Create 4 basic folders (Labels) in your email.
- Action (To act on fast - set task appointment and reminders)
- Deferred (Things that can wait)
- Read Review (Items of interest that are not important to act on)
- References (Information you can't just Google when you need it)
Delete the garbage (Archive/Delete as needed)
- select 'All mail' and use the search feature to find oldest emails
- grab all the old emails and archive or delete
- use search filters for past Newsletters no longer wanted and delete those too
- unsubscribe to unwanted news-feeds and letters as you go
Create tasks for actionable emails
- for date specific items, create a task in your gmail calendar with reminders
- place a star on email needing action
- file actionable email under the 'Action', 'Deferred' or 'Read Review' labels
- consider using Evernote for task lists (Free to use and it can sync anywhere)
- take time to set up good task lists
- learn the 'GTD - Getting Things Done' method of productivity for the most effective task list management
File away your resource emails
- these can all get lumped into the 'References' label
- search old email and file as needed
- only keep what you can't find easily on Google whenever you want
- if you have newsletters or email that need to be read but not urgently, place them under the 'Read Review' label
Create filters & practice quick communication
- create filters as needed for future news and resources
- review old labels and consider new filters for Read Review and Deferred tasks too
- keep your email engagement down to 2 minutes each as much as possible
- if you can answer or file away an email in less than 2 minutes, do it immediately
Time to get down to basics. Here is one way to clear out what you don't need without having to worry about purging too quickly.
Much like the idea for the kitchen, this little trick works great for the wardrobe.
So much of what we bring into our homes has packaging we ultimately have to deal with. Finding a home for this in our kitchens can be a challenge, so I suggest creating a disposal center in the garage, making it easy to deposit things into as you come and go.
It is much easier to keep things current when you can discard things you no longer need quickly and efficiently. To help you and your family members discard items that are no longer needed, set up a donation center in your house.
Gadgets and cables can get out of control fast in a world where technology is everywhere. If you're tripping over cables and have gadgets stuffed into every available corner it's time for a clean up.
One room or one space at a time
When you are organizing it may seem like a good idea to attempt to organize two or more room at the same time, but this is not always productive. It's best if you can focus your energy on one room, or one space at a time. Make sure you give yourself enough time to work in that space as Rome was not built in a day. Your big organizing projects will likely not be completed in a day, so be sure to continue to schedule time to work on your spaces as needed until they are finished.
One in, one out
I know that you have heard this before. The old 'One In, One Out' rule. Employ this rule to keep your stuff under control. If your shoes wear out and you must buy a new pair to replace them, go ahead and make sure you throw the old one out. If you are buying a new item, clothes, shoes, kitchen utensils, etc., the old one must be donated or discarded.
Not to scare you, yet lately I have been noticing that many people in my network have been the victims of email hijacking.
I know this has happened when I start getting spam for money making schemes and pharmaceutics from my fiends and associates. And to top it off, everyone getting the email has their email address exposed in the ‘to’ field. Darn, I guess I can be expected more spam soon.
When I see this happening it makes me feel more cautious about my own data protection. So much so that now when I go to coffee shops I use my phones Wi-Fi capabilities, rather than open up my system to their free network. Heck, I don’t know how my friend’s or associates emails got hacked into, yet I don’t want to take any chances.
I also use a variety of passwords to protect my various accounts and have installed a ‘hard-disc’ password on my laptop. I did this so that no one can get in should my system be stolen. My ‘cloud’ back-up provides some comfort too, so in case this ever happened, my data should remain safe.
As I was pondering all of this a few days ago, I was happy to see an email come in from Mike Massullo from Nerds on Site. (I enjoy his short and sweet emails and reminders.)
It occured me to ask Mike for some advice.
‘How does this happen and how can we protect our data better?’ I asked.
Mike was kind enough to share with me a whole lot of great advice and information. He provided me with hints on how we can protect ourselves and some great suggestions on what to do to minimize any damage.
He was also kind enough to give me permission to share them with all of you. As a bonus there are some added descriptions of the ‘Nerds on Site’ online services. I think you will find them quite interesting.
