HOW TO: Increase Productivity with Browser Bookmarklets

It’s always an eye-opening experience to learn that not everyone religiously follows technology blogs on a daily basis.  Just last week I was having dinner with some colleges and I realized that many of the things I do to save time online and be more efficient aren’t known to a larger audience outside the tech geek set.  I didn’t start writing to provide a forum on tips, tricks, and hacks– but I do want to share information with organizers and activists that can potentially save them time and energy throughout the day doing things they’re already doing more efficiently.  So with that, I introduce what is, for me, the most time-saving tip for sharing and saving information in my browser- the bookmarklet.

Bookmarklets are simply links that are saved in your bookmarks toolbar- a place where most people save links to websites you visit throughout the day.  Although having these website links are great for quick and easy access, there’s a whole lot more possibility to save time by using these links for bookmarklets.

Say you want to share an interesting article on facebook or twitter.  Without bookmarklets, you’ll have to copy the URL address, mozy on over to facebook, paste the link into your profile, and click share.  With the facebook or twitter bookmarklet, when you’re on the page you want to share, you simply click the bookmarklet– and voila, information shared.  To use a bookmarklet, just find one for the service you’re using, and drag it into your bookmarks toolbar. In addition to sharing, bookmarklets provide an easy way to save information for later viewing- whether you use delicious or instapaper as your preferred tool.  It’s amazing how much time you can save by using bookmarklets.

For those who are more visual learners, check out this quick screencast I made on installing and using bookmarklets:

I use a variety of bookmarklets on a near-daily basis.  They save time and make sharing and saving as easy as a click of the mouse.  I’ve listed below some links to find a bookmarklet for the services you might use- just click on the bookmarklet for the link.

Everyone knows and loves Facebook. But to more quickly and easily share content and links on your profile, bookmarklets are the way to go.

The new Twitter bookmarklet is great because they automatically shorten your URL with twitter’s URL-shortening service, t.co.  A lot of time and energy is saved with this automated shortening.

I use Bit.ly to shorten links, and see how popular these links have been on twitter and facebook.  They provide an easy-to-use service, but also an analysis on how many people clicked your links after sharing.  It’s worth creating an account just to access these statistics.

I’ve recently begun using Instapaper to save links and posts I find across the web that I’d either like to save for later, or reference back to in the future. They provide a dead-simple interface for saving and accessing your favorites, and makes sense for people using more than one browser or machine throughout the day.

I just discovered Notes for Later, and it’s an amazingly simple service that sends a link and note to your e-mail address.  Whether you’re on a page and want to write about it later, need to save information you find, or simply find inspiration on something that’s in a post– you click the bookmarklet and you’re emailed a link and note to the story. Super simple, and super efficient.

A lot of people still use Delicious to save links across platforms, browsers, and machines– and they provide a useful service for those seeking to add more data to each link they save (like tags).

Evernote is probably one of the few services that folks across the tech-web absolutely rave about, yet I still haven’t found a helpful use for the service. Basically, it’s a locker for all your information- a place to store links, notes, pictures, and pretty much anything else.  So, for all you Evernote fans, here’s the bookmarklet.

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