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Top 10 Ways to Use del.icio.us

Top 10 Ways to Use del.icio.us
del.icio.us

Del.icio.us is an excellent system for archiving your favorite information from across the Net, tracking hot topics, and discovering new and useful sites. The power of del.icio.us comes in the form of it’s “collective intelligence”, which is constantly adding, reviewing, and filtering new information.

The community of del.icio.us allows you to find some of the best resources on the Internet without having to trudge through all of the junk.

It also gives you a centralized management system for organizing information from around the Net. However, many people are unaware of it’s complete list of features and valuable add-ons.
Here are 10 ways that you can use del.icio.us to its full potential.

1. Del.icio.us Firefox Extension
Del.icio.us Firefox Extension should be the number-one del.icio.us tool on your list. It allows you to quickly and easily add sites you like to del.icio.us with a bookmarklet. This tool puts a “My del.icio.us” button at the top of your browser, allowing you to view your save pages at the click of a button.

It also adds a “Tag this” button to the top of your browser, which allows you to bookmark websites while you’re browsing the Web.

If you use Internet Explorer, download this Internet Explorer Extension.

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This Firefox Extension has saved me tons of keyboard time.

2. Desktop Shortcut for Delicious
Having to visit the del.icio.us website each time you want to access your bookmarks can be a time-consuming process. Why not plug your bookmarks into your desktop for easy access. You can do this with Delwin for Windows and Delibar for the Mac.

3. Increase Your Search Powers.
There are a variety of ways to search del.icio.us.

To view bookmarks tagged with a specific keyword, type in:
http://del.icio.us/tag/keyword

To view bookmarks tagged with two or more keywords, type in:
http://del.icio.us/tag/keyword+keyword

So for example, if I wanted to look for sites about organization and GTD, I would type in:
http://del.icio.us/tag/organization+GTD

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If I wanted to narrow the search even further, I could include four terms:
http://del.icio.us/tag/organization+GTD+office+tools

If you are looking for the most popular sites in any category, than simply type in:
http://del.icio.us/rss/popular/TAGNAME

So if you are trying to find the most popular sites related to GTD, you would type in:
http://del.icio.us/rss/popular/GTD

4. Bookmark from Google Reader
If you’re a fan of Google Reader, then you’ll definitely want to start using Google Reader + del.icio.us. This is a Greasemonkey script that puts an “add to del.icio.us” button at the bottom of each post in Google Reader. With a single click, you will be able to transfer interesting posts from Google Reader into your del.icio.us bookmark collection.

5. Bundle Your Tags
Does your tag cloud look like a huge, disorganized mess. Bundle those tags into related categories for easy access. To organize your tags into bundles, click on the “Settings” link in the top right-hand corner.

From this page, click on “bundle tags” under the tags heading and start creating your own bundles.

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Of course, if you’re not into the whole bundling idea, then you can always just use the search box in the upper right hand corner of del.icio.us.

If you want to limit your search to specific tags, then use the prefix “tag:”. An example for all you productivity junkies might be “tag:gtd”.

6. Newsmasher

Here’s a cool Greasemonkey script called Newsmasher that places a small “del.icio.us” tag on the upper left corner of your browser. When clicked, a small window appears displaying what del.icio.us users are writing about the page you are viewing.

This is a great way to get some quick feedback on any website you’re visiting. Quickly find out if people are giving it a virtual “thumbs up” or “thumbs down”.

7. Use the Inbox
Navigate to http://del.icio.us/inbox. Here you can subscribe to various tags or specific users. This is an excellent way to discover new sites that you may enjoy. It almost reminds me a bit of StumbleUpon. Based on the preferences you submit, you will be given a flow of new items to check out.

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8. A variety of del.icio.us Uses
You can use del.icio.us in a number of exciting and interesting ways. Here are a few examples
to get you started:

  • Bookmark movies you want to see
  • Travel planning
  • Bookmark books you want to read
  • Bookmark things you want to blog about
  • Research

9. Publish Your del.icio.us Bookmarks on Your Website.
In addition to all that, you can also share your latest del.icio.us bookmarks on your websites for all of your readers to enjoy. You can do this using Linkrolls and Tagrolls.

