Internet is increasingly becoming a major time killer for many of us. Involuntarily,
we started to spend more time online than we really can afford. Here is how
it goes: you were sitting at work, you needed to find some crucial information
to finish that project at hand, you went on the Internet to look for the information,
you run a web search or started browsing through web directory, and suddenly
you noticed something that seems very interesting, it could be a banner ad,
a link, just a piece of information, or some related ideas that came up that
instant and required immediate attention. You clicked on the link to check it
out thinking this won’t take too long. This link took you to another seemingly
more interesting page. Before you knew it, you started to ramble through the
Internet aimlessly wasting your precious work time.
Then, of course, there is this sports news that you must read, stock portfolio
that you must check constantly, vacation place you need to choose for your
next holidays, the list goes on and on, and what about those emails? Sounds
familiar! You are not alone! Most of the Internet users are in the same boat.
If you feel trapped and frustrated with your handling of the time spent online,
you need to stand back, take a break, and look into the problem from a different
perspective. Actually, what you need is more than a break; you need a balanced
approach to your Internet activities. In order to understand where you online
time goes, the first thing you should do is log everything that you do on
the Internet for several days.
Log your online activities
If you scrupulously write down everything you do on the Internet for a day,
you will, truly, be amazed to see how much time you waste on unnecessary things
like reading spam, browsing through inconsequential websites, etc.
By thoroughly analyzing your online activities with the help of the logs
you make, you will be able to pinpoint and resolve the problems – online activities
that are unproductive and time wasters. The idea is to stay focused and do
the things that you ought to do and stay out of impulsive moves.
To do lists
Like your daily life, you should make a “To Do” list of the things you need
to do on the Internet. First, make a list of all the tasks that you have to
do online including routine activities like checking emails, etc. A generic
activity such as working with your emails should be broken down into small
tasks – answering to a specific email, making an online order for office supplies,
etc. Add every single job related to the Internet to this list. Once you created
the list, sort it according to the priority. This becomes your master list
of online tasks. Select the tasks you are planning to do in a day. Transfer
those tasks to a separate list.
Make sure this list is precise and not too long, so that you can finish most
of the tasks from the list - at least the ones with high priority – within
the chosen day. Armed with this list you will be able to tackle the problem
of productive use of your online time with confidence.
Many major portals have free personal information management programs that
you can be used to create daily schedules and to do lists.
Yahoo PIM: http://calendar.yahoo.com
MSN PIM: http://www.hotmail.com
If you rather use a desktop PIM, here is one that you can download from the
Internet for free: http://www.essentialpim.com
Organizing your computer files
As recently as last year, in order to keep your computer files accessible
you needed to properly categorize the folders, save the files in the right
folders, and up-to-date them regularly. Even with all these troubles, you
still used to have problems in finding files when you most needed them, wasting
precious work time. Thanks to the desktop search programs, finding a file
on your computer, certainly, became painlessly easy.
Although, you still should try to maintain computer files organized; you
no longer have to waste valuable time on finding them. All you have to do
is download one of the available desktop search utilities and let it index
A search tool can help you find any file on your computer, whether is an
email or a DOC file, just like an Internet search. You only need to know one
word, which you may encounter in that file in order to use the tool.
Google Desktop Search Tool:
Find information on your computer as fast as you do with the help of Google
MSN Desktop Search Tool:
MSN desktop search utility comes along with a toolbar that you can download
Yahoo Desktop Search Tool:
Still at beta stage, it’s a very comprehensive desktop search program.
Copernic Desktop Search Program:
This one came out long before the search engine heavyweights figured out the
need for getting your computer files at your fingertips and still one of the
Free download: http://www.copernic.com
Organizing links of important websites
While browsing through the Internet often, you come across sites that you
would like to visit again. All browsers have the options to add the page you
are viewing to a list of favorite links, commonly known as “Bookmark”. If
you want to bring substantial efficiency to your browsing skill, you should
create folders according to your interest and add links you intend to visit
again to those folders. On the Internet Explorer you create a bookmark using
the icon “Favorites”, and on Firefox “Bookmarks”. You should keep those folders
organized for easier access to required links.
Another good option is to use Amazon’s Meta Search Engine A9.com. Once you
install the A9.com tool bar, all your web browsing history gets saved. A9.com
uses this information to recommend you new sites, alert you to new search
results, and notifies you when the last time you visited a page. When you
make a query, A9.com searches through you own history, diary, and bookmarks.
A9.com has a neat feature called diary. It allows you to keep notes on any
web page you visit. You will see the notes, whenever you revisit that page.
It’s a very handy tool for avid Internet users.
Another great thing about A9.com is your bookmarks reside on A9 servers.
This allows you to access them from any computer you use.
A9.com search results are essentially supplied by Google.
You can download and install A9.com from the page: http://toolbar.a9.com/