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A Secret to My Productivity Success

Startup-1One of the little tricks that I use every morning when I first log onto my computer that gets me off to a flying start is to open up my ‘StartUp Folder’ on Firefox.

This is a bookmark folder that contains 15 or so key sites that quickly give me an indication of what is going on across my blogging business. Within 60 seconds I know what’s hot, what’s broken, where there’s a fire that needs to be put out and where I can give things a nudge to make them go viral.

Here’s how it works.

Firefox (and other browsers) allows you to arrange your bookmarks via folders and place these folders in your bookmark toolbar across the top of your browser. These folders can be accessed in two main ways:

  • by clicking the folder and selecting a bookmark from the drop down menu
  • by right clicking the folder and selecting ‘Open in All Tabs’ (if you have tabbed browsing turned on).

It’s this second method that I use every morning (and 2-3 times per day).

Inside this folder I have the following items bookmarked:

  • Google Reader (my RSS reader)
  • Earnings Stats - AdSense, Chitika, Amazon, Clickbank (and two or three others)
  • Metrics Stats – Google Analytics and Sitemeter for my key sites
  • b5media Pages – Dashboard (we have a cool dashboard that gives us a glance at the whole network’s performance on one page) and Forums
  • Blog Pages – I have it set to open to ‘awaiting moderation’ page in the back end
  • Forum – DPS Forum

I find that by opening all these pages at once in tabs I’m able to quickly get a handle on what’s going on across my blogs and am able to immediately set my agenda for the next session of work.

For example I logged on this morning to find a post had gone up on the main page of Digg and was able to modify that post to make the blog more sticky. This afternoon I noticed a hot topic in forums that I needed to step into. Last night I noticed one of my blogs was down on traffic and was able to track down a little problem in one of my templates that was slowing things down.

PS: I also use these types of folders to cluster other types of websites together. I have one for ‘metrics’ that opens up all of my blogs stats, one for ‘affiliate programs’ which opens up the earnings for all affiliate programs, one for ‘blogs’ which opens the front page of all my blogs, one for ‘edit blogs’ which opens the admin/back end of all my blogs and one for ‘b5′ that contains key pages from b5.

While I use many of these bookmark folders via method #1 above (ie opening pages once at a time) there are times when I use the ‘open in all tabs’ option to do a sweeping check of everything at once.

PS2 – The reason Google Reader is in my StartUp folder is because at the top of my list of folders of feeds is my A-list. I leave this folder open and fill it with feeds that are essential reading and that have a history of breaking stories in the niches that I write about. This means that when I do my ‘startup’ process I immediately know if a story is breaking in my niche that I need to cover. I’ve outlined how I use my A-list previously if you’d like to read more about it.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. Hari says:

    I do similar stuff every morning. Everytime, i open my computer, i go to my Netvibes(homepage) page. I have all my feeds over there distributed over many tabs.

    Then i visit my Awstats page to know my traffic and also to Google analytics page. Then i go to Adsense, CPX I, Chitika, My own site’s admin panel to check new tuts.

  2. UkstevieB says:

    In Firefox you can also set your whole StartUp-Folder as your “home page” so they will open up on launch and save yourself a few clicks. ;-)

  3. 45n5 says:

    awesome tip… you would think after waking up every morning and typing in the same urls to check on things, day after day, this would have dawned on me before, but it didn’t

    thanks

  4. Ali says:

    Yep this is a very effective method, have been using it myself for months now and everything is organized from my affiliate sites, to my personal sites, to my accounting things etc….

    Firefox rules!

  5. Peter Cooper says:

    I use NetVibes to do the same thing. You can put a lot of your external pages into windows within NetVibes, along with your feeds, domain tools, and all manner of stuff (e-mail, weather, etc.) so it becomes a one-stop dashboard. Total productivity improver!

  6. LearningNerd says:

    Yeah, I recently figured out that you can set multiple homepage tabs in Firefox, and I love it! It’s perfect for me, because I keep some tabs open all the time.

    Also, a great plugin I use for Firefox is Scrapbook. It works as a way to bookmark stuff, make notes, and save websites so that you can highlight them and make notes on them and access them offline. I couldn’t live without it!

  7. Bruce says:

    Would be neat if you could share more about the problem you had with templates, in case we might have a similar problem (I use the Cutline Theme on WP 2.0 and have made no changes to it, so I doubt that I have a template problem, but …. )

    Thanks for the interesting post. I will try to mimic some of your setup.

