Pinterest: Mindless Inspiration for the Overwhelmed

My biggest complaint in the last two years? I don’t have enough time in the day. Like most moms, from the moment my eyes open (usually with a toddler staring back at me six inches from my nose) to the moment they close again for the night, I am in constant motion.

My husband and I scramble in the morning to get the kids fed, ourselves ready for work and kids dressed for school. I race through traffic to get into the office. My brain is on overdrive as soon as I sit down with my PC, rumaging through email and writing my first abstract or narrative of the day. I run from meeting to meeting not even stopping for lunch. And I rush out the door just before 5:00p to start the commute back home, picking up the boys from daycare/preschool along the way. I walk in the house and immediately whip something up for dinner, check my work email with a full tummy and then march upstairs with the boys to start our bedtime routine (brush teeth, read books and sing Somewhere Over the Rainbow for the thousandth time). At 9:00p, I sit down to finish up a few work projects and then it happens. My brain finally shuts down. The only thing left to do is surf, and I start and end with Pinterest.

As if I had time to spend hours sitting, exploring images of often beautiful and sometimes rediculous furniture, gadgets, art/crafts, recipes and awesome places to visit, I do it. Mindless inspiration.

Here’s how it works: Users create digital “pinboards” and fill them with photos from around the web of the things they care about. They can follow other pinboards and users, and “repin” items that speak to them. Using the “Pin-It” gadget you install on a browser toolbar, users add to their boards from anywhere, saving us from uploading an image to a photo-sharing service. And the browser experience is ideal for the small attention spans of web readers (uh, that’s me!) — almost no text, almost all pictures.

Remodeling a home or looking for great finds, this site is ideal for keeping track of things you want to revisit. I use it for capturing images of kitchens, baths and furniture I love in preparation for the updates we’re planning for our home. I also use it as a wish list for my favorite gadgets, ideas for fun with the boys and saving recipes for the day when I might be adventurous. I even have a board that captures nothing but color palettes that I love.

Here are a few important tips:

  • Name your boards: Categorize each board that you create in your space so that you’re able to group similar objects and find them easily. I have a category for home inspiration, one for gadgets, one for food, one for the kids, etc.
  • Hyperlink the images: If you ever want to get details about your images again, hyperlink it…or at least include a link in your description. I didn’t do that when I started, and now I can’t remember where I found the link…to buy!
  • Make notes: Give the images a caption that will remind you what you liked about the image. Love the color? Inspired by the overall look? Just say so.
  • Follow people: This easy little app not only connects you to the things you care about, but it also connects you to the people you care about.
  • Show who you are: The thing I love the most about Pinterest is that I can express who I am visually. If you follow people, you can get a really good sense for who they are, too.
  • Add a time limit: There are so many cool things to look at, that it can literally suck hours of your time. Don’t let it.

Though I have only been using it for my personal pleasure, there are some interesting and fun ways to use it to promote your business, too. Though still in its infancy, I can imagine some pretty creative marketing directors will find fun ways to link it to and/or be the center of brand campaigns. Can’t wait to see what these smart people will do with it

And, if you like Pinterest, you may also enjoy Houzz.com, a digital scrapbook for your home decorating inspiration. The user experience on this site is really, really good.

I really don’t have any extra time in my day to do anything but work and take care of the boys. Yet, I keep finding myself drawn to both of these sites at the end of my days, relaxed and feeling good. So what if the laundry continues to pile up!

Do you have a mindless inspiration site to share? I want to hear about how you recharge your batteries in the comments below.

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