Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

7 March 2018

3 Ways To Close Those Open Browser Tabs

So you have nine million browser tabs open on your computer. Some of them are for projects you’re in the middle of, other tabs are for articles you want to read, or information you need to grab to use later. I would bet some of your open tabs are active tabs – email, calendar, CRM – all of which are great to have open so you can easily check them. But is open tab practice really the best way to manage your information? What happens if your computer suddenly restarts? Windows users, you know what I am talking about! Or what if you accidentally close your browser? I’ve done that more often than I’d like and I bet you have too.

 

But how do you take care of all these open tabs? The first step is to figure out what you are using the open tabs for. Is this your version of a to-do list? A visual reminder of what you want to work on? Are you unsure where to put the information so you can reference it later? Do you just not have time to read those articles you’ve opened? There are better options for all of these issues!

 

Open browser tabs are not the way to manage a to-do list or to maintain a visual reminder of projects. If you don’t already have a to-do list app, I would encourage you to start using one. Yes, paper is an option, but if you are going digital I would look into Trello or ToDoist. Both of these have web extensions. This means that when you are on a webpage that you’re using to remind you of a pending task, you can click the extension or button and have that webpage information sent directly to your to-do list.

 

No time to read the article or blog post you’ve found? Try Pocket or Evernote. Pocket is an online app that was specifically designed to capture information to be read later. You can even use Pocket when you are off line – perfect for catching up on those long flights or road trips! Both Pocket and Evernote have browser extensions that allow you to capture either the webpage you are viewing or just the article without the distractions.

 

Another option for managing your online information is to use the bookmarks option on your browser to capture the webpage you are interested in so you can go back and view it later. But just like with Evernote and Pocket, you run the risk of just cluttering up another area/app.  Regardless of how you choose to manage your open tabs, keep in mind that sometimes it is easier to take 2 minutes to read an article now rather than putting it aside and revisiting it later.

 

So how does an organizer manage her open tabs? I usually just have my standard working tabs open – calendar, CRM, and email. When I find something on the web that I want to read later I use Evernote to ‘clip’ the information off the web. If I am reviewing a lot of information about a project I will save the pages to my bookmarks, but once the project is over I go through and either delete the links I don’t want or save the information to Evernote. There are a handful of web pages I keep in my bookmarks since I reference them frequently. Other than that, most of what is in my bookmarks is stuff I haven’t dealt with yet. Every week or two I will go into my bookmarks and clean them out, doing the same thing in Evernote.

 

There’s nothing wrong with having open tabs in your browser. It does become a problem when you can’t keep track of what you’re dealing with when, and instead of being helpful, the open tabs become distractions and delayed decisions. The first step? Figure out why those tabs are open, then you can start implementing a fix.

 

**Need help organizing your online information? Just let me know and we’ll get together!

April Merritt, owner of Ilios Digital Organizing, uses her education in Information Science and her passion for problem solving to help entrepreneurs increase their productivity and revenue. Her focus is on the right tech for the right task, finding what works for you so you can save time, make money, and grow your business.

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Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

16 May 2019

The ART of Email Management – Action Items

If you’ve been hanging out with me for any amount of time you’ve probably heard me talk about the A.R.T of Email management. It’s my key to putting out inbox fires. Kind of like stop, drop, and roll is for regular fires! 

The A.R.T. theory can be explained as such: all email is either an Action item, a Reference item, or a Trash item. When you open up your inbox and its full of messages, take a quick moment to decide – what type of message is this? The answer will tell you what to do with it. 

Let’s start with Action Emails. These are the most important emails you receive because they’re the ones that require you to follow up. You have to do something because of that email. Maybe it’s read and respond, maybe it’s forward to someone else, or maybe you have to research a question. Either way, the next step is on you. 

So move those Action emails over to a Take Action folder where you know there are, and where they can’t get lost among the other emails you receive. But don’t forget about them! Out of sight requires you to check the folder regularly to make sure the follow up is not forgotten. You could also send the emails to your task list so they’re front and center.

Next time? Reference emails!

Need one on one help with your email? Ilios Digital Organizing can help!

Prefer video? Check out this info on Facebook!

9 May 2019

Are you ready to find your joy?

I was challenged to ‘find my joy’ the other day. I’ve been struggling with separating my self-worth from my work, trying to find reasons to get excited that weren’t tied to what I do for a living.

My marketing coach asked me what makes me happy, what brings me joy, and for a moment I was stumped. Organizing, obviously. Cats, of course. My family, sure. But what else? When I kept hemming and hawing, she challenged me to come up with 50 things that bring me joy.

So far I’m up to 18.

Work-life balance. Maybe not as great as I want it to be. 

But I’m working on it. 