Security Hints Be Diligent
By Mike Massullo - Nerds On Site
Scan your system regularly for spyware
My current preferred anti-virus is Microsoft Security Essentials. It is good, fast and free, even for small businesses up to 10 users. In addition the free versions of MalwareBytes (www.malwarebytes.org) and SuperAntispyware (www.superantispyware.com) are excellent tools to catch things that MSE might have missed.
Each anti-virus/anti-malware program uses its own list of bad things, necessitating the need to use multiple tools in case one missed something. Be careful not install any active processes when installing MalwareBytes and SuperAntispyware, the only thing worse than a virus is two anti-virus programs competing for resources.
Make sure that your Windows updates, Java updates and other programs are all current. When an update is released, an explanation of the problem being fixed is also released – if they already didn’t know, the bad guys will take advantage of this to exploit the flaw. Java is particularly important as a legitimate website can be compromised and one click on the site will infect your computer.
You can protect yourself by turning scripting off in your browser, but so many websites rely on this today that it will significantly affect your browsing experience, so I don’t recommend this.
Stay Away From Facebook
Forget that once you upload something it belongs to Facebook, it is also a major source of malware. If you are asked to install a new driver so you can view some video, it is probably installing a virus.
Apple Products, it may be cool to own a Mac or an IPhone, but they are so much easier to hack than a well-protected Windows computer. They do not integrate well into a Windows / business environment. They tend to cost twice as much to support than a Windows workstation.
Spend the extra money on Windows Professional when buying a new computer. If it comes from the factory with Windows Professional installed, it will most likely be a business grade computer and will last longer than a consumer model. Windows Professional has more control over file sharing and network access.
When connecting to a new network, it will ask you how it should treat that network. Select Public if you do not wish to share any files or data, select Office if you do. So at Starbucks its Public at home it is Office. I do not recommend using the home network option.
A good compromise to a long set of random characters would be two miss-spelled words with a number or two thrown in. Changing your password on a regular basis is also recommended. Should your account get comprised, this would secure it again.
Have a unique and strong password for each service. This way, if (or when) one of your favorite services has a password breach, you don’t need to be concerned about that password making you vulnerable in other accounts.
Use a password manager like LastPass (http://lastpass.com) (with a strong password).
Use OpenDNS (www.opendns.com) to protect yourself from Phishing attacks. The goal of online criminals most commonly is to impersonate you and somehow profit from you. There are many different threats, including blended threats. OpenDNS protects from many of these.
Ask your bank for 2-factor authentication options. The jackpot for an online thief is to access your bank account. By requiring 2-factor authentication, it makes it significantly more difficult for anyone to break into your account. Some banks will send you an SMS to your mobile phone to confirm each online access or transaction. Others use number tumblers. We hope some banks will soon start offering One-Time Password (OTP) such as the Yubikey.
Paid vs Free
Should something go wrong when using a free service like Gmail, Hotmail or Yahoo, there is not much that a user can do; beyond making sure that a backup email address is available. Should you get locked out of your account may be very difficult to get back in if you cannot prove who you are. Do not expect any compensation for damages, after all they were providing you a free service.
If you are running a business consider moving to a paid service like Google Apps for Business. This paid service has many technical benefits that make it worthwhile on its own. As a paid service you will have more options for support and compensation should something go wrong on the part of the service provider.
On Line Services available thru Nerds on Site
Google Apps for Business
www.google.com/enterprise/apps/business Google Apps includes dozens of critical security features specifically designed to keep your data safe, secure and in your control. Your data belongs to you, and Apps tools enable you to control it, including who you share it with and how you share it. Our data center network provides exceptional security and guarantees reliable access to your data, 24x7x365.25 (that’s right: no rest, even on leap years).
http://timewellscheduled.com/ TimeWellScheduled is a fully tailored, secure, online time and attendance software that enhances your workforce management capability. TimeWellScheduled facilitates employee attendance, scheduling and associated payroll tasks through easy-to-use, automated time and attendance software. Features include everything from staffing and employee scheduling, to time clock and payroll management.
