The New Year is an excellent time to tidy. I’ve been sitting on the same browser information structure for years, meaning cruft has been acquired. My initial plan was to describe the current structure and then describe the proposed changes. As I evaluated my current set-up, a slew of apparent inefficiencies showed up, so this is now the 2024 revamp.
On my desktop, I use Safari Favorites and Tab bar, which are always visible. Let’s start with Favorites:
There are two types of folders: special and project folders. The only difference between these folders is how I use them.
- A folder titled **hot** which has sites I am actively and heavily using. I also use this bucket for sites that need further evaluation so I can figure out if they need to be filed elsewhere or deleted.
- A news tab group. This special folder opens all of the sites (New York Times, Washington Post, Bloomberg, and Wall Street Journal) in the group. I am leaving this for now, but I suspect I’ll delete it this year because I regularly see all this content in Feedly (an RSS reader), a newsletter, or socials.
The rest of my bookmark folders are projects or theme-based. For example, a Rands folder has links to all Rands-related sites and utilities (WordPress, LibSyn, statistics, etc). I infrequently prioritize nine of these, so the leftmost is the most frequently visited.
Bluntly, sites saved to these folders are mostly forgotten. It’s long-term storage, and I’m infrequently accessing them. I regularly return them either via memory or other non-bookmark reminders. One hack I’ve started using in the last year is giving the site/page a memorable title and using LaunchBar for quick access to my Safari bookmarks.
Moving to the tab bar. I have five pinned sites:
Feedly is my favorite means to consume my information. I fly through RSS feeds. The social sites are accessed much less and are filler to the day as opposed to my Feedly review, which reveals the planet’s heartbeat.
Wondering what ChatGPT is doing in this group? Me too. I am finding increasing usage for ChatGPT, which means I need easy access, but this location seems wrong. I want this either in my search bar, but for now, I’m leaving it… and saving it to my Dock.
Ok, so that’s my information structure setup. With iCloud enabled, Safari does an excellent job synchronizing this content between my three primary Macs, two iPhones, and two iPads 95% of the time. I am an avid user of iCloud Drive, which just works. I don’t attempt to synchronize application preferences because that ends in tears. We should fix that.
Morning Bookmark Habits
My morning flow starts via the pinned sites, specifically Feedly. My goal, just like my inbox, is to read as much as I can and, when I’m out of time, mark the rest read. If that protocol makes you a little twitchy, understand that there are three other ways an important bit of information will show up in front of me: social sites, newsletter, and the news group described above. After years of running a similar process, I can confirm that if something moderately interesting is going down on the planet, I’ll have a hint it exists.
After pinned sites, I’ll glance at the hot folder to quickly check whatever sites are there that need my daily attention. At this moment, it’s a spreadsheet that documents project risk, a mission statement I’m iterating on, an exercise spreadsheet, and a dashboard for hiring. Again, sites I need every day.
This inbox process repeats itself for Mail, Slack, and Calendar. In each application, the goal is to triage new incoming things, properly file items that need future consideration, and, as efficiently as possible, get the noise out of my primary view.
Ok, what’s next?