It’s hard, though, to separate myself from my work. Organizing isn’t just what I do for a living, it’s what I do for fun in my personal time. So I’m having to find other things that also make me happy. And I’m trying to make sure I set aside time every day to do something – other than organizing – that brings me joy.

How about you? Are you taking time for yourself every day? Time to do something that brings you joy? Would getting more organized help you reclaim that time you need to pursue what makes you happy? If the answer is yes, schedule your Discovery Call today to get started.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go pet my cats and stream more Bosch Season 3.

18 April 2019

The Embarrassment of Too Many Photos

Way back in the day, we used to keep photos of our loved ones in our purse. When the time was right (or just when we wanted to brag), we’d pull out the little plastic holder and show off our family. Today we have cell phones with hundreds of photos. Photos of our loved ones, our breakfast, that funny looking cloud we saw last week above the water tower. Photos and photos and photos. 

Now when we want to brag about our loved ones we have to scroll and scroll, and scroll some more, to find that one picture you’re talking about. Meanwhile the other person is waiting, usually with that ‘any day now’ fake smile, for you to locate the photo of little Jimmy with the cat on his head.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had those photos organized so you could show off the photo you wanted, right when you wanted to? Imagine the time you would save, time you could spend reconnecting with your friend instead of scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.

I can make that happen!

When you’re done making excuses for why you can’t find the photo you want, and ready to access your photos ‘on demand’, let me know and we’ll talk about how.

11 April 2019

What are your reasons?

We’ve all been there. Even those of us who are usually organized get to the point where we stare at our jumbled files and computers and think, I need to do something about this.

But the question is why? Why do I need to do something about this?

In order to be more productive with our business, we get organized.
In order to find more time in our day, we get organized. 
In order to lower our stress levels, we get organized. 

And that’s what Ilios means. Ili is a Swahili word that means ‘ in order to’. Os stands for organizing solutions. Together they create Ilios – a company focused on getting you organized so you can have more time, less stress, and greater productivity.

What about you?

Why do you want to get organized? 

Let’s get together and talk about your ‘in order to’.

4 April 2019

App Review – Canva

Purpose: Canva offers individuals a way to design graphics and publish them. Designs range from Instagram post graphics to magazine covers, to desktop wallpaper and more.

Benefits: Canva provides a wide variety of designs you can build on or use as a jumping off point for your own creation. Even the free version has a lot of options to work with. The site also is a great source of design knowledge for beginners.

Cost: There is a free version; Canva for Work is $12.95/mo

Opinion: I’m not great at graphic design, and Canva lets me produce more professional looking graphics and images that I can then use for social media and other marketing material. I’ve used Canva for creating tip sheets, Instagram posts, and a lot of desktop wallpaper : ) So far, I have stuck with the free version, but there are benefits to the paid version, specifically the option to resize one graphic to meet other guidelines – taking an Instagram post and resizing it/optimizing it for Facebook. 

Ready to explore ways to increase your productivity?

28 March 2019

App Review – Dropbox

Dropbox logo

Purpose: Dropbox brings your files together, in one central place, syncing them across devices so you can access them anytime, anywhere. They also provide file sharing.

Benefits: Having a remote file management system like Dropbox is like having your own personal server – you can access your documents regardless of what device you are on. This is great for anyone using multiple devices or anyone who needs access to their documents outside the office. 

Cost: $0, $10, $20/mo

Opinion: Dropbox is great as a file sharing platform. Although they do offer some sharing, they don’t allow document collaboration in the same way Google Drive does. This is okay because it allows Dropbox to be pure file management and sharing.

I use Dropbox as a personal server, and its an immense boost to my productivity to be able to access my documents regardless of which computer or digital device I am on. I prefer Dropbox over Google Drive if you are just using it to store/manage files, although Google Drive does have the collaboration advantage. 

Interested in learning more about how Dropbox can work for you? Contact me!

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

16 May 2019

The ART of Email Management – Action Items

If you’ve been hanging out with me for any amount of time you’ve probably heard me talk about the A.R.T of Email management. It’s my key to putting out inbox fires. Kind of like stop, drop, and roll is for regular fires! 

The A.R.T. theory can be explained as such: all email is either an Action item, a Reference item, or a Trash item. When you open up your inbox and its full of messages, take a quick moment to decide – what type of message is this? The answer will tell you what to do with it. 

Let’s start with Action Emails. These are the most important emails you receive because they’re the ones that require you to follow up. You have to do something because of that email. Maybe it’s read and respond, maybe it’s forward to someone else, or maybe you have to research a question. Either way, the next step is on you. 