Linkrolls display your latest del.icio.us bookmarks while tagrolls display all of your del.icio.us tags in a tag cloud.

You can see these unique features in action at this blog . His bookmarks are on the left and his tags are on the right.

10. Creative Tagging
My final tip is based on a bit of creative tagging. For my most important tags, I place an “@” in front of them. This moves them up to the very top of my tag list. So, for example, for books that I want to read in the future, I have a tag labeled @books. This simple trick allows me to place my most important tags at the very top of the tag list.

If you know of any other del.icio.us tips, please add them in the comments.

Kim Roach is a productivity junkie who blogs regularly at The Optimized Life. Read her articles on 50 EssentialGTD Resources, How to Have a 46 Hour Day, Do You Need
a Braindump
, What They Don’t Teach You in School, andFree Yourself From the Inbox.

More by this author

How To Study Effectively: 7 Simple Tips How to Live on a Tight Budget Top 10 Ways to Use del.icio.us Top 20 Free Applications to Increase Your Productivity 101 Steps to Becoming a Better Blogger

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Last Updated on October 22, 2020

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

8 Simple Ways to Be a Better Listener

How would you feel if you were sharing a personal story and noticed that the person to whom you were speaking wasn’t really listening? You probably wouldn’t be too thrilled.

Unfortunately, that is the case for many people. Most individuals are not good listeners. They are good pretenders. The thing is, true listening requires work—more work than people are willing to invest. Quality conversation is about “give and take.” Most people, however, want to just give—their words, that is. Being on the receiving end as the listener may seem boring, but it’s essential.

When you are attending to someone and paying attention to what they’re saying, it’s a sign of caring and respect. The hitch is that attending requires an act of will, which sometimes goes against what our minds naturally do—roaming around aimlessly and thinking about whatnot, instead of listening—the greatest act of thoughtfulness.

Without active listening, people often feel unheard and unacknowledged. That’s why it’s important for everyone to learn how to be a better listener.

What Makes People Poor Listeners?

Good listening skills can be learned, but first, let’s take a look at some of the things that you might be doing that makes you a poor listener.

1. You Want to Talk to Yourself

Well, who doesn’t? We all have something to say, right? But when you are looking at someone pretending to be listening while, all along, they’re mentally planning all the amazing things they’re going to say, it is a disservice to the speaker.

Yes, maybe what the other person is saying is not the most exciting thing in the world. Still, they deserve to be heard. You always have the ability to steer the conversation in another direction by asking questions.

It’s okay to want to talk. It’s normal, even. Keep in mind, however, that when your turn does come around, you’ll want someone to listen to you.

2. You Disagree With What Is Being Said

This is another thing that makes you an inadequate listener—hearing something with which you disagree with and immediately tuning out. Then, you lie in wait so you can tell the speaker how wrong they are. You’re eager to make your point and prove the speaker wrong. You think that once you speak your “truth,” others will know how mistaken the speaker is, thank you for setting them straight, and encourage you to elaborate on what you have to say. Dream on.

Disagreeing with your speaker, however frustrating that might be, is no reason to tune them out and ready yourself to spew your staggering rebuttal. By listening, you might actually glean an interesting nugget of information that you were previously unaware of.

3. You Are Doing Five Other Things While You’re “Listening”

It is impossible to listen to someone while you’re texting, reading, playing Sudoku, etc. But people do it all the time—I know I have.

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I’ve actually tried to balance my checkbook while pretending to listen to the person on the other line. It didn’t work. I had to keep asking, “what did you say?” I can only admit this now because I rarely do it anymore. With work, I’ve succeeded in becoming a better listener. It takes a great deal of concentration, but it’s certainly worth it.

