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6 Ways to Use a Wiki

6 Ways to Use a Wiki

You know how it goes: everyone around you gets all giddy about a new technology, so you go and check it out. Sure, you admit that it looks and feels neat, but then you think, “Well, what will I do with it? I felt that way for a long time about wikis.

The reason was that the most popular wiki out there is Wikipedia. (If you’re not clear on the concept, a wiki is a type of website that allows for easy editing of information, usually by multiple users). Well, that’s a huge implementation. It’s a friken encylopedia, people! So, I just imagined there was nothing much a wiki could offer me. Wrong.

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First, I should state that there are a gazillion interesting implementations and variations on the wiki theme. There are GTD wikis, by the way, and all kinds of other specialized implementations (Have you seen Jot.com?). For my piece, I’ll use PBWiki. Why? Because it’s free (you can pay to upgrade). Because it’s low-effort. Because it’s hosted. You can share your favorite wikis in the comments and explain why.

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  • Resume (CV)– I often stick my full resume up online complete with contact information. It’s useful instead of sending attachments, and I find that I’ve received interesting and useful contact with people, even when I’m not looking for a job. It’s also a good way to remind me to keep the document current, as opposed to fishing around for the Word document and updating it whenever I think about it.
  • Snips of HTML code– I’m lazy, and a little forgetful. There are certain things I need repeatedly that I haven’t built into a form, or that I want to be able to quickly copy/paste to a variety of sources. Using a client-side application means I have to be on my computer at home (or work). I like just having that bit in the wiki for re-use (even if it looks ugly on the wiki when you hit save).
  • Stuff you’ll re-use– Along the lines of the HTML code, I usually like having a picture of me (for various site profiles- flickr, myspace, etc), a quick “bio” part for the “About me” in such profiles, etc. Because I log into lots of stuff and create accounts, instead of using an auto-form thing (which often fails me), I copy/paste from my wiki.
  • Contact Database– I make little wiki spreadsheets for certain types of contact lists. I have a “go to guy” list, where I keep name, email, telephone (if I have it), and specialty for various people I’ve met and befriended online. This way, when I think, “Hmm, how do I go about finding a lawyer to check my terms and conditions,” I can look up my list and pick Matt to ask that question. You could, if you chose, use it for your regular contact list, too.
  • Event Coordination– It worked for Barcamp, and it’s working for PodCamp. Having an open wiki is allowing us to organize an event virtually, and though we keep an email stream and other communication open, the wiki has proved immensely valuable for stuff we’ve stored, stuff we need to reference, and stuff we want to share with everyone else. It’s pretty much the simplest site design tool to use when you have to get lots of people to use one.
  • Parking Lot Items– I have lots of project ideas that I can’t really get to, but that I don’t want to drop altogether. Call it my “someday/maybe” list (to use GTD terms). Those go in my wiki for future review. I usually order them in terms of interest/priority, and then adjust that list once a month or so.
  • BONUS: Tracking– I use the wiki’s basic spreadsheet functions to track simple things, like weight loss, or money spent, or the like, for specific, targeted things. In one, I tracked my expenses for setting up new podcasting gear.

Those are my ideas and thoughts on other ways to use wikis. What are yours? What are you doing with a wiki? Oh, and while we’re at it, check out the Lifehack wiki and contribute. Leon will thank you for it.

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–Chris Brogan writes about self-improvement at [chrisbrogan.com](rss feed). He’s helping organize PodCamp Boston, a FREE unconference in September.

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Last Updated on February 15, 2019

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively

Now that 2011 is well underway and most people have fallen off the bandwagon when it comes to their New Year’s resolutions (myself included), it’s a good time to step back and take an honest look at our habits and the goals that we want to achieve.

Something that I have learned over the past few years is that if you track something, be it your eating habits, exercise, writing time, work time, etc. you become aware of the reality of the situation. This is why most diet gurus tell you to track what you eat for a week so you have an awareness of the of how you really eat before you start your diet and exercise regimen.

Tracking daily habits and progress towards goals is another way to see reality and create a way for you clearly review what you have accomplished over a set period of time. Tracking helps motivate you too; if I can make a change in my life and do it once a day for a period of time it makes me more apt to keep doing it.

So, if you have some goals and habits in mind that need tracked, all you need is a tracking tool. Today we’ll look at 7 different tools to help you keep track of your habits and goals.

Joe’s Goals

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    Joe’s Goals is a web-based tool that allows users to track their habits and goals in an easy to use interface. Users can add as many goals/habits as they want and also check multiple times per day for those “extra productive days”. Something that is unique about Joe’s Goals is the way that you can keep track of negative habits such as eating out, smoking, etc. This can help you visualize the good things that you are doing as well as the negative things that you are doing in your life.

    Joe’s Goals is free with a subscription version giving you no ads and the “latest version” for $12 a year.

    Daytum

      Daytum

      is an in depth way of counting things that you do during the day and then presenting them to you in many different reports and groups. With Daytum you can add several different items to different custom categories such as work, school, home, etc. to keep track of your habits in each focus area of your life.

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      Daytum is extremely in depth and there are a ton of settings for users to tweak. There is a free version that is pretty standard, but if you want more features and unlimited items and categories you’ll need Daytum Plus which is $4 a month.

      Excel or Numbers

        If you are the spreadsheet number cruncher type and the thought of using someone else’s idea of how you should track your habits turns you off, then creating your own Excel/Numbers/Google spreadsheet is the way to go. Not only do you have pretty much limitless ways to view, enter, and manipulate your goal and habit data, but you have complete control over your stuff and can make it private.

        What’s nice about spreadsheets is you can create reports and can customize your views in any way you see fit. Also, by using Dropbox, you can keep your tracker sheets anywhere you have a connection.

        Evernote

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          I must admit, I am an Evernote junky, mostly because this tool is so ubiquitous. There are several ways you can implement habit/goal tracking with Evernote. You won’t be able to get nifty reports and graphs and such, but you will be able to access your goal tracking anywhere your are, be it iPhone, Android, Mac, PC, or web. With Evernote you pretty much have no excuse for not entering your daily habit and goal information as it is available anywhere.

          Evernote is free with a premium version available.

          Access or Bento

            If you like the idea of creating your own tracker via Excel or Numbers, you may be compelled to get even more creative with database tools like Access for Windows or Bento for Mac. These tools allow you to set up relational databases and even give you the option of setting up custom interfaces to interact with your data. Access is pretty powerful for personal database applications, and using it with other MS products, you can come up with some pretty awesome, in depth analysis and tracking of your habits and goals.

            Bento is extremely powerful and user friendly. Also with Bento you can get the iPhone and iPad app to keep your data anywhere you go.

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            You can check out Access and the Office Suite here and Bento here.

            Analog Bonus: Pen and Paper

            All these digital tools are pretty nifty and have all sorts of bells and whistles, but there are some people out there that still swear by a notebook and pen. Just like using spreadsheets or personal databases, pen and paper gives you ultimate freedom and control when it comes to your set up. It also doesn’t lock you into anyone else’s idea of just how you should track your habits.

            Conclusion

            I can’t necessarily recommend which tool is the best for tracking your personal habits and goals, as all of them have their quirks. What I can do however (yes, it’s a bit of a cop-out) is tell you that the tool to use is whatever works best for you. I personally keep track of my daily habits and personal goals with a combo Evernote for input and then a Google spreadsheet for long-term tracking.

            What this all comes down to is not how or what tool you use, but finding what you are comfortable with and then getting busy with creating lasting habits and accomplishing short- and long-term goals.

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