So move those Action emails over to a Take Action folder where you know there are, and where they can’t get lost among the other emails you receive. But don’t forget about them! Out of sight requires you to check the folder regularly to make sure the follow up is not forgotten. You could also send the emails to your task list so they’re front and center.

Next time? Reference emails!

Need one on one help with your email? Ilios Digital Organizing can help!

Prefer video? Check out this info on Facebook!

9 May 2019

Are you ready to find your joy?

I was challenged to ‘find my joy’ the other day. I’ve been struggling with separating my self-worth from my work, trying to find reasons to get excited that weren’t tied to what I do for a living.

My marketing coach asked me what makes me happy, what brings me joy, and for a moment I was stumped. Organizing, obviously. Cats, of course. My family, sure. But what else? When I kept hemming and hawing, she challenged me to come up with 50 things that bring me joy.

So far I’m up to 18.

Work-life balance. Maybe not as great as I want it to be. 

But I’m working on it. 

It’s hard, though, to separate myself from my work. Organizing isn’t just what I do for a living, it’s what I do for fun in my personal time. So I’m having to find other things that also make me happy. And I’m trying to make sure I set aside time every day to do something – other than organizing – that brings me joy.

How about you? Are you taking time for yourself every day? Time to do something that brings you joy? Would getting more organized help you reclaim that time you need to pursue what makes you happy? If the answer is yes, schedule your Discovery Call today to get started.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go pet my cats and stream more Bosch Season 3.

18 April 2019

The Embarrassment of Too Many Photos

Way back in the day, we used to keep photos of our loved ones in our purse. When the time was right (or just when we wanted to brag), we’d pull out the little plastic holder and show off our family. Today we have cell phones with hundreds of photos. Photos of our loved ones, our breakfast, that funny looking cloud we saw last week above the water tower. Photos and photos and photos. 

Now when we want to brag about our loved ones we have to scroll and scroll, and scroll some more, to find that one picture you’re talking about. Meanwhile the other person is waiting, usually with that ‘any day now’ fake smile, for you to locate the photo of little Jimmy with the cat on his head.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had those photos organized so you could show off the photo you wanted, right when you wanted to? Imagine the time you would save, time you could spend reconnecting with your friend instead of scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.

I can make that happen!

When you’re done making excuses for why you can’t find the photo you want, and ready to access your photos ‘on demand’, let me know and we’ll talk about how.

11 April 2019

What are your reasons?

We’ve all been there. Even those of us who are usually organized get to the point where we stare at our jumbled files and computers and think, I need to do something about this.

But the question is why? Why do I need to do something about this?

In order to be more productive with our business, we get organized.
In order to find more time in our day, we get organized. 
In order to lower our stress levels, we get organized. 

And that’s what Ilios means. Ili is a Swahili word that means ‘ in order to’. Os stands for organizing solutions. Together they create Ilios – a company focused on getting you organized so you can have more time, less stress, and greater productivity.

What about you?

Why do you want to get organized? 

Let’s get together and talk about your ‘in order to’.

4 April 2019

App Review – Canva

Purpose: Canva offers individuals a way to design graphics and publish them. Designs range from Instagram post graphics to magazine covers, to desktop wallpaper and more.

Benefits: Canva provides a wide variety of designs you can build on or use as a jumping off point for your own creation. Even the free version has a lot of options to work with. The site also is a great source of design knowledge for beginners.

Cost: There is a free version; Canva for Work is $12.95/mo

Opinion: I’m not great at graphic design, and Canva lets me produce more professional looking graphics and images that I can then use for social media and other marketing material. I’ve used Canva for creating tip sheets, Instagram posts, and a lot of desktop wallpaper : ) So far, I have stuck with the free version, but there are benefits to the paid version, specifically the option to resize one graphic to meet other guidelines – taking an Instagram post and resizing it/optimizing it for Facebook. 

Ready to explore ways to increase your productivity?

28 March 2019

App Review – Dropbox

Dropbox logo

Purpose: Dropbox brings your files together, in one central place, syncing them across devices so you can access them anytime, anywhere. They also provide file sharing.

Benefits: Having a remote file management system like Dropbox is like having your own personal server – you can access your documents regardless of what device you are on. This is great for anyone using multiple devices or anyone who needs access to their documents outside the office. 

Cost: $0, $10, $20/mo

Opinion: Dropbox is great as a file sharing platform. Although they do offer some sharing, they don’t allow document collaboration in the same way Google Drive does. This is okay because it allows Dropbox to be pure file management and sharing.

I use Dropbox as a personal server, and its an immense boost to my productivity to be able to access my documents regardless of which computer or digital device I am on. I prefer Dropbox over Google Drive if you are just using it to store/manage files, although Google Drive does have the collaboration advantage. 

Interested in learning more about how Dropbox can work for you? Contact me!