http://projectmanage-it.com/ ProjectManage-IT® is a web based project management system designed for organizations that require a more efficient means of collaborating 24-7 on all project accounts with staff, clients, consultants and suppliers.
http://mybusinessos.com/ MYbusinessOS is a complete all-in-one solution for intuitive online business management. A complete dashboard system for companies everyday needs from communication portal to resource libraries.
http://nerdsonline.com/nerdsbackup/ NerdsBackup solutions plans make it easy to pay only for the services you actually need. Rest assured that all of our products deliver state-of-the-art data protection and encryption providing you the peace of mind of knowing you can always retrieve your important data when you need it.
Domain Names - With over 150 domain extensions, our team can fulfill all your domain requirements. Nerds On Site offers an advanced domain portfolio management tools for all your domains.
Shared Hosting - The most common type of website hosting, Nerds On Site offers a twist on the traditional shared hosting solution. Our team offers more than the just the basic packages, and all with less confusion and complexity!
Cloud Servers - More than a buzz word, Cloud Servers are the most economical way to host large or specialized web applications. Dedicated to your needs, Cloud Servers are scalable and more secure than shared hosting.
The same team that developed Timewellscheduled.com, Projectmanage-it.com and Mybusinessos.com can develop a custom or template website for you.
Will your pictures and keepsakes mean anything to the next generation?
A lifetime goes into collecting images and keepsakes that take you back, to that special day, that once in a lifetime event, that person you could never forget.
So why can these precious items that tell your history, that hold cherished memories, be lost in piles, water-damaged, folded up, scattered about, or have never made there way out of the envelope? And how can this happen while perfectly good, empty albums and scrapbooks lie about, having suffered the same fate?
Who cares?! Getting them organized now is what really matters.
Before its too late and these keepsakes, heirlooms and photos get left behind as the next generation doesn’t know the story and doesn’t understand the value.
Getting organized in any area of life and work should not be about assigning blame or guilt to what hasn’t happened, it’s about taking action now and honoring your possessions and space for the present and for the future.
So the question begs, how do I organize them? Here are 5 steps to help you: I call this my ‘ALBUM’ method!
Arrange and Sort
Gather some shoe boxes or other trays to sort in. Have a marker and note cards ready to make categorizing easy.
Choose your categories based on dates, life stages, events, or people. You decide, just remember to think long term on what makes most sense for you and your family.
If you can’t decide ultimate order now, that’s ok just take time to label the categories you come across well so putting in order later will be easy.
Limit and Purge
Toss the extra packaging, old flyers and old cardboard frames.
Toss any unflattering, fuzzy or ‘too dark/too light’ shots.
Redundant, duplicated, off centre and poorly framed shots can get tossed too, unless there is any potential to create a special effect when scrap booking a very special image. In which case do limit this, as in reality you’re not going to do this with every subject.
Toss pictures taken for temporary needs or practice shots.
Box it up safely
Chip in and get good archival quality photo boxes that are acid free.
‘Neatly’ label the outside of each, and don’t mix up your categories. That ‘I’ll put it here for now’ mentality is what gets us cluttered in the first place. This stuff is either valuable and to be honored, or it’s not.
Safely store negatives in envelopes with photos if possible.
Upgrade when you have time
When shopping for albums & frames consider your volume, the sizes and where in your home you will display them.
Take the time to plan how much album space to allot to each category.
Purge more as you go.
Maintain your system
Develop film or download images from digital cameras immediately.
Limit the pictures you take, or keep. Don’t fall back into that ‘good enough for now’ habit.
Update boxes routinely, monthly, bi yearly or yearly.
Then sit back, enjoy your collection, invite family and friends to view them with you.
Re-live all those great memories in style while making new ones to cherish along side them.
Enjoy the peace of mind being organized brings and share the news on how grrrrreat it really feels.
To learn more about organizing your home, your office and everything in between, get resourceful and check out the information and free gifts available on this site.
You can also call or write today and I will be happy to discuss any organizing dilema you may be experiencing.