If you’re truly going to listen, then you must: listen! M. Scott Peck, M.D., in his book The Road Less Travel, says, “you cannot truly listen to anyone and do anything else at the same time.” If you are too busy to actually listen, let the speaker know, and arrange for another time to talk. It’s simple as that!

4. You Appoint Yourself as Judge

While you’re “listening,” you decide that the speaker doesn’t know what they’re talking about. As the “expert,” you know more. So, what’s the point of even listening?

To you, the only sound you hear once you decide they’re wrong is, “Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!” But before you bang that gavel, just know you may not have all the necessary information. To do that, you’d have to really listen, wouldn’t you? Also, make sure you don’t judge someone by their accent, the way they sound, or the structure of their sentences.

My dad is nearly 91. His English is sometimes a little broken and hard to understand. People wrongly assume that he doesn’t know what he’s talking about—they’re quite mistaken. My dad is a highly intelligent man who has English as his second language. He knows what he’s saying and understands the language perfectly.

Keep that in mind when listening to a foreigner, or someone who perhaps has a difficult time putting their thoughts into words.

Now, you know some of the things that make for an inferior listener. If none of the items above resonate with you, great! You’re a better listener than most.

How To Be a Better Listener

For conversation’s sake, though, let’s just say that maybe you need some work in the listening department, and after reading this article, you make the decision to improve. What, then, are some of the things you need to do to make that happen? How can you be a better listener?

1. Pay Attention

A good listener is attentive. They’re not looking at their watch, phone, or thinking about their dinner plans. They’re focused and paying attention to what the other person is saying. This is called active listening.

According to Skills You Need, “active listening involves listening with all senses. As well as giving full attention to the speaker, it is important that the ‘active listener’ is also ‘seen’ to be listening—otherwise, the speaker may conclude that what they are talking about is uninteresting to the listener.”[1]

As I mentioned, it’s normal for the mind to wander. We’re human, after all. But a good listener will rein those thoughts back in as soon as they notice their attention waning.

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I want to note here that you can also “listen” to bodily cues. You can assume that if someone keeps looking at their watch or over their shoulder, their focus isn’t on the conversation. The key is to just pay attention.

2. Use Positive Body Language

You can infer a lot from a person’s body language. Are they interested, bored, or anxious?

A good listener’s body language is open. They lean forward and express curiosity in what is being said. Their facial expression is either smiling, showing concern, conveying empathy, etc. They’re letting the speaker know that they’re being heard.

People say things for a reason—they want some type of feedback. For example, you tell your spouse, “I had a really rough day!” and your husband continues to check his newsfeed while nodding his head. Not a good response.

But what if your husband were to look up with questioning eyes, put his phone down, and say, “Oh, no. What happened?” How would feel, then? The answer is obvious.

According to Alan Gurney,[2]

“An active listener pays full attention to the speaker and ensures they understand the information being delivered. You can’t be distracted by an incoming call or a Facebook status update. You have to be present and in the moment.

Body language is an important tool to ensure you do this. The correct body language makes you a better active listener and therefore more ‘open’ and receptive to what the speaker is saying. At the same time, it indicates that you are listening to them.”

3. Avoid Interrupting the Speaker

I am certain you wouldn’t want to be in the middle of a sentence only to see the other person holding up a finger or their mouth open, ready to step into your unfinished verbiage. It’s rude and causes anxiety. You would, more than likely, feel a need to rush what you’re saying just to finish your sentence.

Interrupting is a sign of disrespect. It is essentially saying, “what I have to say is much more important than what you’re saying.” When you interrupt the speaker, they feel frustrated, hurried, and unimportant.

Interrupting a speaker to agree, disagree, argue, etc., causes the speaker to lose track of what they are saying. It’s extremely frustrating. Whatever you have to say can wait until the other person is done.

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Be polite and wait your turn!

4. Ask Questions

Asking questions is one of the best ways to show you’re interested. If someone is telling you about their ski trip to Mammoth, don’t respond with, “that’s nice.” That would show a lack of interest and disrespect. Instead, you can ask, “how long have you been skiing?” “Did you find it difficult to learn?” “What was your favorite part of the trip?” etc. The person will think highly of you and consider you a great conversationalist just by you asking a few questions.

