Mar 2, 2009

Organize Your Online Life - Time Management

If you work from home, odds are you spend about 90-95% of your time in front of your computer. You interact with employers, fellow employees, clients, and others using multiple online applications. If you're anything like most work-from-home employees I know, you've got about 6 windows open with roughly 4-5 tabs on each window. This can be rather time-consuming to organize and manipulate. To promote better time management, which allows you to work smart and not hard, you have to find ways to organize your online life.

There are multiple programs out there that promote relationships with other social applications (i.e Twitter, MySpace, Facebook), mail applications (Gmail, Hotmail, Yahoo), instant messaging programs (Skype, Yahoo Instant Messenger, AIM), and much more. The key is finding one that works for you. By utilizing these programs, not only do you make your day-to-day interactions much smoother, but you make your life easier. Who can possibly remember all the different usernames and passwords they have out there? Some require numbers, some limit your username and password to a certain amount of characters which prohibits you from using your typical username and password, some are case-sensitive, and so on and so on.

One recently released program, Microsoft Windows Live, allows you to integrate a large portion of your daily programs/activities into one program...a sort of dashboard, if you will. Windows Live gives you basic interaction tools like email (Hotmail), online space storage, blogs, and online invitation software. You can also download widgets that allow you to integrate programs like Flickr, Wordpress, Twitter, Photobucket, and more. One of the cons, however, is that programs like MySpace and Facebook have not established a relationship with Microsoft Windows Live yet, so you would have to go to these sites individually to access your accounts, but this is the price you will pay with any software that is meant to consolidate your life. No program is perfect.

No matter which "consolidation" program you like, you will never find the one perfect application. It doesn't this point, at least. Even programs that allow you to integrate software widgets like Flickr and Pandora only give you limited access to the functionality. If you want to have full functionality, you must still go directly to the site. However, depending on your needs, these programs can be a wonderful asset and help your time management immensely.

In this day and age, all we have is time, and it is nowhere near expendable (and it never should be). The job trend is moving from in-office to virtual/telecommute to allow everyone (companies included) better flexibility. As time progresses and the movement continues, we need to establish borders that prevent our work lives from morphing into our home lives. The more we control our time management, the better we are able to work smart and not hard; work shorter hours instead of a 60-hour work week. Organizing your online life, as much as is humanly possible, is allowing you to be one step closer to being in control of your life and your work.

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