Digital Organizing Part 3 – How to easily organize your bookmarks

This is the last of a three-part series on organizing the digital side of your business.

icons of browsers applicationsWhen was the last time you thought about the bookmarks in your browser?

If you’re like me, the bookmarks (or favorites) area in your browser barely gets any attention. In fact, I’m willing to bet your bookmarks list is full of links to unused and forgotten websites. Am I right?

Bookmarking websites can be a very useful and time-saving way to access relevant information on the internet. The purpose of bookmarking is this: as you come across interesting articles or websites, you create a bookmark so can reference it later.

However, for many later never comes. And so, you are left with a long and disorganized list.

Because the bookmarks list is hidden from our view, we never really think about it. It’s sort of like that junk drawer in your office. The reality is what gets noticed, gets organized. Tweet that!

To keep your bookmarks organized, you need to create a system, similar to your filing foundation.

Once it’s in place, accessing that memorable website will be a snap. Using my CLEAR approach (which I use in the CLEAR Your Clutter workbook) here’s how you can easily organize your bookmarks in 5 steps.

Before you begin, back up your bookmarks. This is important because if you inadvertently lose something, you have peace of mind that it has been backed up and you can restore it

1.  Collect

This is about collecting all your bookmarks into one place within your browser of choice. If you only use one browser, then this step is already done.  However, if you use different browsers, each with different bookmarks, you have some work ahead of you.

For consistency, I recommend using one browser only. It makes things easier. However, sometimes you have no choice but to use more than one browser. For example, my accounting application is web-based and doesn’t work in my primary browser, which is Safari. So I have to use Firefox too.

Choose the one browser you want to use and import your bookmarks from your other browsers into that one.

You have now collected all your bookmarks into one area.

2.  Liberate

It’s time to cull your bookmarks. Open your bookmarks list in your browser. Do a quick scan of the websites you have saved and delete any that meet the following criteria:

  • you never or rarely use the bookmark
  • it is outdated or no longer useful or relevant
  • you can’t remember why you bookmarked the website

If you’re not sure whether it should stay or go, create an archive folder and put it in there. You can come back to it later.

Now you’re left with only those bookmarks that are useful and relevant to you.

3.  Establish

This step is about sorting your bookmarks into folders that are intuitive to you. I like to create folders that mirror my digital filing foundation. It keeps things streamlined giving my brain the freedom to think in one organizational way.

My top-level bookmark folders look like this:

Clients –  websites that relate to my clients or their industry.

Operations – websites that help me run my business.

Sales + Marketing – websites focused on selling, marketing, promotion and advertising.

Money – news or reference websites from gurus in the money industry. These are usually websites from money or sales coaches.

Services – websites that inspire ideas for my own service innovations. They also include competitor websites.

For each top-level folder, I may have subfolders. As a rule I keep subfolders to a minimum. Too many layers and the system gets messy and confused.

4.  Assign

This step is about assigning a home for your bookmarks. Not all your bookmarks will “live” out of sight in folders.  There are some bookmarks that you use frequently and therefore want within easy reach. Enter the bookmarks toolbar. It’s the strip along the top of your browser window.

Move all the websites you use daily or weekly into this toolbar. I keep links to Gmail, my bank, my CRM, WordPress, TeamworkPM etc. This toolbar becomes the dashboard for operating my business.

5.  Review

This is the last step. Go back and take a quick look at your organizational results and ask yourself:

  • Do the folders make sense?
  • Are they in the right order?
  • Are there still too many bookmarks?
  • Are website I use regularly now in my toolbar?

Once you are satisfied with the results, you are done. With a CLEAR bookmark list you can start using your bookmarks more efficiently and effectively.

Now it’s your turn

Is your bookmarks list organized and useful to you? How do you organize your folders? Do you take advantage of the toolbar? Share your comments below and continue the conversation.

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