Disorganization and confusion can be two of the worst, if not most underrated, enemies of the Internet marketer. Yet, in the battle against complexity, our most powerful tool is its opposite – simplicity.
Some tools are so simple, that it’s easy to overlook how powerful they can become. Here is an example of one.
If you don’t feel like buying a hundred fridges to store all of your virtual post-its, notes, lists, plans, ideas, links, and other tidbits of vital information, there are some simple and user-friendly alternatives.
- Each outline in the program has its own tab along the top, and you can click on different tabs to navigate between different outlines.
- Within each outline there is a “tree” hierarchy of nodes long the left hand side, where you can list out items, and assign sub-categories and “sub-nodes” below each “root item.” You click to expand and contract, just as you would in a file structure in Windows Explorer.
- On the right hand side of the screen is an area where you can enter your notes, data, or even entire articles, to correspond with each node. This area includes basic formatting options. So for example, if you have a “to do list” which includes a list of articles you want to write, you can write the articles themselves right there in your “to do list.”
- As you can see from the screenshot, you can have several outlines open at the same time, each with their own hierarchy of notes. This means you can basically access all of your outlines through one desktop shortcut.
- Most of the navigation can be done with a few keys – such as Enter, Insert, Tab, Delete, F2, and Space Bar.
- You can flag items with different colors, or mark them as “done.” You can drag and drop items to different nodes or even different outlines, and use the arrow keys to move items up, down, left, and right.
- You can save all changes to all outlines, with one click.
- If you restart your computer, the next time you open Action Outline, all of your open tabs will be automatically restored exactly as they were when you left them.
Examples of Items and Data I Store in this Program:
- Project and task management lists (formerly I used another software for this). This includes everything – Internet marketing projects, organizational actions, educational steps, offline activities, personal tasks, financial sort-outs, computer fixups, article submissions, blog posts to write, as well as every detail and upgrade to handle for each of my too-many websites. All categorized and easy to find and remember.
- Lists of incomplete articles and blog posts (with all relevant links, data, and the articles themselves, included beside each item.)
- Lists of important links and resources – much easier to use and navigate than just using my browser’s bookmarks.
- Lists of data relating to WordPress – themes I am considering for different blogs, plugins I use for different purposes, ping lists, fixups, upgrades to be done, etc.
- Codes for websites (widgets, tracking codes, etc)
- Affiliate links (including code for image links, etc) and links to affiliate products I am considering promoting
- Wish lists and shopping lists
- A daily “done” list. Every time I complete an action on my project list, I drag and drop it into the node for today’s date.
- Miscellaneous Promotional Strategies
More Examples of Use:
- Plan and structure a website before building it – Lay out each page and subpage in outline form, with notes on which articles, keywords, ads, and images you will use on each page. (I had a software program just for this formerly).
- If you are a freelancer you can keep track of each client and the status of each freelance project you are working on.
- Take notes of important information you learn in eBooks, videos, or online courses – and find your notes easily later on.
- Track your progress a home-study course you are taking.
- When you have an item on your “to do list” which includes writing (“email Joe about …. ” or “write a blog post about …”) you can start writing it right there, within the outline, in the text area beside that item. There is no need to clutter your desktop with incomplete documents, letters, or articles, nor to lose them within the far reaches of your file structure.
- When you encounter a link relating to a project you are working on, you can simply note it down in the outline for that project and come back to it at the right moment. For example, you are working on Website A. You come across a link which gives a good promotional strategy for Website B. Instead of stopping your work on Website A to sign up for this new service related to Website B, you can finish what you are doing and go back to that link the next time you are working on Website B. You don’t have to worry that you might forget to return to that link. This is far easier than relying only on your browser’s bookmarks or favorites, which can become unwieldy for this purpose.
- You can keep a daily record of what you completed and accomplished that day. At the bottom of your “to do list,” create a group of nodes called “Projects Done.” Label the subnodes by date. Every day, create a new node with today’s date. Whenever you complete a task, check it off as done, and also drag and drop it into today’s “Done List.” This can be very important for later analysis and time management. For example, if your income increases or decreases, you might want to see what actions you took before that change occurred, so that you can prioritize your schedule appropriately.
Since I have begun using this software, I have noticed my general productivity increasing. I also tend to get more work done on the more vital projects, and waste less time. I also don’t “forget about important things.” Because these outlines and lists can be accessed and modified in about three seconds, they make a tremendous difference in my overall productivity.
By organizing all of my project and task lists by category, flagging them, prioritizing them, and making it possible to see “at a glance” exactly what I have on my plate, I make it far easier to confront and and accomplish what needs to be done.
Action Outline comes with a free trial, and is also inexpensive. You might find it useful.