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Tools to manage my life online

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Started by Tessa Gray 20 Mar 2012 5:36pm () Replies (12)

Is it just me or does anyone else find life is getting harder to manage online?


Emails, Google docs, Twitter feeds, notifications, RSS and blog feeds....it goes on. It doesn’t help when you find 100+ ways to organize your life online. Apart from using the VLN as professional learning network, I really like Netvibes and have used this as a personal portal for RSS feeds as well as a public space.

imageAnyone got a great tip/trick/tool for organising their life online? HELP!


Image sourced from http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/


  • Rachel Whalley (View all users posts) 20 Mar 2012 5:46pm ()

    Tag, tag, tag! and the search button is your friend - in the VLN site, in Google docs, in Gmail. Use the advanced search feature in gmail - wow what a difference!

  • Tim Kong (View all users posts) 20 Mar 2012 8:03pm ()

    I think the simpler and cleaner that you can keep your life - the better you'll be.

    So for starters don't go to Mashable sites that list 100+ ways to organise. :) You just end up with 100 things to try - and fill your life with options. Options cause stress. You want space. Organising requires focus and discipline. It means ditching what doesn't work for you. And doing what does work for you.

    I don't Evernote, Netvibe, Delicious, Omnifocus or any of the others. I just use google search to find what i need, when I want.

    Twitter is handy for tracking what's going on, and has huge power. It's also a huge time suck. So just stop following folk, or don't turn it on when you don't need it.

    I write lists and things down using Notational Velocity. http://notational.net/

    It's fast, simple UI, works well with dropbox - it is my mind dump. I drop urls, links and such there. I don't bother with heirarchy, I just enter a sensible title to a file, then search for it when I need it.

    I use KeepassX to manage my online passwords/logins:   http://keepass.info/

    It's also about making the analog/physical world work with your digital world.

    Read GTD - but don't make it a religion:   http://zenhabits.net/beginners-guide-to-gtd/

    I use some of the strategies - manila folders organised alphabetically, 1x in tray, 1x read and review tray - and regular clearouts/processing of those trays.

    I do simple things like clearing my desk at the end of EVERY day, leaving only 1 cup of pencils, a pile of clean A4 paper, and a coaster for my coffee mug - so that EVERY day starts fresh on a physical level. Those little habits help keep me on an even keel. And able to handle the myriad of demands of being in a classroom.

    Be ruthless. Pick the tool that does the task for the job. And get rid of everything else.

    Seriously. Get. Rid. Of. Everything. Else.

    You can always just google and download it again next week. :)

  • Suzie Vesper (View all users posts) 20 Mar 2012 8:31pm ()

    It is so true that the tools to manage stuff can become just more things to manage! I use Diigo for collaborative bookmarking but to be honest I seldom look back at the bookmarks I have amassed because I just search for things again later :)  Still, I do think that the Delicious stacks look to be a very interesting option for collaboratively developing resources. The visual way it displays the bookmarks makes it attractive and easy to find your content at a glance.  I'm also still a wiki fan for aggregating and organising resources in a way that makes meaning out of them.

    I find some of the simple things in life really make a difference to dealing with information such as using Ctrl (Command) F to find a specific term or phrase on a website or using the options on the left after doing a Google search to narrow the timeframe or find a specific type of resource.

    As far as using Google Docs is concerned, the most useful thing for finding your way around these is to master the drop down of options for filtering the search results (click on the arrow at the end of the search window). Here you can specify a whole range of things to narrow your search results such as the type of document or whether or not you own the document (particularly useful!)


    I have gone through phases of trying tools like Evernote but they have never stuck for me. I do know that other people have found them really useful. I do use Twitter as a giant resource of links and ideas if I need information on a current topic. Searching Twitter normally throws up a host of useful bits and pieces. I also use some sites religiously to find digital content that I can use in presentations or my school work and Flickr would be the king of all of these. Many people have tagged Flickr resources as being available for use through a Creative Commons license and I tend to find better quality pictures faster this way.

    While this isn't an online tip, it also pays to really understand how to use your own computer's search capabilities to help you find things faster that you have supposedly saved in a sensible place. I learned a lot of power features for searching a mac computer through reading online blog posts and forum tips.

  • Allanah King (View all users posts) 21 Mar 2012 4:36pm ()

    Who would have known. You don't know what you don't know. I have never ever even seen the little search arrow before.

    And it's really helpful.

