If you followed along with part one of this post a few weeks ago, you have now taken some time to evaluate and organize several parts of your online life. If you haven’t gone through the steps I listed there, it’s not too late! Taking a few minutes to streamline the ways you access the internet will be one of the greatest timesavers you can implement when it comes to using your online time wisely. Now it’s time to really dial it in and delve into the individual applications you use.
Step One – Review + Make Adjustments
Go over everything you organized in part one (or go back and do it now) and decide if anything needs to be added or subtracted from your lists. The benefit of having done this a few weeks ago means that you will have lived with your system for a few weeks and know if it is working or not. You will realize if you forgot to add any shortcuts, bookmarks, or apps because you will have tried to access the information. Go ahead and tweak anything that you need to now.
I realized that I needed some more subfolders under my “digi” bookmark so I filed several of my most used resources in the applicable places.
Step Two – Whittle and Refine
This is like cleaning out your closet – it’s one thing to just hang up all the clothes, but every once in awhile you have to go through and get rid of the stuff that doesn’t fit anymore or part with things that aren’t meeting your needs. It’s just easier to put together outfits if you aren’t distracted by a lot of “junk” that doesn’t work. Even though the internet can expand far more than my closet can, I still don’t need to wade through unnecessary items!
If you’re like me, you set up accounts on sites or bookmarks without fully understanding how you will use them. Then as you start using the resources, you will either make them work for you or abandon them. Because I do so much online, this can result in an unorganized and unproductive mess sometimes. Let me show you an example:
I’ve been using Twitter for a few years now and I’ve recently wondered if it’s still as useful for me? Since Pinterest came along, I’m finding that I share a lot more of what I used to tweet about on my Pinterest boards. I’ve let my follower number grow without putting much effort into who I was following. I also have followed a lot of people who are not tweeting things that are relevant to me. In the beginning of my Twitter days I just followed everyone who followed me. It was new and exciting and I didn’t know any better. Then I got overwhelmed and stopped trying to keep up. It’s time for me to make a choice:
- Do nothing and not worry about it
- Quit using Twitter
- Whittle and refine how I use Twitter
I’m going to choose option #3 – whittle & refine. After I looked around Twitter for awhile I started to remember why I like it there and even though I’ve changed the way I use it, it’s still useful to me – especially in my digital scrapbooking life. It’s just time for a bit of a refresh!
I started with the cosmetic stuff; my logo was outdated, my blog link was outdated since I now have a dot.com address. I thought it would be fun to also change my background to give my profile virtual makeover. Nothing like a little spiffing up to make things feel better!
I’ve gotten out of the habit of checking Twitter on a regular basis so I went in and changed some of my email and setting notifications. I can always change these later if I decide I don’t like them.
The next thing I did was to go through the list of people I’m following. I unfollowed the ones who I never hear from or who aren’t really in my circle of influence anymore. I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on it, but just cleaning out a few unnecessary contacts made my twitter feed a lot more useful for me. I need to spend some more time following those who I want to keep in touch with so I will revisit my organization on Twitter again in the future.
That was just a quick example of how taking a few minutes to evaluate and refresh my Twitter usage can help me be more productive in how I use the site. It also contributes to my overall experience there so it’s not just about feeling organized.
Step Three – Go Through Your Lists
Now that you’ve narrowed down your important online stops (and apps), it’s time to go through them with an eye for streamlining as explained in step #2. This can seem overwhelming, but I suggest just spending a few minutes on each place once a month or so until you feel like you have a good handle on things. Here’s my list of what I’m working on based on the places I talked about in post #1:
- Go through all my email folders and get rid of outdated messages.
- Unfollow twitter users who I don’t interact with, follow the people who influence me, evaluate the usefulness of twitter in my online routine.
- Unfriend those on facebook who I never interact with. I’ve decided that for my personal facebook profile, a “friend” needs to be someone I’ve met or talked to in person (even over Skype) or that I’ve had significant online interaction with. Everyone else would be a better fit on my scrapbook lady facebook page.
- Go through the people I follow on Pinterest and see if I need to unfollow anyone there. Look for new people to follow and inspire me there. Look through my past pins to see if there are projects I want to actually tackle.
- Try out and actually use every app on my iPhone and iPad and decide if it’s worth keeping.
Do you get the idea? Isn’t it interesting how many “UN” things I’m trying to do? Sometimes when we jump on a bandwagon (like Pinterest) we just follow everyone at first to get the feel for it. Usually after you use a site for awhile, you have a better understanding of how it will really apply in your own life. I’ve found that after hanging out on Pinterest for awhile now, I’m not really interested in seeing pins of hairstyles or buff exercise bodies. Not that there’s anything wrong with either of those things – they just aren’t what I’m wanting to view when I’m surfing for “pinworthy” things. lol!
Obviously, we all have our own tastes and interests when it comes to spending time online. The best thing about taking some time to evaluate and organize how you use the internet is that you will enjoy it more and get more done. That leaves more time for scrapping!
P.S. The title graphic was created with The Tattered Pear Chalklet. The font is Sharpie.