Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

3 November 2020

Comparing apples to apples

Everyone loves choices. Plain Oreo’s or Double Stuff. Oranges or orange juice. Salad or brownies. (Let’s be honest, that last one isn’t really a choice).

Sometimes instead of an easy yes or no answer, there can be too many options to compare. Then you have to figure out, are you really comparing apples to apples? That’s a common question when looking at the big three online document management services – Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. 

All three offer online document sync, storage, and easy access to items when you need them. Google Drive will give you the most storage for free, true, but that storage is also spread out over your Gmail, Goggle photos and other Goggle services. So is it really such a bargain? OneDrive works seamlessly with Word and Excel documents, but what if you use Pages and Numbers on a Mac? Dropbox offers storage, but not document creation options.

When you’re making decisions about which online document sync service to go with, some questions you want to ask yourself include:

  • How much storage do you really need?
  • Are you willing to pay for storage, or do you only want a free option?
  • Are you planning to collaborate with people? More people use a Goggle account in comparison to either Microsoft or Dropbox.
  • Do you just want to store/access documents?
  • Do you want to create documents?

Figuring out which online document sync option to go with isn’t necessarily an apples to apples choice. For help with asking the right questions, and making a decision with less confusion, let’s talk! Schedule your Discovery Call today!

Prefer receiving this information in your inbox? Sign up for the Ilios Digital Tips and Tricks newsletter!

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17 November 2020

4 Things to Know About Protecting Your Documents

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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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!

3 November 2020

Comparing apples to apples

Everyone loves choices. Plain Oreo’s or Double Stuff. Oranges or orange juice. Salad or brownies. (Let’s be honest, that last one isn’t really a choice).

Sometimes instead of an easy yes or no answer, there can be too many options to compare. Then you have to figure out, are you really comparing apples to apples? That’s a common question when looking at the big three online document management services – Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. 

All three offer online document sync, storage, and easy access to items when you need them. Google Drive will give you the most storage for free, true, but that storage is also spread out over your Gmail, Goggle photos and other Goggle services. So is it really such a bargain? OneDrive works seamlessly with Word and Excel documents, but what if you use Pages and Numbers on a Mac? Dropbox offers storage, but not document creation options.

When you’re making decisions about which online document sync service to go with, some questions you want to ask yourself include:

  • How much storage do you really need?
  • Are you willing to pay for storage, or do you only want a free option?
  • Are you planning to collaborate with people? More people use a Goggle account in comparison to either Microsoft or Dropbox.
  • Do you just want to store/access documents?
  • Do you want to create documents?

Figuring out which online document sync option to go with isn’t necessarily an apples to apples choice. For help with asking the right questions, and making a decision with less confusion, let’s talk! Schedule your Discovery Call today!

Prefer receiving this information in your inbox? Sign up for the Ilios Digital Tips and Tricks newsletter!

27 October 2020

Well of Lost Files

A follow up to last week’s question about where your old files are!

20 October 2020

It’s 10 pm, Do You Know Where Your Documents Are?

In the 70’s and 80’s there was a public service announcement (PSA) that would come on each night at 10 pm, right before the news. It would ask, in a serious voice, if you knew where your children were

The goal was to remind parents to keep their kids at home rather than let them wander the streets. I don’t know if it was effective or not, but the phrase has become part of our social history. And it got me thinking…it’s 10 pm, do you know where your documents are?

No, we’re not trying to keep your forms and letters off the street, but one of the first steps in organizing is figuring out where everything lives. For some people, it’s an easy question to answer – all their documents live on their computer. But for others, the question is more complex.

I held on to some old 3.5 ‘floppy’ discs for a long time before I was able to transfer the data. Right now I know there are used external hard drives and USB drives with files on them collecting dust in my closet. And that doesn’t even get into cloud storage. How many different services are you using to store, share, and access your documents?

When you organize your files, documenting where everything is helps you figure out where everything is going. It’s great to want everything in one place, but that only works if there is room there. And what about those documents that need to be shared? Those usually have to stay in cloud storage until the sharing is done (if it ever is!)

