A Guest Post by Lior Levin
The Internet has put more information at our fingertips than ever before, and, at the same time, given us more to remember. As great as the digital age has been, itâs also been a nightmare for organization, giving us more mental clutter than we ever thought possible.
Fortunately, developers are finding new ways to use the Web to help people stay organized. In every area from finance to news, new Web-based tools are cropping up to help you stay organized and avoid information overload.
Though they target different challenges, their goals are are all the same: Filter out the information that one doesnât need and ensure that the info you do need is available and easily accessible.
That is something all these tools do very well.
Being on the Web means that we have an ever-increasing contact list and those contacts have an also-increasing number of means of contact. Between email, Facebook, Twitter, RSS feeds and more, it can be hard to keep track of who we know, where they are and what they are up to.
Gist, however, makes it easy, by syncing up with your various accounts, it unifies your contact list into one easily-digested list that is sorted by importance and includes all means of contact.
As great as online banking is, most of us have multiple accounts and our finances spread across more and more companies. Fortunately, Mint makes it easy to view all of these accounts in one place, by accessing your various banking, loans and credit accounts and then displaying the information in one place, making it easier than ever to get a clear picture of your finances.
Best of all, since Gist automatically categorizes your purchases, you can easily see where your money is going and where you can save money.
If you use more than one computer, the frustration of having to more files from one machine to another are well-known. Though flash drives and email can help, they are clunky and slow solutions. Fortunately, Dropbox can help.
Dropbox automatically synchronizes files between computers, without you having to do anything. It just runs in the background and when a file is changed on one computer, the other machines on the account get the update almost instantly. Also great for collaboration and backup.
Social Networks: Tweetdeck (Chrome App)
If you are like most people, you have at least a few different social networking profiles spread across several different sites. Keeping track of them all can be a huge pain. Fortunately, Tweetdeckâs new Chrome Application, which is a Web-based HTML5 app, lets you follow your Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Foursquare accounts and more all from one multi-column pane.
Best of all, with merged columns you can get all of your private communications (IE: Twitter DMs and Facebook messages) in one stream, regardless of where they came from.
Documents: Google Docs
Though Google Docs is best known as a tool for editing and creating files on the Web, through features like easy sharing, folders and document upload, it is also a way to organize and access your critical files anywhere you need them.
While it isnât ideal for all document types, most simple documents can be easily used with Google Docs, making it a natural way to keep your files handy, no matter where you are.
Incoming Links: Zite
Between our Twitter streams, RSS feeds and other sites we follow, many of us have far more links in our inbox than we could ever read. Zite, which is currently in closed beta, calls itself âYour Personal Web Filterâ and it goes through all of that to find the stories most important and most interesting for you.
Most interesting of all, Zite learns from your behavior and is always honing its approach to what you find interesting, making it a tool that gets better the more you use it.
Task List: Producteev
Busy people have a lot of deadlines but keeping track of those deadlines can be a real pain. Though calendars can help, especially with meetings and appointments, there are many tasks that just arenât right for calendars like laundry or sending out birthday cards.
Producteev helps organize those tasks and, through integration with email, IM and an iPhone app, makes it easy to ad tasks and receive updates on them. is also great for managers who need to assign tasks and deadlines to a team as it has a built-in function for group management as well.
In the end, the Web has both done more to make our lives more cluttered and more to simplify it than any innovation before. We have more information being thrown at us than we ever thought possible and more ways to sort, organize and parse it than we did just a few years ago.
When itâs all said and done, the Web is just a tool and weâll get out of it exactly what we put into it. If we let it drive us to insanity, it can do so. But if we make it a tool to organize and streamline our lives, it can do that just as easily.
Thank you, Lior. You’re welcome back here anytime.
–ME “Liz” Strauss
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