Saturday, October 4, 2008

Thing 8: Of Dates and Lists

In this Thing, we're going to take a look at some fun and functional tools for keeping track of your life online.

Another of Google's many services is Google Calendar. From doctors' appointments to class assignments, Calendar lets you update your schedule from any internet connection. Adding and changing events is as easy as clicking and typing, and you can set reminders to poke you, via a pop-up window or email.

If you choose to, you can share your calendar with friends, family or anyone else who needs to see what you're up to. Depending on what you're using your calendar for, you can make it public to the general world, or invite only a few select people to view it. Many organizations include a calendar in their website to keep customers or members current on events and schedule changes; clicking on the event title in the calendar brings you additional information, directions, contact info and more.

Discovery Activity:
Set up a Google Calendar and share it with me. Just as you did with Google Reader in Thing 7, you'll find the link to the Calendar service in the upper left corner of your Gmail page. Click on the link, fill in the appropriate information and you're set.

Once you've got a few things scheduled, click on the Settings link under the "My Calendar" box. In the list that comes up, you'll see a link to "Share this Calendar" next. Click on that and share your calendar with "boston26dot2 @ gmail. com".

Please note that the goal here is to learn to use this tool. For your calendar entries, feel free to use made-up events, national holidays, celebrity birthdays or the storytime schedule at your library. Just something to practice with.


Shifting from managing time to managing tasks, Remember the Milk, Todoist and Toodledo are three tools to help keep your to-do lists organized and available wherever you're online. Depending on which service you use, you can integrate your task manager with your calendar and email to create a personalized complete time management system. Toodledo has thoughtfully provided us with a comparison of some popular tools.

Going one step further, 43 Things, the 1001 Day Project and similar sites take your to-do list into the social web. Rather than a simple checklist of tasks, these sites encourage you to think of long-term or life-time goals. Then, they take that simple list and add the elements of a social network to it, providing you with a virtual community of support, advice and encouragement. Other members of the network cheer you on and you can do the same for them.

There are many other tools out there to improve your efficiency and organization on the web. LifeHacker and 43 Folders are two sites that showcase the newest resources and offer tips and tricks for streamlining your life.

If you'd like to Go the Extra Mile, consider signing up for one of these services and tell us which you chose and why in a blog post.


This is one of our two-Thing weeks, and you've got a little time to catch up and play with what you've discovered so far. Next Monday, we'll get away from all the text and start looking at some pictures with Thing 9: My Friend Flickr.

Housekeeping note: Due to the Jewish holiday and the long weekend, I won't be online as much this coming week as I normally am. Keep emailing me questions and concerns, but understand that I'll be slower to respond than usual. Thank you, and enjoy!

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