    Thank you


  • Moana Timoko (View all users posts) 21 Mar 2012 4:47pm ()

    Replying because yes things are getting rather hectic for me too!  I now need to read and try out some of the suggestions to organise MLO - Hope that acronym isn't taken - Must organise MLO...My life online.

  • Matt Simeon (View all users posts) 21 Mar 2012 9:14pm ()

    Hi Tessa

    Being set up with google at school I have gone back to igoogle. I needed to also help/support my staff in managing their online lifes in the morning (logging into email, calendar, etap, Ultranet etc) so we set up a generic igoogle page for all staff so thay have all their main things in one place. This has really supported the staff in being able to manage their mornings!

    I have also started to use it for my professional online life.

    So far so good!




  • Tania (View all users posts) 21 Mar 2012 10:25pm ()

    What a great conversation to read through - I can totally hear all of youSmile!  I tend to bookmark, bookmark, bookmark as a quick way of saving something but VERY RARELY go back to any bookmarks (even though my system is very sorted!) as I am always finding NEW and more exciting information...  I think for me it is a 'as I need it' type situation - I find if I stockpile info and think I will try that out when I have time that it never happens!  Loving the acronym Moana - perhaps it could be MOOL - must organise online life!  I also agree with Matt - iGoogle is a great place to start.  AND def like Tim, use google search 99% of the time - And yes love the concept of download it again next week!  I haven't got any answers but great to read everyone's thoughts.  

  • Annemarie Hyde (View all users posts) 21 Mar 2012 11:25pm ()

    Love reading this too.  Like others, I've done Delicious, got Netvibe somewhere, and now end up regoogling because of the up to date stuff it throws up.

    I have to restrain myself from looking at Twitter, and can't leave my email or VLN alone.  Sometimes I think I've got OCD - Online Compulsive Disorder.  The answer is to counter with OFD - Online Free Days or maybe OFN - Offline For Now.  The medication involves a good book, some gardening, a great coffee, and a glass of wine if the sun is going down! 

  • Tessa Gray (View all users posts) 22 Mar 2012 10:39am ()

    Ohh thanks to everyone for the practical advice so far. I like the ideas of throwing out some tools that I don't use anymore. Keep it simple.

    I personally rely on the up-to-date access to the web through aggregators like iGoogle and Netvibes. I also like how the VLN notifications come into my inbox, so that I can quickly glance at the posts and decide to shelve, visit later or pursue immediately. Tools like Feedmyinbox enable you to have RSS feeds from any site come into your email account - which is probably good for anyone who doesn't use aggregators.

    I also suffer from OCD and need to MLO more Smile

  • Deidre Senior (View all users posts) 22 Mar 2012 10:47am ()

    I am currently at the Microsoft Asia Pacific Innovative Teachers forum and have exposed to Microsoft Montage - which I had heard of before but never took the time to explore.  I previously thought it was a photo application (I suppose Montage implies this - that is my excuse anyway), however I have had time to explore it and view its strengths.  Montage pulls together a range of resources, twitter feeds, RSS feeds etc on your area of focus.

    This YouTube video puts it into a simple way


    I have just taken 5 minutes to put together my first ever Montage
    (please excuse the 'crude' nature if it - it was put together purely as a trial for me to see how easy - or not - it would come together) - on Digital Learning and found it simple to do and potentially quite a rich resource. 


     I think that not only would this be great for teachers to collate information on their different interests - both personal and professional, but it could also be a great resource creator for students in the secondary setting.  It isn't a 'one stop shop' but I can see it being of considerable value.

  • Carol Kendall (View all users posts) 25 Mar 2012 6:54pm ()

    I follow over 500 blogs (don't say a word!) and have more recently found NetNewsWire good for managing this (thanks for the tip, Mike Anderson). Skimming and scanning are key skills for coping with this and if a heading doesn't grab my attention, it probably won't be looked at. Anything useful gets bookmarked (I'm using Firefox), with care being taken to make sure the bookmarks are accurately named. I frequently refer to these when looking back for information - I do this by simply opening the Bookmarks sidebar, and then typing in a search term - I can quickly and easily find bookmarks from the past when I need them, so they definitely aren't lost and forgotten. I find this more useful than using Delicious because I don't always want to go online. But I also use Delicious for one of my schools, putting resources there that are related to what learning is happening in the classrooms at the time. I only wish I could get teachers to use the Delicious Bookmarklet tool they've got on their Browser Toolbars, to add resources too. It's so quick and easy.

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