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With so many websites out there that can serve as distractions from your work, it is easy to forget that online resources can actually improve your productivity. The Internet offers a wealth of helpful sites that make it easier for you to manage your time, organize your to-do list and improve your personal effectiveness in general. Sign out of Facebook, put that YouTube video on pause and check out one of these fantastic websites instead.

1. TeuxDeux
If you are the type of person who has a dozen scraps of paper scattered across your desk with reminders of tasks you need to complete, you need a simple, user-friendly way of organizing your to-do list. TeuxDeux is a bare bones, easy-to-use organizing tool that you can access through your regular Internet browser and your iPhone. Simply add your tasks to a date, then you can edit, move, check off or delete them as you progress. You can review a week at a time, as well as jump to a future date and maintain a “someday” list for tasks or ideas that aren’t time-sensitive.

2. LeechBlock
Sometimes you need to stay one step ahead of yourself to maintain your personal effectiveness. If you have a tendency to get pulled into certain websites that derail your productivity, such as social media sites, online newspapers and personal email accounts, there is a new Firefox application that will keep you focused and disciplined. You can specify up to six websites that you would like to block from your Internet browser during certain hours of the day (for example, from 9 to 5, if those are your normal working hours), eliminating the temptation to waste time.

3. Action Method
Use Action Method to organize your professional and personal life by separating every project into action steps (specific tasks), references (links, notes or other info), backburners (great ideas you aren’t ready to pursue yet), discussions and events. Download the free basic plan and create up to 50 action steps at once, as well as collaborate easily with colleagues who are working on the same projects.

4. Evernote
If you have a hard time keeping up with your thoughts, ideas and plans, Evernote can help you keep it all neatly organized in one place. Capture written notes, computer screen shots, photos, web links and then tag them an organize them into different notebooks. Everything is searchable by keyword, tag and title so you can always find what you need and can maximize your personal effectiveness.

5. iGoogle
Instead of trying to sort through a long list of bookmarked websites or keeping 20 browser tabs open at a time, use a personalized iGoogle homepage to keep track of the information you use most frequently. Customize different widgets– including Gmail, news alerts, blog RSS feeds, weather forecasts, world clocks and word-of-the day calendars.

What websites do you use to increase your personal effectiveness? List your suggestions in the comments section.

Learn more about EDSI’s Increasing Personal Effectiveness course.

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