Being productive means growing into or creating systems, trying new things, and being sensible about how you spend your time. Here’s a list of tips that are going to help me and others this year.
1. Try a new browser
Opera 11 has got to be my favorite browser and my go to program when I want get things done or when I’m researching a new topic.
So what does it have to offer?
Visual tabs and tab stacking: The visual tabs feature lets you see in a glance what each of your tabs are showing. If the visual tabs get to be too much you can always drag to make them regular text tabs. Also, the tab-stacking feature allows you to conserve space and group like tabs.
Notes & Bookmarks: I love using Opera’s side panel because it allows me to make notes and bookmarks as I browse the Internet. I can also create folders and separators to organize my information however I like.
Speed: According to a speed test done by lifehacker.com, Chrome, the fastest of the browsers is only marginally faster than Opera. In fact they’re just about the same. Additionally, Opera’s “Speed Dial” homepage is a great way to quickly access the pages you use most.
Pro tip: Get an Opera Link account to synchronize your notes and bookmarks (really essential!)
2. Put important files in your Dropbox folder
Have you ever left a file you needed on a computer at home? Get into the habit of saving files in your free on-line drop-box at dropbox.com to seamlessly and effortlessly synchronize your files on all your computers. Having a drop-box folder means that you can access your files on any computer with an Internet connection. As soon as you save a file in your drop-box it immediately updates on all of your Dropbox configured computers.
Pro tip: Share dropbox folders with others to synchronize files with your contacts (and get extra dropbox space for free)
3. Download an Evernote extension for your browser
Shareaholic [for Opera, Chrome, or Firefox] is an extension, or a free downloadable add-on for your browser that allows you to share web-pages in various web services. These services include but are not limited to: Evernote, Twitter, and Facebook.
We here at Silver Square love to use Evernote. It helps you organized all the things you want to keep track of and helps anyone with a failing memory (that’s everyone but these guys). Clipping a web-page to Evernote is a great way to amass information on a subject to be viewed later. You can tag these notes and put them in specific notebooks. Clipping basically saves a copy of all the text, links, and images on the web-page.
Protip: Make a Shareaholic account to customize which services you can share to (they have everything from LinkedIn and Twitter to Amazon wish list).
4. Create an Evernote notebook for every major project you have
Are you like me? Do you keep lists of everything under the sun? I’ve got tadalists, Listography lists, email lists, Amazon lists… Since Evernote is the king of keeping track of information, spend the time to move your lists over to Evernote notebooks. Evernote allows you to have as many notebooks as you want. Try creating a notebook for every major project in your life. Have a recipe you want to keep track of? Just add your note into your recipes notebook. You found a website relevant to one of your projects? Just clip the site to the correct notebook so you know exactly where it is when you need the information.
Pro tip: Evernote is my favorite app on my Android phone. Clip notes on the go with your smart phone.
5. Use Windows 7 sticky notes
I use Windows 7 sticky notes for everything. They’re a great way to think out problems, arrange information, or quickly jot down information without having to search for a notepad. When all you need to do is spend a second writing down something so that you can focus on working there’s no point in loading up a bulky task management program or making a Google task. Now they won’t give you automated reminders, but if you minimize your windows regularly you’re bound to notice those sticky notes.
Pro tip: Delete your sticky notes regularly. They sometimes have a habit of sticking around too long.