Additional free resources:
Archival Products - www.archival.com
Collection Protection Supplies - http://www.bagsunlimited.com
Specialty Options - http://www.houzz.com/photos/traditional/storage-boxes
Instructions on the nitty-gritty of photo storage – http://www.ehow.com/how_4599899_best-way-store-photographs.html
Tips on how to organize digital photos – http://smallnotebook.org/2008/05/20/how-to-organize-digital-photos-the-easy-way/
I love using Microsoft 'Outlook'. Like the rest of the Microsoft Office suite this gem is a must for me, as the features it has are great for keeping emails, calendar appointments and tasks organized.
Features like 'categories', 'drag and drop' capabilities, 'reminders' and 'flags' make organizing email, time and tasks much easier.
Today, for all you 'Outlook' users I have a few helpful links to learn how to set up Auto Reminders... Enjoy!
*Click here to learn about 'Auto Responses' for Outlook 2010:
*Click here to learn about 'Auto Responses' for Outlook 2007:
*Click here to learn about 'Auto Responses' for Outlook 2003:
While you're visiting 'office.microsoft.com' why don't you check out the other software files too? After all, you never know what you can find to make your job easier.
PS: If you use Outlook, Gmail, Hotmail or anything else and are looking for some good tips on how to perform a certain functions that will make your work easier, please email me. If I don't already know the answer, I will take time to find some answers for you and pass them on in a following ezine.
Once while I was visiting with my dad we decided it would be a great idea to give my laptop a cleaning. Now I have done this before so I wasn't too worried, yet I think my dad's vacuum is a little more powerful than the one I have because as we were giving the key board a once over my 'J' key disappeared. Yikes!!
Of course you can imagine my shear first reaction of terror. This might be slight exaggeration yet indeed it did make me pause with concern.
Luckily my dad just popped open his vacuum, found my 'J' and it was still looking ok. I managed to get it placed back on my laptop keyboard and all was well again. Now I make sure to use the small attachment I have at home that the key wont fit through. Overall I am very careful with my laptop because, it cost a lot of money and I want it to last a long time.
What about your computer, what about your companies systems? Did you want your investment to last a long time and run well too?
Let me ask you, did you know...
The average business spends more per month on its coffee supplies than it spends in an entire year providing preventive maintenance service on it’s computer hardware system, which they have invested anywhere from several thousand to hundreds of thousands of dollars in purchasing.
Modern computers with their powerful computing ability no longer need to be replaced every 2-4 years. If properly maintained, computer hardware can last 7-10 years or longer, saving your company several thousand to hundreds of thousands in capital investment. Employees appreciate a clean, healthy work place environment and customer testimonials report a noticeable reduction in employee sick time. What does one employee sick day equate to in costs to your business not only in unrecoverable salary and benefits expense, but also disruption to the workplace productivity, fumbled orders / customers, lost sales?
Think your janitorial service is cleaning your computers, better think again. At best, janitorial companies will do little more than wave a feather duster over your equipment. This is usually the janitorial company’s policy for insurance reasons.
But don't worry, I found a solution for you:
Let me introduce you to Dataclean Computer Services. Their client list speaks to both their reliability and integrity, providing service to the banking industry, call centre’s, law firms, municipal police, crown corporation offices, provincial utilities companies, municipal city facilities and small to corporate sized independent business.
Datacleans service maintenance schedules are custom tailored to fit your business based on your specific office environment requirements. i.e. shared vs. exclusive use of equipment.
For an online quotation for your equipment cleaning requirements visit www.dataclean.ca and click on the "Online Quote" tab.
Dataclean Computer Services
Contact: Willard Wilton
Willard’s got my support:
"What impressed me the most about the service and products that Willard at Dataclean provides his clients is the outstanding integrity and commitment he demonstrates while doing so. The level of dedication and care that Willard puts into his work, in my perspective, is the most valuable aspect of working with him. The product options are fantastic too, yet it's the people thatdo it for me. Thanks again Willard!" Michelle Panzlaff – Tidy Tiger Solutions
From my 20 Step Office Organizing Checklist, the task for this week is:
This visual map can help you in several ways:
Gain a more complete understanding of the process
Identify problem areas and find solutions to close any gaps
Locate the critical stages of a process
Show the relationsips beween different steps
For many it is hard to know where to start on creating such a strategy, figuring out just how complex it should be, or what software they can use to create a professioanl looking one.