5. Just Listen

This may seem counterintuitive. When you’re conversing with someone, it’s usually back and forth. On occasion, all that is required of you is to listen, smile, or nod your head, and your speaker will feel like they’re really being heard and understood.

I once sat with a client for 45 minutes without saying a word. She came into my office in distress. I had her sit down, and then she started crying softly. I sat with her—that’s all I did. At the end of the session, she stood, told me she felt much better, and then left.

I have to admit that 45 minutes without saying a word was tough. But she didn’t need me to say anything. She needed a safe space in which she could emote without interruption, judgment, or me trying to “fix” something.

6. Remember and Follow Up

Part of being a great listener is remembering what the speaker has said to you, then following up with them.

For example, in a recent conversation you had with your co-worker Jacob, he told you that his wife had gotten a promotion and that they were contemplating moving to New York. The next time you run into Jacob, you may want to say, “Hey, Jacob! Whatever happened with your wife’s promotion?” At this point, Jacob will know you really heard what he said and that you’re interested to see how things turned out. What a gift!

According to new research, “people who ask questions, particularly follow-up questions, may become better managers, land better jobs, and even win second dates.”[3]

It’s so simple to show you care. Just remember a few facts and follow up on them. If you do this regularly, you will make more friends.

7. Keep Confidential Information Confidential

If you really want to be a better listener, listen with care. If what you’re hearing is confidential, keep it that way, no matter how tempting it might be to tell someone else, especially if you have friends in common. Being a good listener means being trustworthy and sensitive with shared information.

Whatever is told to you in confidence is not to be revealed. Assure your speaker that their information is safe with you. They will feel relieved that they have someone with whom they can share their burden without fear of it getting out.

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Keeping someone’s confidence helps to deepen your relationship. Also, “one of the most important elements of confidentiality is that it helps to build and develop trust. It potentially allows for the free flow of information between the client and worker and acknowledges that a client’s personal life and all the issues and problems that they have belong to them.”[4]

Be like a therapist: listen and withhold judgment.

NOTE: I must add here that while therapists keep everything in a session confidential, there are exceptions:

  1. If the client may be an immediate danger to himself or others.
  2. If the client is endangering a population that cannot protect itself, such as in the case of a child or elder abuse.

8. Maintain Eye Contact

When someone is talking, they are usually saying something they consider meaningful. They don’t want their listener reading a text, looking at their fingernails, or bending down to pet a pooch on the street. A speaker wants all eyes on them. It lets them know that what they’re saying has value.

Eye contact is very powerful. It can relay many things without anything being said. Currently, it’s more important than ever with the Covid-19 Pandemic. People can’t see your whole face, but they can definitely read your eyes.

By eye contact, I don’t mean a hard, creepy stare—just a gaze in the speaker’s direction will do. Make it a point the next time you’re in a conversation to maintain eye contact with your speaker. Avoid the temptation to look anywhere but at their face. I know it’s not easy, especially if you’re not interested in what they’re talking about. But as I said, you can redirect the conversation in a different direction or just let the person know you’ve got to get going.

Final Thoughts

Listening attentively will add to your connection with anyone in your life. Now, more than ever, when people are so disconnected due to smartphones and social media, listening skills are critical.

You can build better, more honest, and deeper relationships by simply being there, paying attention, and asking questions that make the speaker feel like what they have to say matters.

And isn’t that a great goal? To make people feel as if they matter? So, go out and start honing those listening skills. You’ve got two great ears. Now use them!

More Tips on How to Be a Better Listener

Featured photo credit: Joshua Rodriguez via unsplash.com

Reference

[1] Skills You Need: Active Listening
[2] Filtered: Body language for active listening
[3] Forbes: People Will Like You More If You Start Asking Follow-up Questions
[4] TAFE NSW Sydney eLearning Moodle: Confidentiality

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