10 Ways to Stay Organized Online and Boost Your Productivity

Staying organized online is no easy task. With 9 email addresses, 5 to-do lists and documents all over it’s nearly impossible to keep track of everything. What if there was a simple way to keep each one in order? Below is a list of 10 methods and tools to help you organize yourself online.

Email Management

Some people send emails, some people send newsletters – I send both. When I needed a way to organize everything I looked for tools that would allow me to do so. There might have been a way to send both types of emails in one shot, but I decided keep business separate from my personal life.

There are many services for managing your basic email address’s. I have tried too many of them. Sure, there’s Yahoo!AOL, and Hotmail, but I chose to go with the simplest, and best organized one, Gmail. There are features such as filters, labels and gadgets that allow you to customize your email and give you more control.

I haven’t tried many newsletter management services, but the one that I do use I fell in love with immediately. MailChimp is an easy to use, well established platform for managing email newsletters and lists. With MailChimp you get very detailed reports from email campaigns, yet maintains a simple and easy to use interface. In my opinion, this is the way to keep your email lists organized.

There are, however, other services such as AweberConstant Contact and Bronto.

Contacts

Everyone has personal contacts and business contacts. Having multiple lists for different contacts is just too hard to keep control of. Plaxo is the solution for this dilemma.

Plaxo is an easy to use and well organized contact management platform. With Plaxo, you can sync your contacts from multiple accounts like Gmail and Microsoft Outlook. You can also import contacts from many email services.

Finance

I know have mentioned Mint before, but for organizing your finances, there is nothing better. To quote myself:

Mint is a great way to securely manage your money online. With multiple mobile apps you can always have access to your account. All of your information is synced and updated  automatically. It is simple to use and great for people who want a better control of their money.

Charts/Diagrams

Sometimes a to-do list doesn’t work for everybody. For some people, a more visual representation of their task list is more beneficial. With the drawing, and spreadsheet capabilities, Google Docs is a great tool for keeping all of your charts and diagrams organized.

Alternatively, Gliffy is one of those amazing websites where you can design, create, share, save, export and print professional looking floor-plans, flow charts, venn diagrams and much more. They have ready-made templates for easy use or you can go free style and draw what you want. With Gliffy’s capabilities you can create an extremely detailed, yet attractive task lists that will make you want to work!

Collaboration

When it comes to collaborating on documents there is really only one place to go – Google Docs. Google Docs is not only for your basic document editing but also for spreadsheets, forms, drawings and presentations. You can create folders on Google Docs for organization and working with others is more or less real-time. There is also a chat window within the interface so you can instant-message each other easily.

If your just looking for a basic typing platform that has a clean user-interface and easy to use, check out TypeWith.me. With real-time editing, a chat box and easy sharing it is a simple, fast and an easy way to collaborate.

File Storage

Sharing documents, pictures, videos and any type of media is always a pain. Email is okay for maybe a document or two, but if your looking to share a folder or continuously share and update files then you need a system like Dropbox.

Dropbox is a free or paid, easy way to store, sync and share files online. Not only is it crucial to have a backup of all important files, but Dropbox makes sharing files – even big ones – much easier. Simply create a sharing folder, select an email address and drop the file in there. You get 2GB of free memory to start, but for every referral you get 250MB extra. Also, if you sign up using a referral link you get 250MB extra. Dropbox makes it easy to keep your files in order and synced in order have access to them at all times. They even have mobile apps!

Task Management

One of the most important ways to stay organized and boost productivity is to keep track of what your doing and the time spent doing it. When you lose sight of your goals, you procrastinate and accomplish nothing which can hurt your business. They are many websites and applications that can help you stay on track but HiTaskRemember The Milk and MakeSomeTime are some of the best options.

HiTask is a clean way to organize your tasks. The drag and drop interface works well to incorporate many of its features like task grouping, categorizing by color, grouping tasks in projects and time logging. You can also chat with your team and share tasks and projects. This is definitely a one stop shop for all your task management issues.

Remember The Milk is a well known task management platform, similar to HiTask. One of the biggest differences is that Remember The Milk is available on the go with apps for the iPhone, Blackberry and Android devices. With Remember The Milk you can locate your tasks on a map; if you need to go somewhere you can get reminders through SMS, or various IM services, like AIM or Google Talk.

MakeSomeTime is your standard task list, but you can time how long certain tasks take you. You can also create invoices to send to clients detailing time spent on certain jobs. Then you can monitor your invoices to see which have been paid and sent. With MakeSomeTime you can be sure your tasks take the appropriate amount of time and that your clients pay accordingly.

Phone

We take our cell phones where ever we go and if you have a smart phone you have all the awesome apps already. What about taking your phone and putting it online, making it accessible from your computer?

Google Voice is an amazing service that not only gives you visual voice mail, but also gives you control of your voice mail and greeting settings online. You can also share voice mails, block callers and have conference calls.

Of course, one of the main advantages to Google Voice is that instead of having a house phone number, a cell phone number and a work number you can have one number – your Google number. When someone calls that number you can control, depending on whose calling which of your real phones to ring. As an example, lets say my boss is calling me. For him, I only want my work phone and cell phone to ring and not my house number. You can make sure you know who is calling you on what number and stay in control of all your phones. Google Voice offers lots of features and can be of real use in boosting productivity and organization.

Social Media Management

Managing all of your social media accounts is challenging regardless how many accounts you have. Those who are looking to take control of all of their social media accounts need a separate platform that combines and simplifies all of them.

One of the most popular services is HootSuite.  Hootsuite is your all-in-one social media management portal.  You can add multiple networks, like Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn, and manage them all from one place.

A few other social media management services include CoTweet and TweetDeck. They are both focus on Twitter, but they’ve started also to combine other social networks.

How do you stay organized online? What tools do you use?

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[…] One of the problems that you’ll encounter (depending on your business) is keeping track of all your income, outcome, and business information. I suggest keeping an elaborate spreadsheet document to keep track of your spending and savings. You should also always have a simple three-ring business binder on hand as well. This way you’ll never have to worry about finding important information. You can also explore methods of staying organized online. […]