Try these resources or call me and I will be happy to help.
Not only can we work work together to create this tool for you, I can help you streamline the physical systems to match.
By Melia Goertzen, of Caron Business Solutions
You get regular oil changes for your car. You drag your kids to the dentist every six months. You worry about replacing your roof this summer, even though you know you could probably wait another few years. You are proactive about all the things around you, yet you never focus on yourself...
What about the time you spend working? Do you make the most of it? Doing the books, keeping records, time and billing, working on payroll... and what about that dreaded time we call tax season? How much time do you spend scrunched over your computer, paper covering your desk, pencil in hand, reaching for the Tylenol? If you're like most people, it's probably more than you care to admit.
Once Michelle at Tidy Tiger has done a number on the piles of paper, maybe it's time to learn the most effective ways to use your computer software. Whether you're a larger business running on Accpac, a smaller business using Simply Accounting, or just using Microsoft Excel to keep track of the day-to-day "stuff", chances are you could be using the program more efficiently.
By spending one day in a classroom, learning from Certified Trainers and using hands-on practical examples, you will gain new insight into how to use the tools you already have more successfully. Make the jump from a plain old Excel table to a Pivot Graph. Stop spending time on repetitive tasks, and set up recurring transactions in Simply Accounting. Don't just track your inventory, but control it using Accpac.
You invest in so many things around you, isn't it time you focus on yourself? Don't you think you're worth it? If you're ready to take your knowledge to the next level, check out www.caronbusiness.com/training, or contact Melia at 604-291-6311. Mention this article for 5% off any course.
Imagine the next time you are visiting your mechanic; you witness him using his high-tech diagnostic tool for your car, as a hammer. Wouldn't you ask, "Isn't that a valuable piece of technology that could be put to better use?"
I mean, perhaps the tool works well as a hammer, yet it is capable of so much more, so I think that the mechanic would want to get the most out of it, and leave hammering for a hammer, right?
Now, take a moment to think about your "high-tech" devices, for instance; your computer, the software and any peripherals. They are designed with features and functions that for the most part can make your life easier, if you know how to operate them well.
Take for example, Microsoft Outlook, sure it handles email, yet did you know you can manage tasks and appointments with drag and drop features too? Now consider what can be done with Excel. That simple list of vendor contacts you may have, can be mail-merged to mass mail out letters, emails or labels.
These two examples are just simple features and there are many more to explore. If we never get to use these features or see them in action, we are not even in a position to consider our options. What I have found is that once someone knows what their devices and software are capable of, they can discover doors and solutions never even considered before.
So, you may ask, where to start, to learn more?
One of my first suggestions is to open the software you use the most, or one in which you may have seen or heard others use a lot which you feel will serve your needs best.
Open the “Help” file, then go to the “Table of Contents” and explore.
For devices such as phones and other peripherals, find your manual and do the same.
I know for some, terminology and jargon can seem unfamiliar and intimidating, but don’t let that stop you. We can’t possibly all “know everything” can we? I know business professionals that are experts at what they do yet don’t know half of what their software can do to make their work easier.
When you are exploring, try a few things out that you never did before. Use the experience to get familiar with the style of direction that the information provides so when using again you will be able to go faster.
The last bit of advice I have is to give yourself a little time to learn something everyday and schedule time to review terminology as well.
To your ever increasing productivity!
Do you have too many emails and can’t get to everything, yet don’t want to leave your co-workers and clients hanging wondering if you even opened their email? Then like with the mail you should open and decide on each message right away and preferably over the trash.
If you find yourself reading all your emails in a row and then afterwards re-reading the important ones and only then respond or perhaps sometimes letting hours or days pass before returning them or forgetting about them altogether try applying the “one-touch” rule.
