Organizing my digital life for 2010
Perhaps I’ve got some OCD tendencies but I really like order and since a large part of my life is lived in the digital space I have to maintain a clean digital working environment. That digital environment takes time and tools. Here are a few of my systems and how I’m reworking them for 2010
Bookmarks play a crucial role in maintaining my knowledge of the web. It’s a curated directory and an invaluable resource. My bookmark workflow looks like this
- Interesting Site – Worth Bookmarking? or Requires more reading?
- Bookmark –> Bookmark the site, immediately place it in the folder and add tags for the bookmark, add keyword shortcuts if you’ll be using it often.
- Read it Later – If I want to read this article more later but not clutter up my bookmarks then I use Instapaper with the “Read it Later” bookmarklet liberally.
- Social Bookmark – Certain tools or icons sets don’t necessarily need to be present in my local bookmark system so I employ a 3rd party social bookmarking service like Diigo or Delicious. With tagging and descriptions it’s easy for me to call these databases for info.
The trick here is to keep as few URLs floating inside your head as possible. Use the tech as a braindump. In short if I bookmark it, tag it, and sort it into an logical folder structure or choose to “Read it Later” then my processing on the information is done. The site has its place.
While this system works great it can become bloated, and requires pruning.
- I manually inspect my bookmark folder structure looking for links that should be discarded or trees that should be combined or segmented.
- I also use the Incredible Bookmarks Firefox plug-in to help identify broken links
Once my bookmark structure is satisfactory then I use the Xmarks Firefox plug-in to sync the pruned list to all my computers.
The additional challenge this year was splitting my wife’s bookmarks from mine. I needed segmentation and order. She now has her own profile and Xmarks acct so her system is now completely independent.
Every year I spend sometime changing my passwords in my most secure or at risk accounts. I won’t disclose my methods but essentially a site is assigned a category based on risk or sensitivity. My password structure changes based on site categorization. This past year I’ve introduced Lastpass as my password manager and I’ve been really pleased with it. Great security, identities, site sorting, I use the web in a very complex way and it has fit my needs every time.
The challenge this year was to once again segment my wife’s passwords and mine. I needed to be able to change and manage sites and not affect her access. So she gained her own lastpass account as well.
I spent some time manually updating some sites and categorizing the sites and that has really helped.
To Do List
I had to put dedicate some time to building RememberTheMilk.com as a primary tool moving forward this year. I’ve used it sporadically but I wanted to dump everything that I’m looking to accomplish big and small into RTM and use it on a daily basis to track progress. All my info has been added with due dates and the RTM calendar is integrated into my Google Calendar as well. I can be very productive but I must see what is being done and what is sliding backwards. RTM will be a big help.
I’m starting the year with a clean slate using my Managing Email with 3 folders method, I didn’t have a massive backlog because I’m usually pretty vigorous about my email processing. Never the less a few items needed to be followed up on, put on the to do list, placed on calendar of just plain deleted. I want to have no hangovers in 2010.
The Final Step
The last system I’ll be managing is my tackling is my content consumption. I’ll be looking at how I consume data from Reader, Reader Shared items, Friendfeed lists, and possibly alltop or netvibes pages. I need to cull some blogs and podcasts that I don’t use anymore and assign time values to the intakes that I choose to continue. Think of this as reading the morning paper but trying to design the input system to give you the best content the most efficient way. I don’t have this system quantified yet but I’ll share my findings as soon as I’ve made some decisions.
Let me hear from you. What changes are you making to be more efficient and productive this coming year. What technology do you rely on to keep you informed and on track. I welcome your suggestions.