Contract and Employment Questions

Staying Efficient Online

For this week's training tip I wanted to share a handful of tools and resources for staying efficient while working online. After all, you know how easy it is to be distracted by ads, pop-ups, Facebook, videos, music, or a million other distractions that are out there. However, as I started writing down my thoughts, I realized that you all are experts at efficiency. I'm sure you have hundreds of things you could share that are better than what I could share, so I'll impart just one of my favorite tools below, and I encourage you to share your favorite tool or strategy for staying organized, on-task, and efficient in your online work.

Evernote - Evernote is hands-down the best note taking tool I've ever used. It lets me make notes from pictures, websites, emails, handwriting, audio recordings, and regular text input. Then, it indexes my notes for me so that I can search for them anytime. It even recognizes text inside pictures so that I can take a picture note of a whiteboard after a brainstorming session and be able to find that picture again based on the text in the picture.

Evernote is free. It's accessible on the web and has applications for Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, Blackberry, & Windows phone (not that anyone uses one). In other words, you can access any of your notes, anytime, on any device. 

It has plugins for many web browsers that will help you send any part of any web page right to Evernote. It also has reminders built in so that I can take a note and set a reminder or alarm on that note and have it notify my phone and my computer when that item needs to be taken care of.

I use Evernote for taking notes at meetings, as a spiritual journal, as a cookbook, as a task list, and I've even used it to track rank advancements for my Boy Scouts. 

Now it's your turn. Please drop a comment sharing your favorite tools and techniques for staying efficient online.


You need to be a member of BYU-Idaho Online Instruction Community to add comments!

Join BYU-Idaho Online Instruction Community

Email me when people reply –


  • I use a app on my phone called Todoist (but there is a web-based version that syncs--and shows up on your desktop too: I use both--and put it on my tablet too).  It is essentially a simple checklist app.  I use it for various things--but I include a category for BYU-I to remind me of tasks I need to do.  I create repeating tasks for daily things like checking my DB's, email, and Questions & Conversations boards.  I create weekly tasks for the assignments I need to grade.  I also create tasks to remind me to do my preparation tasks for the coming week (announcement, intro vid, and Monday email), check/comment on the Teaching Group forum, and submit me weekly reflection.  Way helpful so that critical things don't slip through the cracks and important balls don't drop!

    • Wes, yep!  I'm a Checklist Gal!  I love Todoist!    Another instructor recommended it last year and I've been using it ever since.  There is something VERY satisfying about checking something of my To Do list each day.  I highly recommend this free software!

  • Thanks David for the great tip!

  • I use Evernote too, but I haven't tapped into it's full potential yet. So far I've only used it to collect articles that I really want to keep and as a cookbook. :)

    My favorite application that I use all the time is Google Drive. I keep all of my announcements in Google Docs, I keep track of my students (where they're from, who has posted in each weeks discussion board, etc.) in Google Sheets, and from time to time I embed survey's into my announcements using Google Forms. I find it easier to use that Word or Excel and I love it's accessibility. This semester I'm using a Google Doc sheet with a table in it to keep track of students questions, questions that I have, and questions that my instructors have (I'm a TGL too). I'm going to use the information to create a FAQ page for next semester.

  • Thank you for the tip David.  Staying organized is half the battle.

  • One resource I find helpful is the website "Faculty Files." It is accessed through, and it allows the user to set up weekly storage spaces for various components that might be re-used each time a class is taught. For example, if you have specific announcements you want to use again and again, or substantive content-related posts you want to be sure to include, you can designate various weeks in the website and store them there, then mark them off when you have used them in the course you're teaching.

    This website is free and was developed by a colleague who was teaching at several online institutions simultaneously in order to keep her work organized. I found it invaluable back when I was teaching at 3 different schools.

    Bethanie Hansen

  • I use Onenote, which is part of Microsoft Office.  It has many of the functionalities you describe.  


This reply was deleted.