For example, if an email comes in that requires no return mail and no follow up file it away in its appropriate folder or delete it immediately. Or if something comes in that requires you to take action soon, yet not at the very moment, make a calendar or task appointment to remind you to take action when you know you will have time, and then immediately following this file away the email into it’s appropriate folder. Here is where spending time to set up good folder systems within your email to find the emails again when you need them will become imperative.
For emails that regularly come in yet you know in advance that they will not require your immediate attention and can be put off until you require the information, such as newsletters or the odd report, set your email with a “Rule” to file away the email into the appropriate folder automatically. You can then look at it when you have time or even set a reoccurring calendar appointment to remind you to check it when you know you will have time to do so.
If you do get an email and the sender is in need of a response sooner than you know you will be able to give an appropriate one, try not to leave them stranded, wondering if their email was overlooked or forgotten, and send them a brief note as to when they can expect a proper answer. At least this way they will rest assured you have acknowledged them and will be more apt to wait patiently until they hear from you again.
As things are easier said then done, be sure that you set an appropriate reminder for yourself to get back to people when you said you would. Give yourself a bit of a buffer if you feel you need it too, because as they say “It is better to under promise and over deliver than to over promise and under deliver”.
For more tips and information on email management and email etiquette start by checking out the “Top 26 Most Important Rules of Email Etiquette” http://email.about.com/od/emailnetiquette/tp/core_netiquette.htm
This week we have the pleasure of receiving some valuable tips on how to preserve your precious memories.
Our organizing partner “Golden Legacy Preserved Ltd” has thoughtfully provided some very good information and if you have photos that you want to make sure stay precious, I urge you to read this article for the full scoop…
Here is a common concern:
"My photos are fading away! I wanted to show to my grandchildren the photos when I was pregnant with their parents, but now is too late; the photos have scratches and have almost completely faded away".
Here is part of the problem:
Chemicals on the photos and slides keep reacting over time. Some color images show marked deterioration in only 10 years turning blue, yellow or red in most cases. The color dyes used in photo prints, slides and negatives will irreversibly decay overtime.
Changes in temperature and humidity produce one kind of fading, changes in lighting conditions are responsible for other kind of fading. The oil in our hands and dust in the environment are also responsible for deterioration that will become more evident overtime.
What can we do to protect our valuable photos?
The decaying process is progressive and irreversible but it can be slowed down by careful storage and handling of the photos.
Color photos will last longer if stored in the dark, in a cool dry location. The worst place to store old photographs is in the basement (too damp) or attic (too hot).
Do not stack them on top of each other, photos are easily scratched and should be stored in archival plastic or paper sleeves. Most inexpensive photo albums could damage the photos. Particularly, avoid albums with sticky adhesive pages.
Be careful when removing fragile photo prints, slides and negatives from boxes, sleeves and photo albums. Avoid touching of surface areas and do not force the photos off from the photo album or from each other.
Another more permanent solution would be to professionally transfer them to CD or DVD.
If professionally scanned, photos can then be digitally enhanced with specialized software to help restore the faded dyes to a point somewhere near to original appearance, depending on the extent of the damage. Some minor scratches could also be repaired by qualified technicians. This solution has many benefits; not only the photos will last a lifetime on a CD or DVD but you can also copy and share them with family and friends all around the world and the quality will never deteriorate regardless of how many times you play them or make copies out of them.
Thank you Golden Legacy for your helpful information, I am sure many readers will learn some important things about storing their precious memories.
To help get your photo in order, call us, Tidy Tiger, yet when you need to have your memories preserved contact Golden Legacy Preserved Ltd
Golden Legacy professionally transfers Photos/Slides, VHS/Camcorder, LP/Cassettes to CD/DVD with great attention to details..
"Golden Legacy Preserved Ltd. has my highest recommendation. What impressed me the most about Golden Legacy was Luis. He has passion and knowledge, so your legacy is in good hands!" Michelle
Visit them today to learn more… www.GoldenLegacy.ca
or call 604-527-0515 to speak with them today.