It seems like a good time to share some ideas about annual tech maintenance. If New Years doesn’t do it for you, pick a day and make a party of it! There is never a bad time to get organized.
- Cancel the old, unused accounts and change your passwords to the ones you are keeping.
- Don’t use the same password for all your accounts. Come up with a naming convention that has a password for shopping sites, one for banking, so on and so forth.
- Do not keep passwords in your computer or phone. Paper and pen still have a use in 2013. They cannot be hacked.
- Update your contacts list.
- Setup up your folders for a more organized New Year. Most email client software like Outlook and Mail let you set rules for incoming mail that automatically filters mail into folders you create. It is highly customizable, so don’t feel you need to stick to the basic conventions of organizing just by month and year.
- Back up your archives to make space in your main drive for new projects.
- Take a look at your file structure. Has it been working for you? Maybe you need to simplify it or need something more elaborate. Go through your music, photos and even work files and decide how best to organize them – by the project, year, client or other criteria.
- Once you settle on a file structure, take your time in organizing your files. You may come across duplicate files. Be careful about copying over a file or deleting it. Once it is gone you cannot get it back. Consider a naming convention for different versions of files.
- After organizing your main drive, make a plan to back it up regularly.
This may be one of the easiest things to get out of control in terms of organization. I am a great one for stumbling across a site and just adding it to bookmarks without putting it in a category. Usually its because I come across something in an article or email, click on it and say, “Cool, I’ll check this out when I have more time.”
Web browser bookmarks can be organized a lot like your email or hard drive. They have pre-determined folders, but you can easily make folders and subfolders to suit your needs. Spend a little time with your favorite browser and learn what is available for bookmarking. Find out if you can sync your bookmarks to your mobile device. I sync mine to my iPhone for easy access on the road.
Clean Up the Shop
I do this at least twice a year! For all the talk of wireless technology I have more batteries, charging cables and accessories than draw space. A lot of it goes to my camera, but when you need to grab something on the go its better not to rummage. I try to keep a draw for chargers, one for USB cables, one for firewire (which will likely be obsolete at some point) and another for all my camera accessories. I have other storage set aside for printer ink, office supplies and blank media. The New Year is a great time re-assess organization for the year ahead, create your wish list and plan for the acquisition of more supplies.
It is also a great time to reflect on your workflow from the past year and make adjustments for the coming year. What technology did you use most? Was it readily accessible to you and easy to setup? If not, why not? Time spent on this now will give you time back in the long run with a more efficient workflow.
Now that the holiday rush is behind us we have two months of dark, cold winter to get through (at least here in the North East). This is a great opportunity to wade through some of these organization tasks so you can move on to more interesting things in the better weather.
Wishing you all the best for a New Year filled with fun new projects!
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