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#45 [05.03.2005]
 

Effective use of your online time

By Nowshade Kabir©Rusbiz.com

Effective use of your online timeThe 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.

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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.

Resources
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 your computer.

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.

Resources
Google Desktop Search Tool:
Find information on your computer as fast as you do with the help of Google search.
http://desktop.google.com/

MSN Desktop Search Tool:
MSN desktop search utility comes along with a toolbar that you can download from
http://toolbar.msn.com/

Yahoo Desktop Search Tool:
Still at beta stage, it’s a very comprehensive desktop search program.
http://desktop.yahoo.com/

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 best.
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.

Resources
A9.com search results are essentially supplied by Google.
You can download and install A9.com from the page: http://toolbar.a9.com/

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About the author
Nowshade Kabir is the founder, primary developer and present CEO of Rusbiz.com. A Ph. D. in Information Technology, he has wide experience in Business Consulting, International Trade and Web Marketing. Rusbiz is a Global B2B Emarketplace with solutions to start and run online business. Click here to contact him.