Increase Focus and Productivity with these Online Tools

In February CNN asked, “How Can We Cope with Information Overload?” The point of their article was to comment on the incredible state of information management one needs to perform in today’s environment of RSS feeds, blog posts, and social streams. To combat the pressure of information overload I’ve started this series of posts and plan to share a short list of tools and resources to help the online aficionado maintain high productivity and focus.

Decreasing the Noise, Dialing in on the Signal

I’ll start by saying, “there are a fair number of quality articles available that present solid advice on disconnecting and gaining focus in the hyper-active world of the social media practitioner and user.” Obviously, disconnecting for a long period of time isn’t always possible.

Some tools to consider…

Tungle.Me A Real-Time Calendar with Collaborative Features.

“Scheduling Made Easy” is a scheduling application that connects with your existing calendar. Invite others to schedule with you, without having to sign up. Easily schedule meetings, inside or outside your organization. Eliminate double-bookings, time zone mishaps and the back-and-forth of finding a time to meet.

“ lets my friends and family see my calendar and add new events to it in a way that leaves me in total control. It’s a HUGE productivity increasing service!”
– Robert Scoble

RescueTime You Can Monitor the Time You Spend on Websites, Applications, and More.

RescueTime is a web-based time management and analytics tool for knowledge workers who want to be more efficient and productive. Find out more at Rescue Time.

RescueTime Time Tracking Overview from Tony Wright on Vimeo.

“…for those who are serious about increasing their efficiency and finally getting a handle on their technology-driven life. I give RescueTime an A+…” – The Tech Brief

Gist A Digital Rolodex with Influence Scores and User Data
I’ve written about Gist once before, now there is an android (as well as an iPhone) app to help you monitor your closest contacts. This really is a great application for seeing who I’m interacting with through my days; and it provides some great insights to help one better manage their time. Find out more about Gist and how it can help you simplify life online.

Gist overview by CEO T.A. McCann from Robert Pease on Vimeo.

“Gist allows me to cut through the noise and manage my contacts directly. I am able to monitor what matters… the relationship.”
Kevin Spidel

Post Rank Save Time and Increase Focus on What Matters with this in-board Article Grader

PostRank (formerly RSSAide) provides [for FireFox users] a way to grade existing feeds to help identify important articles in a users RSS reader. Basically, an in-the reader tool that places numbers from 1 to 10 next to content articles whether they be blog posts, news articles, podcasts, anything sent to you through an RSS feed. The grade allows you to see at a moment’s glance which articles are trending well, and which aren’t as well received. While no filter is quite like the human filter, PostRank provides a valuable service to those interested in maximizing productivity and time.

The PostRank data service can be used in many different ways. One example is filtering existing feeds to reduce the quantity of items a feed reader is presented. PostRank helps you engage with information that interests you. Read what matters and learn as much or as little as you want about topics, from every little bit to just the hottest news.

I hope you find something here that you’re able to use. The tools – like so much of the online space – do continue to evolve to better support user needs. If you have tools that you save time with please let us know about them. This is the first installment in a series of posts to discuss the use of filters in today’s online experience. Thanks for reading; and here’s to staying organized online!


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