Ok, we’ve got lots of big priorities to go attack this year. But there are some small things you can do now that will really boost your productivity, It’s a starter list… Please chime in with your own suggestions.
- Set-up your RSS reader. I recommend FeedDemon if you have lots of feeds. If not, spare the expense and go for Google Reader or use the reader built into Internet Explorer 7. If, by the end of January, you are still visiting each blog to see if it has been updated, you are missing the point. One thing to do when managing long lists of feeds (or folders of any kind) is to add either an @ symbol or a_ to the front of the name. That way they will appear at the top of the reading list… clever eh!
- Configure your Google Alerts. Work on these to track not just companies but brands, executives, and customers.
- Set-up del.icio.us for your bookmarks and start sharning stories you tag with other.
- Set-up your iGoogle and personalized Yahoo! home pages. If you want to be trendy, also add PageFlakes. Add all the widgets your need. Remember that you can set multiple home pages to open at once when you launch Internet Explorer. While I am on this, use Gmail for all your eZine and online subscriptions. Gmail offers very good labeling features which means you can easily have eZines route to a “reading folder”. You can learn more here…
- Load custom search engines into your Search bar in Internet Explorer. Wikipedia should be one. Tweetscan should be another – take a look at the emerging conversations on Dell on Twitter. And Mahalo.
- Start Participating. Get your page up on Facebook and start learning how it can boost your next product launch. Over 3,000 other employees from Dell have! You should also be looking at Flickr for photo feeds of hot new products. And don’t forget LinkedIn – they just updated it.
- Download the latest version of Real Player. The free version, with the plug-in for capturing online video. You can then take videos to go. Then go play with Rhapsody – it’s the future of online Music (at least till the next thing turns-up).
- Some other downloads: Livewriter – my preferred blogging client. Fantastic little app from Microsoft. Be sure to deselect all the other “Live” stuff they try to install…
- Get all the Google stuff… Google Toolbar. Try the beta. Love the gadgets in the toolbar. Google Notebook is a terrific way to store information and access it from anywhere. You might also want to download Firefox – there are plenty of cool themes and extensions available. Google Docs are excellent for collaboration.
- Get to know web metrics and search. There are tons of free tools out there. I like Alexa, Technorati and Google trends (which is flawed but still interesting…). Start watching your brands, names and plays perform – and ask the questions “why?”. Wikio is a handy place to start looking at blogs. One of the cool things you can do is set-up your own search engine in IE.7 – just select “find more providers” and give it a shot…
- Boost your email productivity. Xobni is a terrific Outlook add-in that will speed your use immediately. Then follow all the basic rules:
- Only handle email once – read, act or delete.
- Move reminders to your tasks folder. Or create a tickler folder in which to store them.
- When copying people on an action – try using tasks, or, bcc yourself and drop into your tickler folder.
Practice!!! Set aside a minimum of 30 minutes a week to play with the above and more. Make a commitment to learning how all this new technology can boost your productivity. Start each day with a scan of your RSS feeds.
And, when you are ready for some music, try last.fm. Pandora is also great if you live in the US. Grooveshark is one to keep an eye on (or an ear on!). Amie Street is another good, DRM-free source of online music.