Who knew that reading on the Web could be so clean? Photo by flickr user cote and licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Yikes. I really missed the boat on this one. There’s this awesomely (and awesomely simple) Web app out there named Instapaper. You’ve probably known about it for the last few years. It must be my old age or something, but I just got on the Instapaper bandwagon. Maybe it has something to do with my recent acquisition of an iPad (I caved!).

Instapaper is a central bookmarking repository for things you would like to read. Don’t have time to read that awesome article a friend just posted on Twitter? Instapaper it. You can read any bookmarked page at a later date on your iPhone, Kindle, iPad or just on Instapaper’s site. It also will translate articles into essentially plain text, so you don’t have to be encumbered by sites ill-formatted for mobile devices.

Let me go through how I’m using Instapaper for myself and how it could change your life.

Digressing from GTD

My personal organization system is a relaxed form of Getting Things Done (Read Chris Lesinski’s GTD for Students on Lifehacker). Remember the Milk is my inbox system. It works like a charm and I keep up a pretty good rate of productivity. But just like any system out there, GTD is not good at everything.

It feels weird having a rigid system in place for doing things on your free time. On Saturday mornings—after my 3 cups of coffee to recover from the previous night—Remember the Milk is not the site I want to visit. I would like to read a few articles that I’ve bookmarked throughout the week, though. Enter Instapaper. It allows me to keep my pleasure and business readings separate. When I’ve got a free moment, I open up Instapaper and start cruising through my to-read list. Awesome.

Staying Up to Date

While many productivity gurus—especially guys like Tim Ferriss (4-Hour Workweek)—advocate avoiding reading news, I feel that that’s a little irresponsible. True, my life will not be directly affected by 99% percent of what I read in the Times every morning. The parallels that I can draw in class discussions to contemporary events earn me great grades, though. In one of my classes, we are doing an ethical analysis of the whole Google-China debacle. I would not have even known to choose this topic if I had not been staying up to date with the news. This topic kicks the crap out of the other ideas in the class.

Instapaper is an easy an effortless way to organize and recall your readings for your free time.

Are you an Instapaper user? How do you use it? Let us know in the comments!