While it may seem that the Internet is populated by people with endless time on their hands who are out to torpedo our productivity, there really are Web-based applications that can improve productivity--or at least make some things easier.
We have already introduced you to some productivity tools—RSS aggregators like Bloglines do save time as you keep up with the news and information you need. Del.icio.us is a tool that makes bookmarking more efficient. You tried other productivity tools, like GoogleDocs and Zoho, in Thing 9. Online Collaboration Tools.
1. Having a customized home—or “start” page—that lets you collect and organize information of importance to you all on one page can be a productivity help. iGoogle, PageFlakes, and My Yahoo! are three places to start. Each lets you choose headlines, weather reports, links to your email and RSS feeds, and dozens of other widgets (or gadgets, in Google) to manage information—or your life. Note that many dgets require a download. So, look at the intro pages for all three of these and choose one to create a customized start page. Add features, delete features, re-arrange the features on your new homepage. Each site will have widgets/gadgets to add and you can find many, many more on the Web. Here's a Countdown widget:
23 Things On a Stick!
2. Calendar: These calendars all offer similar features—add events, get reminders, search, repeat events, coding, etc. and of course, the hallmark of Web 2.0, the ability to share your calendar online. Google and Yahoo! Calendars integrate with their other services and features. Choose a calendar from this article and try it out.
3. Just about everyone makes lists. Try one of these online list tools to manage your activities. Ta da list or Remember the Milk
4. Some tools roll multiple features—calendars, lists, reminders, etc--into one service. Take a look at Backpack features.
But wait, there’s more! Here are some other tools you can explore on your own:Online Calendars
Sticky Notes (requires download)
CutePDF (requires download)
This program will covert one file type to another. Especially handy in libraries that may not be able to open a student or patron file because it doesn’t have the right software.Resources
Really interested in improving your productivity? Here are some lists of tools to explore. Although searching these lists and trying the tools might drain your productivity, at least until you find the tools you need.
- Top Ten Productivity Web Sites
- Top 25 Web 2.0 Apps to Improve a Student's or Professor's Productivity, Online Education Database
- 2007 Guide to Free Software and Webapps
- Lifehacker is a Web site that provides daily updates on tools and applications. Add it to your Bloglines account if you want to really see all that is offered in the name of productivity.
- Which start page did you choose? Why did that one appeal to you? Will you make it your permanent home page?
- Did you find a tool that has some uses for you at the library or at home? Which tool(s) would you recommend to others?
- How can the online calendars be useful to you?
- What about the to-do lists—helpful, too much work…?
- Did you try out Backpack? What did you think?
- Did you try any of the other tools in the list? Any good ones we should all try?
1. Have a big project that you need to complete? Online productivity tools can help with complicated tasks involving multiple people, deadlines, and activities. Compare and contrast these project management services. Let us know what you think.Project Management Services
2. Explore more tools from any of the lists above. Share any you find especially useful.