Internet Organizers–Helpful Tools: Frequented Sites Internet Tools
There are many tools that can be used to organize your online experience. This article focuses on a handful of free online resources, and tips for using pen and paper. Using strategies to better manage time online will lead to more productivity.
Which tools or mix of resources you choose to help organize your online experience depend on your specific browsing habits. For example, some internet activities include social networking, information gathering, banking, shopping, blogging, gaming, dating, and business building. Consider personal preference. Some may prefer notebook and pen,
The Challenges of Keeping Track
Membership sites encourage members to create unique passwords and usernames. Online merchants also often require consumers to create usernames and passwords. Remembering all of these can be a challenge. Paid membership sites add one more item to keep track of in your personal and business bookkeeping. Social networking sites are proliferating and invitations to connect with friends on other social networks can become overwhelming. Writers, teachers and other professionals may work on more than one computer and may inadvertently create multiple versions of the same document. Sometimes finding a blogger again whose writing resonated with you may become difficult.
The Challenges of Keeping On-Track
Have you ever spent time doing research only to find yourself way off track? You don’t remember how you arrived at a particular website, and your computer’s cache doesn’t seem to be very helpful at getting you back to where you started. At the end of the day you might think you are more like the little child in the Family Circus comic strip that wandered all over the house and yard before doing the small errand his parents asked.
(Later in this article you will find suggestions for using paper and pen as a strategy for some internet organizing tasks.) There are many free internet tools. Before purchasing software, search to see if you can find a free version. Here are just a few helpful internet organizers:
- Password Management: Consider Password Safe for keeping track of passwords. They have a free open source version for keeping track of all of your passwords with one master password.
- Writers and professionals might want to check out Dropbox. Install Dropbox on all of your computers. Upload documents directly into Dropbox on your desk top. The contents of Dropbox are updated online. You can access documents from any computer, or phone. Files are backed up on the Dropbox website so if all of your computers get a virus, you would not lose your files. You can share files with others using Dropbox. Dropbox is free up to a certain amount of storage.
- To keep track and help you gather information in an organized way, consider Springpadit. Springpadit is free. You can create a personal space to clip and add anything you find. You can organize content, and make it available to others on Springpadit. There are apps such as weekly meal planner and notebook apps. Notebook App is versatile and allows you to create tabs and pages to keep notes and links in. You can keep anything you want private or make certain things available to others on Springpadit.
- RSS feeds are a simple way to keep track of blogs and news sites you want to read on a regular basis. It’s a way to access all of your blogs and news in one place.
- A very special way of keeping all of your internet activity in one place is Netvibes. All of the organizing tools listed here can be combined on Netvibes. Create tabs for different categories of internet activity. For example, create a tab for all of your social networking, and tabs for categories that are unique to you. Social networking sites like Facebook or Twitter will keep you signed in on netvibes so you can see comments all on one page. Place a to-do list to check off. Create or find a widget for everything you do online. For example, Netvibes has a widget for Dropbox, many social networking sites, and RSS feeds. Create a tab for your online banking and shopping.
Paper and Pen Strategies
Some people might prefer to find paper and pen strategies for staying organized. Although it is a little more labor-intensive, keeping track of your online activities could make your online experience more productive. Here are some tips for paper and pen:
- Possible supplies: a timer, a special online notebook, pens of different colors, highlighters and/or colored pencils.
- Jot down your goals, ideas or questions you are searching for in one color.
- Use a second color to revise your question or totally change it.
- Jot down websites you may want to return to. Write only the beginning of the URL. Later, when you go back to the site, you can type in the beginning of the URL and your history should bring up the rest of the URL.
- Put stars, or highlight anything special.
- When you are going off on a tangent, use the timer. Give yourself a time limit.
- Draw a vertical line down each page in your notebook. On one side, keep track of where you go and which things to return to. On the other side, write new questions, new searches you want to pursue, and thoughts and ideas you get along the way.
- On the last page of your notebook or on the back of it, keep passwords and usernames. Keep your notebook in a safe place.
- If there are specific sites you visit regularly, create a list.
Putting it All Together
To get started with organizational changes, try using one new idea per day. Open a Netvibes account one day. Spend a few days organizing your tabs. Begin adding widgets; register for RSS feeds; Dropbox if needed; and other tools. Decide on an option for remembering usernames and passwords. Don’t forget you can also use paper, pen and timer to get started. If you find other useful tools, be sure to come back and share what you’ve found!