“How do you find the time to manage all of this social media stuff?” That’s one of the most common questions I’m asked whenever I present. And sometimes, I get the sense that people are hoping that it’s so complicated and time-consuming that they’ll have a great excuse NOT to do it. Not to learn [...]
Business Makeover Library
Give Yourself A Technology Makeover
Last month I went mad-ninja on my technology.
It was long overdue. Emails were getting lost. Saving and finding files was frustrating. Switching between my desktop and laptop computers was an ordeal, because they were set up differently.
So I put aside several days over a few weeks (yes, it took that long!) to clean up my technology act.
And you know what? It has transformed my life. More than I could have predicted.
Everything is easier, faster, more enjoyable. I'm more motivated to get to my desk and way more productive when I get there.
If disorganised technology is undermining your effectiveness (be honest!), follow the four steps below and give yourself a computer makeover.
The time it takes will more than pay for itself.
1. Clean Up Your Email.
I used to be a power Outlook user, but when I went Mac I struggled to manage mail without all the filtering tools I was used to. I even considered declaring email bankruptcy.
- Labels - let you 'file' emails according to subjects, people or other categories
- Filters - allow you to preemptively file things you don't need to see in your inbox, but do want to keep for reference, or forward on, etc
- Archive - means you can get emails out of your inbox without having to file or delete them. Joy!
Use tools such as these to clean up your inbox and streamline your email management.
And make liberal use of the unsubscribe link on emails that don't add value to your life*.
* No you cannot do this with emails from your boss. Cheeky.
2. Clean Up Your Desktop
Sitting down to a screen littered with files is no fun.
Ask yourself what you can get rid of, and file the rest (more on that next).
Having a decluttered computer desktop is a much more zen way to start a productive work session.
3. Clean Up Your Computer Files
What? But my files are a mess!, I hear you yell at me through the screen.
It's not so hard if we break it down into steps:
- Delete documents, photos and software you definitely don't need. Make sure you definitely don't need them first!
- Put stuff you're pretty sure you don't need into a Junk folder. That gets it out of your everyday life, but you know where it is if you need it.
- Put files you want to keep for reference - but don't need on an ongoing basis - into an Archive folder. For instance, I put all my completed projects into an Archive folder. This really cuts down the time it takes me to navigate my current files.
- Create a computer filing system with Documents, Pictures, and any other main file types you use as the top level. As the second level, use clients, projects, products, or some other category type that reflects your work units.
- Be sure to give your files meaningful names to remind you of the contents.
4. Match Your Desktop and Laptop
If you set up your desktop and laptop computers the same way, it will help you maximise productivity when out of the office.
- Use Dropbox or another cloud-based storage system to sync and store files you want on both devices.
- Set up your filing system under Dropbox so it's easy to save and find your files, and to ensure your filing is mirrored on both devices.
- Update the applications you use on both computers, so you have the same versions on both.
- Go through the settings for your main applications and web browser and match these up, so that switching between machines is seamless.
You'll save a lot of frustration if both your machines work in the same way.
I admit it - cleaning up your technology may not be the most fun you can have sitting at your desk.
But it is one of the most motivation-and productivity-boosting things you can do.
Is it time you gave your computer a makeover?
Learn how smart businesses use Cloud technology to reduce costs and increase efficiencies.
Download a free eBook - 10 Ways The Cloud is Great for Small Business.