Thursday, September 22, 2005





Effective use of your online time








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Effective use of your online time

Author: Nowshade Kabir

The 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.

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/

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.
You can contact him at mailto:nowshade[at]rusbiz.com
http://ezine.rusbiz.com

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