• 5 Tips to Save Time by Working Efficiently with Technology

    Do you feel more productive with all of the technology available today or less productive?     

     

    (Hint: Personal productivity has actually increased 5 times since the 1970’s and continues to increase every year!)

    Do you believe it? Technology is good for productivity, but we can feel overwhelmed with the amount of information that we’re dealing with. It’s important to develop the skills to manage your digital information.

    Whatever your level of technology use is, the ideal scenario is that:

    • You’re working efficiently and productively
    • You can find any information that you need quickly
    • You’re responsive in your communication
    • You’re in touch with your friends, family, and clients or colleagues
    • You’re up to date with technology

    Here are my top tips:

    1. Manage your email Inbox.
    2. If you’re using multiple email accounts, then the best tool to manage your Inbox is an email reader such as Mac OSX Mail, Windows Live Mail, Mozilla Thunderbird, or Microsoft Outlook.
    3. If you’re a Gmail user, check out Google’s mobile Inbox app.
    4. Use email folders and filters (also called “rules” or “bundles”) to organize your inbox.
    5. Use flags or stars to prioritize and sort.

    For more information on managing your email, see my blog post HERE

    1. Manage your social media.
    2. If you have a business, then separate personal and business by setting up a business Facebook page, LinkedIn profile, Twitter account, Instagram account and/or Pinterest board.
    3. Go to your social media settings to manage your privacy and notifications.
    4. Manage your Facebook news feed by creating friend lists so that you can follow just your favorites.

    For more information on Facebook management, read about it HERE 

    1. Manage your tasks.
    2. Use task management software for your daily to-dos such as Microsoft Office Tasks, Google Tasks, or Wunderlist.
    3. Install the mobile versions on your smartphone so that you can check off your tasks wherever you are.
    4. Learn how to turn emails into tasks for the email program that you’re using.

    For more on  task management tools, read HERE 

    1. Manage your photographs.
    2. Import your photos from your mobile devices into your computer or use a cloud service to sync.
    3. Organize your photos by year, by quarter, and then by event.
    4. Use tags or keywords so that you can find that photo when you need it.

    For more on photo management, read HERE

    1. Manage your storage space.
    2. Make sure that you’re automatically backing up your computer to an external hard drive.
    3. Your mobile devices should be automatically backing up to the cloud when you’re connected to Wi-Fi. Check regularly to make sure that your backups are happening and that your cloud storage space is adequate.
    4. Ideally, you should be backing up your computer to cloud storage as well as to a local drive.
    5. Keep an eye on your computer hard drive storage space and increase it when you get 60-70% full.

    Do you have questions? Contact Patricia at pat@digitalchaoscontrol.com for a complimentary consultation.

     

    Patricia Dwyer is a digital organizer and personal technology coach. To see more about Patricia, or to contact her for speaking or personal coaching, visit http://www.digitalchaoscontrol.com.

  • Digital Organizing 101 - Five Places To Reduce Clutter

    Today I spent my day organizing my own stuff: papers, linens, dishes, etc… but most of my time was focused on my computer. Digital files are just as cluttering as its physical counterparts. With all the new file backup systems and unlimited email storage available, it is easier than ever to keep more files than needed.

    You might think that your digital assets don’t affect you, but I beg to differ, especially with all the articles and studies relating to digital hoarding. Google it and see if you might be able to relate. Even if you aren’t a full blown digital hoarder, an overabundance of data creates an imbalance in your mind- causing you to not have enough ‘brain space’ to think about your needs, solutions, or desires, just as it is with physical disorganization.

    You already know how powerful your computer, phone, game console, tablet, iPod or the like are in your life. I want to help you understand that its contents should be managed if only for the sake of getting through your days with ease. When you can find something you need easily, thats when efficiency shines and enables you to not only do more, but focus on the important stuff.

    Here are 5 places you could possibly pare down:

    1. Email - Start deleting. You don’t need every conversation with a family member or all the daily deal coupons. Keep only what you will need to reference, and remember to keep tabs on the date- question anything over a year old. If it is an interesting or important article, can you bookmark it in your browser? Go through your flagged emails and take care of them. Create folders like Family, Receipts, Newsletters, etc. so you can actually find every email. Empty your trash. If this is overwhelming, spend a certain amount of time per day or per week going through your emails, starting with the oldest first. Trust me, this will make you feel good.

    2. Bookmarks - In your web browser, you might have a large number of bookmarked websites like I do. Evernote is a good solution, but also needs tending to. I find that folders, just like in your email, help tremendously with bookmarks. Set aside a block of time to go through each bookmark and make sure it is still relevant to your life. Maybe you need to forward a link to a friend, or actually make that recipe. 

    3. Apps - Whether on your phone or computer, take a look at all your apps and trash the ones you don’t use. I know how fun it is to find a cool app, but then forget about it and never use it. Either make a point to use the app or get rid of it since it is taking up valuable space. Remember that each app and program effect the speed of your device! Wouldn’t it be nice if it ran faster?

    4. Music - Do you know how much space your music is taking up? If it’s significant, you might want to think about getting rid of some. I know I don’t need or want my Aqua “Barbie Girl" album from middle school anymore. Perhaps there are some dated albums of yours that you can delete. You can also burn a CD of albums that would make a good or funny present! Just make sure you get rid of it on your end afterwards. Additionally, put each song/album into a playlist/folder. This might take some time, so just like with email, dedicate a small block of time each day or week to working on this.

    5. Contacts - “People come and go, but real friendship lasts forever." The cliche saying may or may not be true in your life, so double check this reality in your contacts: email addresses, phone numbers, addresses, etc. You might have lost touch, are unable to remember who a contact is or don’t use that vendor anymore. On the same note, make sure each contact has the correct info to your knowledge. This might require you to check multiple sources which, in return, might encourage you to keep all contact information in one place.  Places to check are your phone, email contact list, physical address book or contact managing program on your computer.

    Digital de-cluttering is one my organizing passions! I plan to write more blogs on this subject, so if you have any digital needs you would like covered, please feel free to comment below or email me!