph, a voice memo, or a handwritten “ink” note. Notes can also have file attachments.


Michael Hyatt wrote a great article on how to organise your Evernote so be sure to add him to your feedly, pocket the article and evernote it so you can come back to it again.

The ultimate toilet reading system

Gather new articles with Feedly, Pocket the most interesting, save the gems to Evernote. Add a smartphone and a locked door, and you have the ultimate toilet reading experience.

Do you agree, or am I just talking shit?