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

6 July 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World -pt. 3 Staying Organized

Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to get your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out! Missed the first week? Check it out!)

Now that you’ve gotten organized, the hard part starts – staying organized!

Remember, S is for Space, P is for Purge, A is for Assign a Home, C is for Containerize and E is for…

E is for EQUALIZE  This means a few things:

1) Put your stuff away! Spend 15 minutes a day to maintain your new system. Before you shut your computer down, make sure your desktop is clear, your downloads folder is empty and your documents are closed

2)  Periodically re-evaluate your system to see how it is working for you. Tweak as necessary. In the digital world this means stay on top of your information! When saving a document don’t take the shortcut and save it ‘wherever’. Instead, take a moment to find the right folder. Know that you may need to change how you organize if something isn’t working for you. Maybe an app has updated and now doesn’t do that one thing you needed it to do. Now might be the time to find a new app for that task.

Organizing isn’t a one time task, it’s an ongoing process. Keep the SPACE guidelines in mind as you work on the organization in your digital world. Need help getting started, or help keeping it organized? Contact me and we’ll make it work!

25 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – pt. 2 Getting Organized

Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to start getting your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out!)
Now, it’s time to talk about actually getting organized! Remember, S is for Sort, and P is for Purge, A is for…

A is for  ASSIGN A HOME  Decide where the items you KEEP will “live”. Remember to make it logical, accessible and safe. This is when we talk about the right app for the right task. You want your client tracking to live in a CRM not necessarily in a task management app. Contacts are best in a content management app, not in an Excel spreadsheet or on scattered pieces of paper.

 

C is for CONTAINERIZE  The art of containerizing is to do it last, not first.  When space organizing, this means you don’t want to buy any new containers until you see what you have left after sorting and purging. In the digital world this means folders, folders, and more folders! It’s easy to get carried away when you start organizing and make folders for everything you can imagine. Instead, make a few sorting folders, see what all you have, then make sub folders as needed. The same thing applies to using a tagging system in a program like Evernote. Rather than trying to imagine all the different tags you will need, sort your notes and see what you actually could use.

 

So you’ve gotten started organizing, gotten organized, and next week we’ll finish up with how to stay organized. If you’ve got questions about taking the next steps with your organizing, just let me know!
13 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – Getting Started

How do I get organized? What do I do first? How do I decide what to get rid of?

 

Those are common questions, especially because so often it’s hard to know where to start. The SPACE model of organizing was made popular by Julie Morgenstern in the book Organizing from the Inside Out. She used this model to provide guidance and direction for individuals wanting to get their home or workspace organized. Although originally designed to deal with physical space organizing, the same principles she spoke about can be applied to a digital world with just a little tweaking.

 

 The S.P.A.C.E organizing model starts with S…
Continue Reading
21 May 2018

Tech to Go

What’s in Your Bag?

We carry all sorts of things in our purses. Gum, chapstick, wallet, Matchbox cars, old receipts, Tylenol, you get the picture. Your phone is another essential item, but do you keep any other tech gadgets in your bag?  Any items you consider a ‘must have’? As a tech type of girl, I tend to carry a few essentials with me that the average person might not consider, especially in my work bag or when I’m using my computer. So what do I consider essential? Let’s start small.
Continue Reading
4 May 2018

Creating a minimalist workspace

 

In a recent post on Unclutterer Leo Babauta of Zen Habits  has some great advice for minimalism for those of us with a stationary office.  But what about those of us with a mobile office? Or those who regularly use a co-working space to conduct business? You can still apply these principles, with just a little tweaking.
So how do you maintain a minimalist workspace?
Continue Reading
9 April 2018

Keeping your contacts safe

Everyone knows I’m all about backing up your data. But have you backed up your contacts lately?
Your contact list is a highly valued item for an entrepreneur. The first step to being organized is to make sure that all of your contacts are in one place – or attached to one ‘account’. This step includes making sure that contacts, especially new contacts, aren’t being saved to your phone but rather that cloud based account.

 

Once you are organized, you can back up your contacts. If you are using Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook.com,  or Apple Contacts, there should be a menu option that says ‘export’ or ‘export contacts’. Choose to export them in a CSV file.

 

Now that you’ve got the CSV file exported to a safe place (the cloud or as part of your online backup), it’s time to rename it. Most files come as contacts.csv which means nothing when you’re looking for a specific backup. Instead, rename the file with the date and ‘Contacts Backup’. Finally, make sure the file is included in your online backup. Depending on how often you add contacts to your list, backing them up doesn’t need to be more than a quarterly or twice a year task.

 

Having a CSV file of your contacts can come in handy when it’s time to import contacts to a new CRM, mailing service, or other software!

 

Need help organizing or backing up your contacts? Call me and we’ll do it together!

