Wednesday, August 12, 2009

How I Use Zoho To Stay Organized

Disclaimer: This article contains information about a website called Zoho. While I very much like the website, my opinion was not swayed by the company in any way. I was not contacted by the comapny to write about them or was I paid in any way for writing this article. Honestly - I just love this website and find it extremely useful.

One of my biggest problems when doing research is that I am doing research all over the place. I never know when I'll have free time at my boyfriend's house to do a search or when I'll have free time after studying to do a search or two. When I am researching, I used to write everything down on regular lined paper but I didn't always want to lug around all of my paper to all of these different places. I knew I had to come up with another way of doing things.

As I was brainstorming ideas, I remembered a website that my boyfriend's dad told me about: Zoho is a website that provides a huge variety of "collaboration and productivity apps" for free! These apps include a word processor, a spreadsheet creator, a presentation creator, an email service, a notebook (similar to the old Google Notebook), a wiki, a planner, and more! Each of these apps are free of charge and everything you save on there can be accessed anywhere there is an internet connection. This was exactly what I needed.

So I took my the ancestor that I was working on at the time, Friedrich Harney, and began to create my notes in Zoho Writer (the word processor). The sheet I create is unique and fits my needs perfectly because it is 100% adaptable. I included a breakdown of the major events in Friedrich Harney's lifetime, along with a breakdown of the sources for each event. This is extremely helpful since I hadn't picked up my Harney line in a long while and I couldn't exactly remember why I thought certain things about him. On this sheet, I also write about what I need to discover about him and any theories I have about him. This sheet provides me with an "at-a-glance" look at Friedrich Harney as a whole - including what I have on him, what I am missing, and any theories I may have. Another benefit? I can easily print this page out and place it in my notebook.

I also created a research calendar for Friedrich Harney in Zoho Sheet (spreadsheet program). If I wanted to I could create a Zoho Notebook for him that includes "clippings" from different websites. I could use Zoho Chat to collaborate with another researcher without having to download an instant messaging program like AIM or Windows Messenger. The possibilities are huge and adaptable to your needs.

In an age where everyone is beginning to move things online, I highly suggest that you check this website out. You can login with either a Google or Yahoo account, or you can create a Zoho account (I recommend doing this since it is required to have a Zoho account when using their apps in Facebook, etc.).