It’s that time of the year again – time for lists and recollections. Who made the Billboard charts? What were the most newsworthy events? How many different types of bread can you make now? (I can do banana bread, does that count?) What did you listen to on Spotify? That sort of thing.
But instead of looking back at what you’ve done so far, I’m looking ahead to what you can accomplish before 2021 starts. There’s always a big push to get organized at the beginning of the new year – how many times have you put ‘get organized’ on your resolution list – but why not start now?
Today, I wanted to give you a head start on being organized for the new year. Below are four things you can do now to start 2021 off on the right foot.
Clear off your desktop. Yes, this means your digital desktop as well as your physical desktop. It’s time to get rid of all those temporary downloads you read then forgot to discard, those early versions of your client retention form, and all the various files that accumulate on your desktop. Find a home for the ones you want to keep and discard the rest. Starting off clean may encourage you to keep it that way in the new year.
Weed and purge your phone photos. We all take throwaway pictures – images of a receipt, or a shelf code at the grocery store, or that accidental picture of your feet. Now is the time to scan thru your photo roll and discard those throwaway images. While you’re doing that, keep an eye out for any duplicates that you can narrow down to a single photo. This is an easy task to take care of when you’re waiting in line at the store or sitting on the couch watching reruns.
Update your device. Is your tech up to date on the latest operating system, upgrades, etc? Many of these updates include important safety patches or features. Even if your device is set to automatically update, that might not be enough. If you haven’t restarted your device recently, do so now. There are some updates and changes that require a restart to implement.
Start your online backup. If you don’t already have your documents, photos, etc. backed up, now is the time to get that process started. There’s no reason to avoid online backup – and it’s cheap for the peace of mind it brings. Don’t wait till there is a disaster to get prepared. For online backup I recommend either BackBlaze or Carbonite.
Once you’re done with these four steps, take a moment to relax with a cup of cocoa or other holiday beverage. You’re off to a great start!
Have questions about what to do first? Need help with any of the steps? Let me know and we can work on it together! Would you rather receive this information in your inbox? Sign up for my newsletter!
If you’ve been hanging around with me for any amount of time, you’ve heard me talk about the importance of backing up your documents. It makes sense – you’ve taken the time to create the document, it probably holds important information, and chances are, there’s only one copy of it.
Disaster can strike anytime in the form of a computer crash or accidental deletion. Not to mention fire, theft, flood, viruses, etc. And I’m not just talking about digital documents here. Our vital records – marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc. – are usually on paper and are just as susceptible to damage. So what can you do to protect yourself? Below are four things to know when it comes to protecting your documents:
Scan in your vital documents if they are in paper format. Yes, you most often need the actual physical documents when you have to produce it, but sometimes a digital copy works and it helps to have a copy of the original document in case of destruction. If you don’t have a flatbed type scanner, there are apps like Adobe Scan you can use with your phone.
Remember the 3, 2, 1 philosophy. Back up three different copies of your documents, in two different places, at least one of which is off-site. It sounds like a lot, but remember that your original is one copy, back up another copy using online backup (Carbonite or BackBlaze), then have another copy saved on an external hard drive. I have my working documents on my computer, in Dropbox, and backed up online. My vital documents are on my computer, backed up online using Crashplan, and backed up on an external hard drive.
Online sync programs like Dropbox and Google Drive are not the same as online backup programs like Carbonite or BackBlaze. Online sync is designed so you have access to your documents regardless of where you are. This is especially helpful if you are moving between computers or if you need to share documents with a spouse or work partner. Yes, some like Dropbox offer limited online backup/storage, but it’s a max of 30 days which may not be enough time. We had a hiccup in our computers and lost documents and because they weren’t active working documents, it took us almost two months before we realized the documents were missing.
Finally, make sure you are using descriptive file names. Doc 1 and Doc 3 aren’t going to help you if you need to recover something from online backup. Take some now to purge those documents you no longer need so if you have to recover something, there is less ‘junk’ to sort through.
If this is all new information for you, don’t worry! There’s no time like the present to start protecting your documents. My suggestion is to start by signing up with an online backup service. The first backup can take several days and while that is working, you can be scanning in vital documents and cleaning up your files.
Interested in some help with this whole process? Let me know and we can tackle it together! Schedule your Discovery Conversation today!
I’m as guilty as anyone else of bookmarking more than I need to. But it’s just so easy to click the little save button when you find something interesting. Browser bookmarks are a convenient way to keep track of those things you don’t have time to review now but don’t want to leave as an open tab.
(Hint, open tabs are too easily lost if you accidentally shut down your browser or your computer. )
But how many of us have a ginormous list of bookmarks, many of which we don’t even remember saving?
There’s an easy way to remedy that. Take 5 – 10 minute a day to go through your bookmark list. First, check to make sure the link is still valid. Then, determine if you are still interested in the information. As David Allen says, if you can read it through/review the site in two minutes or less, do it! Don’t forget to remove the bookmark once you’re done with the site.
Need to save the bookmark for future reference? Find a way to store those ‘permanent’ bookmarks separate from the ‘still need to review this info’ bookmarks. Most browsers will allow you to organize your bookmarks into folders as a way of keeping things sorted out. You could also use Evernote or OneNote as a bookmark reference tool.
You made it to the end of the challenge! Great job on sticking with it! If you joined us for the entire challenge this month I hope your computer is a bit more organized and things are easier to find. Has the increased organization led to greater productivity for you? More free time that you were spending looking for things?
If you want to take a more in-depth look at organizing your computer, you can let me know by signing up for a Discovery Conversation today! I’d love to chat about your organizing goals.
Is your computer bogged down with too many icons and too many bookmarks? Are there files and documents everywhere but where you need them? Is all that junk getting in your way and slowing down your productivity? Maybe it’s time for a computer cleanup!
Join me this month as we clear away the clutter and streamline our computers!
Week 3: Desktop files and downloads folder
Congrats! You’ve made it halfway through the challenge! How has it been so far? Have you found it challenging to get your contacts organized or your email straightened out? How’s your productivity going with the increased organization?
Did you know that a cluttered desktop can lead to a slower performing computer? In addition, files that live on the desktop may not be syncing with iCloud or Dropbox or your backup software. Finally, without an organization plan, your desktop can get so cluttered that it is hard to find what you need.
This week, take 10 minutes a day to go through the files littering your computer desktop. Then, move the files to their more appropriate home. Once you’ve cleaned it off, make sure that you save new documents to a documents folder instead of on the desktop.
The downloads folder is an easy place to put things you may only need temporarily. But don’t forget to go through the folder once a week or so and clean out those documents you no longer need, or move the ones you want to keep to their permanent home.
Join us next week to talk about digital bookmarks!