If you’re ready to organize your files, take a moment to think about where everything is. When it’s time to move your documents, we often suggest using the same file structure regardless of what platform/computer you are on – same file setup in Dropbox as on your computer. This makes it easier to file things when you’re in a rush.

Don’t forget, once you’ve got everything organized, it’s time to make sure your backup plan is in place to keep all your files safe! I recommend using an online backup system like Carbonite or BackBlaze.

Interested in receiving these tips direct to your inbox? Head over and sign up today!

Ready to get your files organized? I can help with that! Set up a Discovery Conversation call today and we’ll get started! 

15 September 2020

4 Steps to Organized Files

Are you ready for more organized files? Is it time to stop searching, and searching, for that one document you need right now, but can never find. How many times are you going to recreate a form because you can’t find the original? It’s frustrating and all that searching is just wasting time you could spend doing something you actually like to do. (unless you’re me, who loves organizing files 🙂 )

So now’s the time to get organized! Check out my Four Steps to Organized Files. It seems like a lot of information, but don’t worry, you don’t have to complete the process in a single day. Instead, take 10 – 15 minutes a day to tackle the folders and files and before you know it, you’re on your way to a better organized system that allows you to be more productive (and gives you more time for you!).

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Determine Your File Structure

How do you want your files to be arranged? Are you separating business from personal files? What about your financial files? Are they different for business versus personal? A flat structure – one with fewer subfolders – is the best place to start.

When you are first determining your file structure, think big categories like Marketing, Continuing Education, Financials, etc. As you add files into these folders, you will begin to see where you need subfolders. Don’t worry about getting your structure right the first time. Your file structure is a living document that gets fine-tuned as you go.

Step 2: Gather Your Files

 Where do your files hang out? You might be surprised how far-flung your documents are. Check out your cloud storage sites like Dropbox, Google Drive, (don’t forget OneDrive!), current and old computers, USB drives, external hard drives, and wherever else you can think they could be hiding. Don’t forget to check for documents you may be sharing with someone else. 

Step 3: Find Your New Home

Once you’ve got all your documents accounted for, determine what is going to live where (and if there is actually room for those documents there). It may not be realistic to have everything in one location. Cloud storage offers you easy access regardless of where you are, but many people are only on one computer, so remote access isn’t that big of an issue.

Do you need to share documents with others? This may be another reason to consider cloud storage in addition to or in place of computer storage. Regardless of where you put your documents, make sure they can be backed up for the greatest security.

Step 4: Move Documents

You’ve created your structure in the new location, now is the time to move your documents. Don’t forget to be cautious with those shared documents in cloud storage. These are ones you might not be able to move right away or be able to move at all based on how and who is doing the sharing. Once you have your documents moved to their new homes, make sure your backup system is in place to provide peace of mind and protection for all that hard work you’ve done!

You’re done! How’s it feel to be in charge of your documents, rather than letting them run your day? Better good, right? Now it’s time to keep up what you worked so hard to achieve. Make sure you are creating and saving documents in the ‘right place’.

Do you have time for an extra step? Run a duplicate file finder program. Check out an earlier Ilios Blog Post for suggestions!

Need some assistance organizing your files? Looking for more in-depth instructions on how to get started? Let’s talk! Schedule your Discovery Conversation today!

8 September 2020

Are you a Paper Piler or a Document Filer?

When it comes to organizing papers, people generally fall into two categories – the pilers and the filers. Filers tend to put papers away in cabinets/drawers, while pilers stack their documents where they can be seen and remembered.

There are benefits to both ways of life. Those who pile like to say there is an organizational method to their madness. For many people, having information out where you can see it and easily access it is key to their productivity. 

However, for filers, these piles can be distracting. They may function best when their work station is clear of documents and other papers. To recall things, filers rely on a carefully created file structure and hierarchy. 
Regardless of which way you manage your information, take advantage of well-labeled folders or binders, as well as a solid organizational structure to increase your productivity.