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

6 July 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World -pt. 3 Staying Organized

Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to get your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out! Missed the first week? Check it out!)

Now that you’ve gotten organized, the hard part starts – staying organized!

Remember, S is for Space, P is for Purge, A is for Assign a Home, C is for Containerize and E is for…

E is for EQUALIZE  This means a few things:

1) Put your stuff away! Spend 15 minutes a day to maintain your new system. Before you shut your computer down, make sure your desktop is clear, your downloads folder is empty and your documents are closed

2)  Periodically re-evaluate your system to see how it is working for you. Tweak as necessary. In the digital world this means stay on top of your information! When saving a document don’t take the shortcut and save it ‘wherever’. Instead, take a moment to find the right folder. Know that you may need to change how you organize if something isn’t working for you. Maybe an app has updated and now doesn’t do that one thing you needed it to do. Now might be the time to find a new app for that task.

Organizing isn’t a one time task, it’s an ongoing process. Keep the SPACE guidelines in mind as you work on the organization in your digital world. Need help getting started, or help keeping it organized? Contact me and we’ll make it work!

25 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – pt. 2 Getting Organized

Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to start getting your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out!)
Now, it’s time to talk about actually getting organized! Remember, S is for Sort, and P is for Purge, A is for…

A is for  ASSIGN A HOME  Decide where the items you KEEP will “live”. Remember to make it logical, accessible and safe. This is when we talk about the right app for the right task. You want your client tracking to live in a CRM not necessarily in a task management app. Contacts are best in a content management app, not in an Excel spreadsheet or on scattered pieces of paper.

 

C is for CONTAINERIZE  The art of containerizing is to do it last, not first.  When space organizing, this means you don’t want to buy any new containers until you see what you have left after sorting and purging. In the digital world this means folders, folders, and more folders! It’s easy to get carried away when you start organizing and make folders for everything you can imagine. Instead, make a few sorting folders, see what all you have, then make sub folders as needed. The same thing applies to using a tagging system in a program like Evernote. Rather than trying to imagine all the different tags you will need, sort your notes and see what you actually could use.

 

So you’ve gotten started organizing, gotten organized, and next week we’ll finish up with how to stay organized. If you’ve got questions about taking the next steps with your organizing, just let me know!

13 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – Getting Started

How do I get organized? What do I do first? How do I decide what to get rid of?

 

Those are common questions, especially because so often it’s hard to know where to start. The SPACE model of organizing was made popular by Julie Morgenstern in the book Organizing from the Inside Out. She used this model to provide guidance and direction for individuals wanting to get their home or workspace organized. Although originally designed to deal with physical space organizing, the same principles she spoke about can be applied to a digital world with just a little tweaking.

 

 The S.P.A.C.E organizing model starts with S…
Read More

21 May 2018

Tech to Go

What’s in Your Bag?

We carry all sorts of things in our purses. Gum, chapstick, wallet, Matchbox cars, old receipts, Tylenol, you get the picture. Your phone is another essential item, but do you keep any other tech gadgets in your bag?  Any items you consider a ‘must have’? As a tech type of girl, I tend to carry a few essentials with me that the average person might not consider, especially in my work bag or when I’m using my computer. So what do I consider essential? Let’s start small.
Read More

4 May 2018

Creating a minimalist workspace

 

In a recent post on Unclutterer Leo Babauta of Zen Habits  has some great advice for minimalism for those of us with a stationary office.  But what about those of us with a mobile office? Or those who regularly use a co-working space to conduct business? You can still apply these principles, with just a little tweaking.
So how do you maintain a minimalist workspace?
Read More

9 April 2018

Keeping your contacts safe

Everyone knows I’m all about backing up your data. But have you backed up your contacts lately?
Your contact list is a highly valued item for an entrepreneur. The first step to being organized is to make sure that all of your contacts are in one place – or attached to one ‘account’. This step includes making sure that contacts, especially new contacts, aren’t being saved to your phone but rather that cloud based account.

 

Once you are organized, you can back up your contacts. If you are using Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook.com,  or Apple Contacts, there should be a menu option that says ‘export’ or ‘export contacts’. Choose to export them in a CSV file.

 

Now that you’ve got the CSV file exported to a safe place (the cloud or as part of your online backup), it’s time to rename it. Most files come as contacts.csv which means nothing when you’re looking for a specific backup. Instead, rename the file with the date and ‘Contacts Backup’. Finally, make sure the file is included in your online backup. Depending on how often you add contacts to your list, backing them up doesn’t need to be more than a quarterly or twice a year task.

 

Having a CSV file of your contacts can come in handy when it’s time to import contacts to a new CRM, mailing service, or other software!

 

Need help organizing or backing up your contacts? Call me and we’ll do it together!