S&P #002

[5 min read]

iGoogle (what you need)

Now, it might seem like I’m a huge proponent for Google…and I am. The basic services that they offer is amazing. And from the beginning, I’ve enjoyed working with their services (gmail, blogger, calendar, docs, analytics, etc.), and some have proven more helpful than others.
iGoogle is pretty much a personalized homepage…and many companies are jumping on board with the concept. You pretty much have the option to put whatever you want on this page. And one of the options iGoogle has is making multiple tabs for different things, allowing you to be as “organized” and specific as you’d like.
After messing around with all the different apps provided, I’ve shrunk my homepage to what I consider my “necessary 3”.

By simply opening my internet, I have a quick look as to whether I have any new mail in my Gmail inbox. Now, some people have various notifications on their computers to let them know when they have e-mails, and if you do- STOP IT! It might seem to be making your more efficient always knowing when you have new e-mail, but it becomes more distracting, and slows down your work. By stopping these notifications, I’m now able to not get interrupted while I’m doing other things (because I have ADD that if I see a notification, I must check my e-mail), and now am less “tied” to my inbox (free-ing me up so much in life). All that to say, I put gmail on my homepage.

[Google Reader]
I’ll probably have another S&P in the near future about Google Reader, as it’s been a huge time saver for me. Essentially its my blog reader. I’m subscribed to 20+ different blogs, and google reader collects all the information in one place (and inbox for blogs). So now instead of checking all the sites to see if they’ve made a new post, I get all new posts brought to me. Less time wasted searching the internet hoping that someone will post. Now, I read all the blogs on my time, in one site.

The last thing that I really care about is the weather. It’s just nice to know what’s going on outside.

Now, it’s really easy to get out of control with everything you can do with google homepage. Before I got hooked on Google Reader, I had a tab called “blogs” where I added the RSS feed for each blog I followed. So I would have to click on the tab to view the blogs, and if there was a new blog post, I’d have to click the blog to go to their site. It’s still going to like 15 different websites, but at least I would know I’d get something new. Then there were apps for ‘picture of the day’ and ‘pacman’ and other ‘free mp3s’ and things like that. These things DO NOT speed up your efficiency, they slow you down. It might be fun at first, but ultimately, we’re trying to get the things we need to do done as quickly as possible, and open up our time for more important things.
For computer efficiency, a great way to check how ‘efficient’ you’re being is to figure out how many clicks it takes for you to do task. The more clicks, the less efficient. In my blog reading example, we can assume one click to open firefox, one click to select the ‘blog’ tab, and then one click to go to each new blog (and one click on the back button to see my list of blogs again). So if there were 10 new blog posts, then I’d have about 23 clicks. Now, I have one click to open firefox, and then one click to view each blog as a popup in my homepage. So with 10 new blog posts, its now 11 clicks. I’ve cut down my clicking by more than half…now that’s efficient!
For people who are ‘addicted’ to blog-reading and anxious to check your e-mail, this should help you greatly.