This is the second in a series on decluttering your digital life. The first was about a better way to use Facebook and you can find it here.
Does your computer look like your junk drawer? Some areas of mine definitely do. Cleaning up files, photos and your inbox are for another post because today I just want to talk about your Internet browsing experience. Not even the amount of time but just how you navigate, read and save websites and information from them.
- Delete unused bookmarks. The other week I deleted a bookmark for the employee login for the job I left two years ago. Cull, cull, cull those links. Today!
- Rename your bookmarks. I’m working on being more conscious of how I spend my time online. One thing that has helped is moving all my links into three bookmarks categories: Life, Work or Entertainment. There are sub-bookmarks off these ones containing things like banking links (Life-Financial) and my favourite recipe websites (Entertainment – Nutrition – Recipes). Is food not a part of Life? Yes, it is but I don’t kid myself that browsing recipes isn’t entertainment for me. The mere act of having to go through one of those three links to go to a website helps keep my browsing on the thoughtful, instead of zombie, side.
- Set your homepage to a task. I’m trying to get in the habit of reading the NYT 20-30 mins a day before doing anything else. It not only feeds my brain but I find that if I don’t do it first thing I get sidetracked by email, blogging and my entertainment choices. You might set your homepage to your email, a reader like Google reader, Facebook or something else (let me know in the comments).
- Start using a browsing aid like Evernote. I love keeping snippets of articles and links to blog posts that I want to reference or read again. In the past I would bookmark the link or, gasp, email myself the link or text. What a mess. My bookmarks were hard to navigate and I never ended up going back to the links because they got buried under everything else. So I stopped bookmarking and started using Evernote. I can clip text and ad URLs and easily keep things filed for reference and reading. The fabulous Pinterest is also a great way to save images, organize them and avoid bookmark clutter.
- Limit your browsing tabs and windows. As the mighty Bruce said, 57 channels and nothing on. When you have 12 tabs open to different websites, you’re essentially flicking through channels. Try and cut down to 3-6 tabs and eventually just one. I’m really working on this as I notice I am more focused on my task, writing an email, researching a magazine to pitch to, talking to family on Skype, when I only have that application/tab open. It’s also embarrassing to catch yourself multitasking on a video Skype chat. Hey, I know we are 8 hours and thousands of miles apart and I rarely get to see you but I just got an email I want to open. Modern manners are the pits.
I’ll have a whole other post on ways to actually limit your time in front of the screen but that’s for another day.
Please share any tips, tricks or apps you are using that help keep your browsing experience clutter free.