15 December 2020

4 Things to Do Before 2021




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. 

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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!

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!

17 December 2018

3 ways to get ready for 2019




2019 is almost here and I know there’s always the temptation to let things slide as we get to the end of the year. It’s vacation time, holidays, and everyone has so much to do outside of work. But before you take that next snow day – or rain day if you’re here in Southern California – there are three things you can do to set yourself up for success in 2019.

  1. Get your inbox cleaned up – Remember all email is either an Action item, Reference item, and Trash item. Get those reference and trash items out of your inbox, leaving only action items that need your attention. (Psst…check out our post Inbox Hero for more details)
  2. Back up your files – If you don’t have online backup already set, get started now! Don’t let all your hard work from 2018 be at risk. I’m a fan of Backblaze for online backup.
  3. Clean out your Downloads folder – all those items have homes, make sure they get to them!

Take a few minutes today to prep for the new year. Then, take a few minutes for yourself to reflect on all the great things you accomplished in 2018!

Interested in more ways to increase your productivity? Schedule your Discovery Call today and let’s talk about how to get you more time and less stress.

9 April 2018

Keeping your contacts safe




Everyone knows I’m all about backing up your data. But have you backed up your contacts lately?
Your contact list is a highly valued item for an entrepreneur. The first step to being organized is to make sure that all of your contacts are in one place – or attached to one ‘account’. This step includes making sure that contacts, especially new contacts, aren’t being saved to your phone but rather that cloud based account.

 

Once you are organized, you can back up your contacts. If you are using Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook.com,  or Apple Contacts, there should be a menu option that says ‘export’ or ‘export contacts’. Choose to export them in a CSV file.

 

Now that you’ve got the CSV file exported to a safe place (the cloud or as part of your online backup), it’s time to rename it. Most files come as contacts.csv which means nothing when you’re looking for a specific backup. Instead, rename the file with the date and ‘Contacts Backup’. Finally, make sure the file is included in your online backup. Depending on how often you add contacts to your list, backing them up doesn’t need to be more than a quarterly or twice a year task.

 

Having a CSV file of your contacts can come in handy when it’s time to import contacts to a new CRM, mailing service, or other software!

 

Need help organizing or backing up your contacts? Call me and we’ll do it together!

22 July 2017

How online backup saved my life




Online Backup Saves Lives

Backing up your data is something we’re told to do. It’s something we intend to do. But it’s also something we don’t always get around to. This is the beauty of online backup software like Crashplan or Backblaze.

Online backup is a lifesaver. A few years ago, our home computer hiccuped and lost files without us realizing. Once we figured out what was missing – and how much was missing – we started to panic. I have an external backup drive of my most important, can’t ever lose these, vital documents in addition to online backup. However, many of the documents that I lost were standard operating files like client forms and reports.

crashplan online backupBecause we had Crashplan – which was still doing home backups at the time – we were able to figure out exactly when the hiccup happened, then have Crashplan mail us a physical backup drive from before that day. If it had just been one or two documents lost, I would have downloaded them directly from the website. I also have the peace of mind knowing that if something were to happen to my computer, I could get all my files and documents back without a lot of hassle. Well worth the $12 (or 3 Starbucks) per month.

If you aren’t already set up with online backup, give me a call and I’ll show you how!

15 August 2016

Three Ways to Keep Your Data Safe




Although we often think of digital disasters as being a software failure, aka the blue screen of death, there are several other ways we put our digital devices (where our data lives) at risk. These include physical damage from fire/flood/accidental destruction, theft, and malware or a virus. What can you do to keep your valuable information safe?

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