When creating labels use words you know and understand. Don’t label something Auto if you refer to it as Car or Toyota. The best label choices are the ones you use most frequently. I tell clients that they should use the first word that comes to mind when they are trying to find something. If you have to look in more than one location for a document, considering moving it to the first place you looked, even if it doesn’t fit ‘conventional wisdom’. 

When it comes to organizing your papers, filers often take advantage of traditional file cabinets or smaller file storage boxes. Pilers may find stacking boxes like these at the Container Store helpful in managing their information. Remember, the best system is one that works for you so don’t be afraid to try different configurations till you figure it out.

If you want more help getting your files in shape, let me know! Schedule a Discovery Conversation and we can talk!

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

17 November 2020

4 Things to Know About Protecting Your Documents

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: 

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 
  3. 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. 
  4. 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!

3 November 2020

Comparing apples to apples

Everyone loves choices. Plain Oreo’s or Double Stuff. Oranges or orange juice. Salad or brownies. (Let’s be honest, that last one isn’t really a choice).

Sometimes instead of an easy yes or no answer, there can be too many options to compare. Then you have to figure out, are you really comparing apples to apples? That’s a common question when looking at the big three online document management services – Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. 

All three offer online document sync, storage, and easy access to items when you need them. Google Drive will give you the most storage for free, true, but that storage is also spread out over your Gmail, Goggle photos and other Goggle services. So is it really such a bargain? OneDrive works seamlessly with Word and Excel documents, but what if you use Pages and Numbers on a Mac? Dropbox offers storage, but not document creation options.

When you’re making decisions about which online document sync service to go with, some questions you want to ask yourself include:

  • How much storage do you really need?
  • Are you willing to pay for storage, or do you only want a free option?
  • Are you planning to collaborate with people? More people use a Goggle account in comparison to either Microsoft or Dropbox.
  • Do you just want to store/access documents?
  • Do you want to create documents?

Figuring out which online document sync option to go with isn’t necessarily an apples to apples choice. For help with asking the right questions, and making a decision with less confusion, let’s talk! Schedule your Discovery Call today!

Prefer receiving this information in your inbox? Sign up for the Ilios Digital Tips and Tricks newsletter!

27 October 2020

Well of Lost Files

A follow up to last week’s question about where your old files are!

20 October 2020

It’s 10 pm, Do You Know Where Your Documents Are?

In the 70’s and 80’s there was a public service announcement (PSA) that would come on each night at 10 pm, right before the news. It would ask, in a serious voice, if you knew where your children were

The goal was to remind parents to keep their kids at home rather than let them wander the streets. I don’t know if it was effective or not, but the phrase has become part of our social history. And it got me thinking…it’s 10 pm, do you know where your documents are?

No, we’re not trying to keep your forms and letters off the street, but one of the first steps in organizing is figuring out where everything lives. For some people, it’s an easy question to answer – all their documents live on their computer. But for others, the question is more complex.

I held on to some old 3.5 ‘floppy’ discs for a long time before I was able to transfer the data. Right now I know there are used external hard drives and USB drives with files on them collecting dust in my closet. And that doesn’t even get into cloud storage. How many different services are you using to store, share, and access your documents?

When you organize your files, documenting where everything is helps you figure out where everything is going. It’s great to want everything in one place, but that only works if there is room there. And what about those documents that need to be shared? Those usually have to stay in cloud storage until the sharing is done (if it ever is!)

If you’re ready to organize your files, take a moment to think about where everything is. When it’s time to move your documents, we often suggest using the same file structure regardless of what platform/computer you are on – same file setup in Dropbox as on your computer. This makes it easier to file things when you’re in a rush.

Don’t forget, once you’ve got everything organized, it’s time to make sure your backup plan is in place to keep all your files safe! I recommend using an online backup system like Carbonite or BackBlaze.

Interested in receiving these tips direct to your inbox? Head over and sign up today!

Ready to get your files organized? I can help with that! Set up a Discovery Conversation call today and we’ll get started! 