  8. Daniel says:

    This is a great idea. I actually just have everythin gin my bookmarks, but i have so many bookmarks I got to find what im looking for.

  9. TheAnand says:

    Thats great news, i always like this kind of information. i have to try this tip…i do use about 5 sites in open all in tabs section named “daily checks” i have to update it now…

  10. That’s a GREAT tip, Darren. If only we had Firefox access at the office. I’m going to set that up on my Firefox at home tonight.

    Netvibes is my portal to the world here, but I am left to use my Links bar in IE to open all of my important sites.

  11. Ginene says:

    Wow you are very organized and much too advanced for me. :) The only thing I do everyday is check sitemeter, technorati and search my site on google, yahoo and msn to see if I have any more pages indexed.

  12. What post went up on Digg?

  13. Martin Muehl says:

    You can do the same thing with IE7, btw. Really useful for clustering websites you want to check regularly.

  14. Dollar Short says:

    Opening multiple bookmarks is something that I had never heard of. I use Opera and noticed that it has the same capability. This is something that will save me a ton of time in the long run. Thanks.

  15. Glenn Wolsey says:

    Any chance we could see a picture of your setup Darren? Or even a screenshot of your working environment. Thanks.

  16. The Geek says:

    You should know that you can also middle-click the folder to open all links in tabs.

    Saves an extra mouse-click. That’s 1 second per day, or 4 hours over the next 40 years. =P

  17. I personally have Firefox simply reopen whatever I was looking at when the browser last closed or crashed :( . To make it even better, I use the Session Manager extension, which saves me from losing everything when I think I’ve closed the browser window, but there was a popup window I forgot about.

  18. jhay says:

    Neat! This could be a solution to using Google home pages.

  19. WeblogHits says:

    I like this technique but recently have started using Netvibes and LOVE IT!!! I have all my blog feeds, goals, blog resources, podcasts all accessible from my netvibes.

    So Darren, I would suggest adding Netvibes as one of your tabs and give it a shot and see how ya like it…

  20. Bret says:

    That really is a great way to use tabbed browsing. I’ve been using tabbed browsing since I first discovered it with a browser called SlimBrowser. I have since switch to FireFox but must admit I’ve rarely use the open all in tabs option. Looks like you just gave me a good reason to use it more often. thanks

  21. Gdog says:

    Ahh, finally a use for “opening all in new tabs”…thanks for the helpful tip.

  22. Thank you darren for sharing this valuable time saving tip. I cann’t understand about B5 dSHBOARD.

  23. TJantunen says:

    This is very helpfull tip. I have been using tabbed browsing also similar way to track my advertise programs performance. Opening all in new tabs saves a lot of time during a day and by opening all at once, I will not miss any of my programs.

  24. Chad says:

    Darren,
    LOL
    You are counting your money way too much :)

    My bookmarks are:
    - Bank account balance
    - Stock portfolio

    J/k I wish I had money to look at….

  25. stormy says:

    What a great tip! My productivity tip is my home page is an local on my computer HTML file/page that has direct links to every frequently used tool, website, admin entry page etc. I started using this over a year ago and it has made a huge difference. I rarely need to go looking for anything. Now, thanks to this tip, I will drop my morning check-in items into Firefox. Thanks!

  26. MJ Ray says:

    I do something similar, but I use several browsers and I hate tabs (bad user interface). I described it in http://mjr.towers.org.uk/blog/2006/webcss#daily but I’ve moved the real page to a private site because some idiot deep-linked to it as an example of bad accessibility – it was never meant as an example of how to use frames on an ordinary site.

  27. Jenn says:

    Love this tip! I also open the same sites every morning, but I forget about the ‘Open all’ feature. Thanks!

  28. Thanks for the tip Darren,

    I’ve been looking for an efficient way of keeping track of everything!

    Don

  29. I categorized all my bookmarks yesterday/today. Took some time, but now I’m finished. And found the same button (Open in all tabs).
    I thought it could be useful in this way. As you can do all the basic things you need to without forgetting any.
    Plus no url typing of course.

  30. This is something that I’ve been doing myself recently but with other blogs that I read. I group my blogs per a folder and then check them all in one go. I’m not really into too many RSS feeds building up. :)

  31. andrej says:

    Yeah, I’m using this the Firefox toolbars, too. It’s a great tool and browsing is much more easier and faster.

Trackbacks

  1. [...] have been a fan of Mozilla Firefox since day one. Reading on Problogger, Darren reveals his “Secrets to Productivity Success”. This got me to thinking of the things that I do when it comes to starting my blogging day. [...]

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