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.

11 December 2018

Keeping in touch when you’re away




All the mental health articles tell us to, but do you ever manage to leave your email behind? I’ll admit that it’s the first thing I check when I get up in the morning, and I usually check it again right before I get ready for bed. Not because there is usually anything urgent, but it’s more of a habit than anything else. There are some days, though, where we do want to leave email behind. Vacation time, baby leave, even sick days are times when you might not be in your inbox regularly. I know that as entrepreneurs, ignoring email isn’t really an option. However, there are things you can do to manage expectations for those who are trying to get in touch with you when you’d rather be out of touch.

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6 December 2018

Trying new things!




I’m trying something new! I’ve been a fan of and devoted user of Moleskine notebooks for years. Before I found Evernote I used my Moleskines for everything – notes about business, writing scenes, jotting down ideas, you name it. There is even a stack of used Moleskines, carefully indexed, on the top shelf of my closet. But since Evernote and I became BFFs, my Moleskines haven’t been seeing as much attention.

I still use my Moleskines for brainstorming and sketching out ideas, but almost all my writing is in Evernote now. For some reason, brainstorming and note taking on paper are easier for me. I keep the ‘neat’ version of my notes in Evernote. Maybe it’s a generational thing – I didn’t grow up with computers – or maybe its just a personal preference. Either way, where I used to go through a standard 5 x 8 Moleskine every couple of months, I’m down to two a year.

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28 November 2018

How long should you keep that document?




Do you really need to keep that paperwork?

Records retention guidelines may vary in their recommendations, but you can usually consider these guidelines to apply to both paper and digital files. Yes, you could hang on to digital files longer since they appear to take up less space. But the question becomes, do you need to?

Instead of weeding through their digital files, many people purchase more cloud storage or an external hard drive. But consider this…purchasing that extra space is equivalent to purchasing a storage unit for your physical papers. Do you really want to do that?

Vital documents such as a birth certificate, marriage license, immunization records, etc. should be considered permanent. These are often in paper form, so go ahead and scan them into your computer to have a second copy you can keep ‘at home’ while you put the originals in a safe place. When discussing records retention, financial documents require special attention. I recommend contacting a lawyer or financial advisor if you have specific questions about keeping your investment reports or other financial paperwork.

For more information, check out these guidelines for how long to keep your records:

IRS Guidelines for Taxes for small businesses and the self-employed 

BBB Records Retention Schedule for Individuals/Consumer Records 

Questions? Need help sorting through your files? Let’s talk!

24 September 2018

One Software to Rule Them All




Unitasker or Multitasker?

 

Should you have one software for each task, and rely on Zapier to link them, or find a software that can multitask?

I talk a lot about having the right tech for the right task. But what does that mean? A favorite blog of mine, Unclutterer, frequently highlights what she calls unitaskers. These are organizing or productivity tools that only have one use – like a banana slicer. A unitasker can also be a tool/gadget that can be replaced by something you already own – why buy a grilled cheese sandwich toaster when you already have a frying pan?

When we apply the concept of unitaskers to the digital world, we start looking at the concept of software that only focuses on one thing. Is it better to have one software for financials, one for CRM, and one for email marketing, or is it better to have one software (like 17Hats) which provides all of those programs?

The question of unitasker software also comes up when we talk about automation. Do you have multiple software options and rely on Zapier to connect them, or do you go with software that automatically integrates with each other? For example, Acuity software automatically connects to your Google calendar, PayPal, and Stripe. But Acuity does not automatically connect with Evernote, so I have to use Zapier to get that information where I want it.

I don’t have one software that does it all. Right now my Quicken Online account links to PayPal, my Acuity scheduling account links to PayPal and to Google Calendar, and Insightly CRM links to MailChimp and my Gmail account. The great thing about Google is that so many programs link to it natively. But would I be more productive if I had one software – like 17Hats – which does my financials, scheduling, email marketing, and email?

Unitasker or not, the more important question is are you using the right tech for the right task. It is rare to find one software that does multiple things well. In addition, there is automation software like Zapier which will connect your individual software programs to each other in order to reduce your admin work and make it seem like everything works together. So find what works best for you, and seek expert answers to your questions when you have them!

6 July 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World -pt. 3 Staying Organized




Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to get your digital world organized.

(Missed the post? Check it out! Missed the first week? Check it out!)

Now that you’ve gotten organized, the hard part starts – staying organized!

Remember, S is for Space, P is for Purge, A is for Assign a Home, C is for Containerize and E is for…

E is for EQUALIZE  This means a few things:

1) Put your stuff away! Spend 15 minutes a day to maintain your new system. Before you shut your computer down, make sure your desktop is clear, your downloads folder is empty and your documents are closed

2)  Periodically re-evaluate your system to see how it is working for you. Tweak as necessary. In the digital world this means stay on top of your information! When saving a document don’t take the shortcut and save it ‘wherever’. Instead, take a moment to find the right folder. Know that you may need to change how you organize if something isn’t working for you. Maybe an app has updated and now doesn’t do that one thing you needed it to do. Now might be the time to find a new app for that task.

Organizing isn’t a one time task, it’s an ongoing process. Keep the SPACE guidelines in mind as you work on the organization in your digital world. Need help getting started, or help keeping it organized? Contact me and we’ll make it work!

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