You're just going to check your email. Then you follow a link from a friend and suddenly two hours have gone by and you've got nothing to show for it but an overflowing history file. Sound familiar? Before you swear off websites completely, remember that the Internet also offers powerful tools to help you simplify - and de-stress - your life. Don't believe it? Check out the following websites - they can help lower your stress and raise your productivity.
Simplify and stress less with these websites
This electronic payment site is an "oldie" but a goodie. It allows you to use your email address to set up an account that can then be linked to your bank and/or credit card accounts. This means you can buy online as well as send and receive payments using your PayPal account without exposing your sensitive financial information. Bonus: Some merchants even offer discounts to those paying with PayPal.
Forget the hassle of small email attachment restrictions, just sign up for YouSendIt. From this account, you can upload a large file and then send a notification to the intended recipient, who then logs on and downloads it. The free "lite" account allows you to upload files up to 100MB and gives recipients a week to retrieve them. Upgrading increases the file sizes you can upload and the length of time for retrieval. Genius!
Sign up for eFax and get rid of your clunky fax machine. When you register, a local or toll-free fax number will be attached to your email address so that you can send and receive faxes as email attachments. Faxes can even be read as PDF files so you can still access them on your handheld devices. Sign up now for a 30-day free trial.
Globe-trotting girls will love "the world's favorite currency site." The Universal Currency Converter makes figuring out current exchange rates a snap and business trip claims become a breeze with the Travel Expenses Calculator. All this talk of travel giving you itchy feet? Just click over to the Travel section and browse the Destination Guides or Vacation Packages. Don't forget to pack your wallet!
Ever had so many instant message windows open that you could barely find your work? Never again when you sign up for CampFire. This group chat tool means that you can log on, create a password protected chat "room" and invite several others to join you at once. Because it's web-based there's nothing to download and no network restrictions. You can even upload graphics for everyone to see, and upgraded accounts offer SSL encryption. Think of it as the conference call of chat programs - but with so much more. Try it free for 30 days.
Fighting your way through the maze of electronic options on customer service lines may not quite be hell on earth, but it's at least purgatory. Save your sanity by checking GetHuman before your next call. This simple database offers information on shortcuts to get right to human representatives on a variety of popular business lines. Unfortunately there's nothing it can do about the muzak, so say your prayers that you aren't left on hold for too long.
Need a spot for all of the bits and bobs of your life? Try Evernote. This site allows you to create an account and then store new lists, snapshots, clips, emails, scans, audio files and more. Label your items for easy searching and sync your account across your devices so you can access it anytime and anywhere. Best of all, it's totally free.
Your bank account will either love you or hate you for signing up to ShopItToMe. This site allows you to create an account, enter your favorite fashion brands and your current sizes and then it shops the sales for you. Either daily, weekly or semi-weekly you'll receive a Salemail with details of sale items that might interest you. Your only problem will be deciding what you like best!
Got your eye on a particular item? Find it online, enter the url and your email address at ShoppingNotes and it will watch the item so that you don't have to. When the price drops you'll be sent an email alert. To make your life even easier you can install the "Save to My Shopping Notes" button on your bookmark menu and when you see an item of interest, you can simply click this button for it to be added to your account. Never miss a sale again.
Holes might not be terrific in tights but they are fantastic in font. Because of tiny holes in the EcoFont it actually uses 20 percent less ink for printed documents than those that are printed with traditional fonts. This means fewer print cartridges and less paper used. You and the Earth win with this one.
These sites and dozens of others can make your life easier, reduce your stress, and make your Internet time more productive. Give them a try!