15 September 2020

4 Steps to Organized Files

Are you ready for more organized files? Is it time to stop searching, and searching, for that one document you need right now, but can never find. How many times are you going to recreate a form because you can’t find the original? It’s frustrating and all that searching is just wasting time you could spend doing something you actually like to do. (unless you’re me, who loves organizing files 🙂 )

So now’s the time to get organized! Check out my Four Steps to Organized Files. It seems like a lot of information, but don’t worry, you don’t have to complete the process in a single day. Instead, take 10 – 15 minutes a day to tackle the folders and files and before you know it, you’re on your way to a better organized system that allows you to be more productive (and gives you more time for you!).

Let’s get started!

Step 1: Determine Your File Structure

How do you want your files to be arranged? Are you separating business from personal files? What about your financial files? Are they different for business versus personal? A flat structure – one with fewer subfolders – is the best place to start.

When you are first determining your file structure, think big categories like Marketing, Continuing Education, Financials, etc. As you add files into these folders, you will begin to see where you need subfolders. Don’t worry about getting your structure right the first time. Your file structure is a living document that gets fine-tuned as you go.

Step 2: Gather Your Files

 Where do your files hang out? You might be surprised how far-flung your documents are. Check out your cloud storage sites like Dropbox, Google Drive, (don’t forget OneDrive!), current and old computers, USB drives, external hard drives, and wherever else you can think they could be hiding. Don’t forget to check for documents you may be sharing with someone else. 

Step 3: Find Your New Home

Once you’ve got all your documents accounted for, determine what is going to live where (and if there is actually room for those documents there). It may not be realistic to have everything in one location. Cloud storage offers you easy access regardless of where you are, but many people are only on one computer, so remote access isn’t that big of an issue.

Do you need to share documents with others? This may be another reason to consider cloud storage in addition to or in place of computer storage. Regardless of where you put your documents, make sure they can be backed up for the greatest security.

Step 4: Move Documents

You’ve created your structure in the new location, now is the time to move your documents. Don’t forget to be cautious with those shared documents in cloud storage. These are ones you might not be able to move right away or be able to move at all based on how and who is doing the sharing. Once you have your documents moved to their new homes, make sure your backup system is in place to provide peace of mind and protection for all that hard work you’ve done!

You’re done! How’s it feel to be in charge of your documents, rather than letting them run your day? Better good, right? Now it’s time to keep up what you worked so hard to achieve. Make sure you are creating and saving documents in the ‘right place’.

Do you have time for an extra step? Run a duplicate file finder program. Check out an earlier Ilios Blog Post for suggestions!

Need some assistance organizing your files? Looking for more in-depth instructions on how to get started? Let’s talk! Schedule your Discovery Conversation today!

8 September 2020

Are you a Paper Piler or a Document Filer?

When it comes to organizing papers, people generally fall into two categories – the pilers and the filers. Filers tend to put papers away in cabinets/drawers, while pilers stack their documents where they can be seen and remembered.

There are benefits to both ways of life. Those who pile like to say there is an organizational method to their madness. For many people, having information out where you can see it and easily access it is key to their productivity. 

However, for filers, these piles can be distracting. They may function best when their work station is clear of documents and other papers. To recall things, filers rely on a carefully created file structure and hierarchy. 
Regardless of which way you manage your information, take advantage of well-labeled folders or binders, as well as a solid organizational structure to increase your productivity.

When creating labels use words you know and understand. Don’t label something Auto if you refer to it as Car or Toyota. The best label choices are the ones you use most frequently. I tell clients that they should use the first word that comes to mind when they are trying to find something. If you have to look in more than one location for a document, considering moving it to the first place you looked, even if it doesn’t fit ‘conventional wisdom’. 

When it comes to organizing your papers, filers often take advantage of traditional file cabinets or smaller file storage boxes. Pilers may find stacking boxes like these at the Container Store helpful in managing their information. Remember, the best system is one that works for you so don’t be afraid to try different configurations till you figure it out.

If you want more help getting your files in shape, let me know! Schedule a Discovery Conversation and we can talk!