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29 May

Design your own ”found something interesting online”-process


Datum: 2017-05-29 15:13

You are online and stum­ble upon some­thing you want to get back to lat­er. What do you do?

The pos­si­bil­i­ties are of course end­less in this, nowa­days very com­mon, sit­u­a­tion. We can book­mark the page, add it to our list of favorites, drag and drop a short­cut to the com­put­er desk­top, leave it for lat­er in its own tab, save the arti­cle to Ever­note or some oth­er save good things for later”-service, or go for a num­ber of oth­er alternatives.

Do you have one or several?
Since there are so many ways to do this in, we should decide on exact­ly how we will go about it. If we do not, we risk sav­ing or high­light­ing these sites dif­fer­ent­ly every time, hence spread­ing out a num­ber of unclear remem­ber this”-tags in sev­er­al dif­fer­ent places. This makes it hard to find them lat­er on since there are so many places to look in. And in addi­tion to that, these mark­ings or high­lights can mean dif­fer­ent things. Some we tag because we just want to find it a bit faster lat­er on, oth­ers because we want to do some­thing with them in the near future, and some­thing else gets high­light­ed because what we read was inter­est­ing and it might prove use­ful at some point”. The unclar­i­ty makes it eas­i­er to for­get the things we want to get done, since we just cre­at­ed one or sev­er­al extra loca­tions with tasks in, in addi­tion to our ordi­nary to-do-list, which is where we usu­al­ly select tasks to do from.

Your one and only way
This is one of those clas­sic sit­u­a­tion where we put some­thing some­where just for now”, that you might rec­og­nize from your own life and per­haps have read about in an ear­li­er edi­tion of Done!.

In order to avoid the incon­ve­nience of hav­ing these poten­tial gems scat­tered all around, we need to decide on one con­sis­tent way in which we will act when com­ing across some­thing inter­est­ing. Let us design our very own found some­thing inter­est­ing online”-process.

How? Well …

Do this

  1. The first thing you need to do is con­cretize the rea­sons why we high­light or save some­thing we find — because there are usu­al­ly sev­er­al rea­sons. Speak­ing for myself (and per­haps you as well) I usu­al­ly tag or save some­thing due to one of the fol­low­ing four reasons:

    a) I thought some­thing looked inter­est­ing and I want to read, see or lis­ten more close­ly lat­er, since I do not have time right now.

    b) I have read some­thing and want to be able to find it again at some point; how­ev­er, I do not know when I will need it, but I want to find it eas­i­ly once I do.

    c) I got an idea from the site or arti­cle I found about some­thing I could do at some point.

    d) What I found remind­ed me of some­thing or gave me an idea to do some­thing I know I want to do soon.

  2. Next, we will decide on the one way we will act when sav­ing some­thing due to each of these rea­sons. It is basi­cal­ly a mat­ter of where we save what we have found. This is the ele­ment of sur­pris­ing dif­fi­cul­ty in this process of ours. It can be hard to choose a loca­tion when there are so many to choose from, but luck­i­ly you do not have to make the per­fect selec­tion on your first go, but can change the loca­tion if it after a while turns out to not be the per­fect one. But we are still sim­pli­fy­ing things for our­selves since we by iso­lat­ing only one loca­tion for every rea­son we want to save things, are mak­ing it con­sid­er­ably eas­i­er to locate what we save lat­er on. As an exam­ple, allow me to share how I have struc­tured my process:

    a) (cor­re­spond­ing to the a)-alternative above) I put these in a read, lis­ten to, watch-pile in the ser­vice Pock­et, where each item gets tagged with a read”, lis­ten to”, or watch”-label. They are left in this dig­i­tal pile until I have time and feel like read­ing, lis­ten­ing to or watch­ing some­thing I pre­vi­ous­ly found, but it should still be OK if I nev­er open these sites or tips ever again.

    b) What I wish to find at some point fur­ther down the line are placed where I keep oth­er ref­er­ence mate­ri­als I need from time to time — mean­ing pri­mar­i­ly amongst my dig­i­tal doc­u­ments (such as pdfs, text files, spread sheets and so on) in fold­ers on my com­put­er. Since I want to save it where I keep sim­i­lar mate­ri­als, I export it in some kind of file, such as a pfd or a short­cut. Yes, it would be faster to just book­mark it, but keep­ing all my ref­er­ence mate­ri­als and infor­ma­tion in one place is more valu­able to me than those extra few sec­onds I spend fil­ing it away in a des­ig­nat­ed place.

    c) Things I might want to do at a future date due to some­thing I found online, I make into a to-do-task that I add to my some­time, maybe”-list in the to-do-list tool I use, which for me is Things.

    d) Final­ly, if there is some­thing I know I def­i­nite­ly want to do that came from some­thing I found online, I for­mu­late a to-do-task describ­ing what I want to do and add it to my to-do-list, since this is the only place I pick things I will do from (that I do not do imme­di­ate­ly, that is). It can even be some­thing I think is impor­tant that I read. If so, I put it on my to-do-list rather than in my to-read-pile. Any­how; that is how I have decid­ed to process all the things I find online. It prob­a­bly isn’t the opti­mal struc­ture, but cur­rent­ly this is the best solu­tion for me.

  3. When you have decid­ed how you will act in each sce­nario, cre­ate a cheat sheet so that you can remind your­self what you have decid­ed on when you need to remem­ber. It will also make it much eas­i­er to act in a con­sis­tent way.

  4. Now go through all the places where you have spread out book­marks, favorites, links and oth­er mate­ri­als you want to access at a lat­er date, and move all the ones you wish to keep to their des­ig­nat­ed loca­tions, throw the ones that are no longer rel­e­vant or inter­est­ing away, and cre­ate to-do-tasks for all the ideas you have got­ten from things you read.

  5. Done!

Find­ing more means fin­ish­ing more
If you design your unequiv­o­cal found some­thing inter­est­ing online”-process and adhere to it con­sis­tent­ly, you will fol­low through on more of the inter­est­ing arti­cles, infor­ma­tion and ideas you find while brows­ing the web. Few­er things get for­got­ten or fall behind. You will get more things down and sim­ply derive more use and plea­sure from the great things you once stum­bled across.

What is your process like?
How does your found some­thing online”-process look like? There are numer­ous tools to help us orga­nize all the infor­ma­tion we are flood­ed with, and per­haps you have found a way, ser­vice or tool that I am unaware of, so feel free to share in a comment. 

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