Posted by Anonymous
In a time when it can feel like the technology in your workplace is running you, it can help to be mindful of some basic areas. Here are a few tips to make you feel more in control of your technology.
1. Keep Track of Your Emails
If you're not currently using an email system that allows for easy storage of both incoming and outgoing emails, you should probably switch to one that does. For example, Microsoft Outlook is very user friendly and is designed to make email communication as organized as possible. Previous conversations can be useful in legal matters, purchase/sale agreement disputes, responsibility disputes (he said/she said) and basically anything that might require a look back at the facts.
Also, if your computer crashes and you lose important documents, there might be a chance that at some point you emailed at least some of these documents and you might be able to retrieve them from another computer off your saved emails. Your emails should be filed in organized folders so that you can go back and look for them in a timely fashion.
2. Don't Ignore Update Messages
You may have noticed an occasional pop-up on your computer telling you that there is an update available and then asking if you would like to install it. If you're like most people, you click ignore and continue working. This is not what you should be doing. These update messages are designed to help your computer run more efficiently and at a higher quality. If you do not have time to run the installation at the exact moment it prompts you, always choose the "remind me later" option so that you can take advantage of it when you have some more time.
3. Get Rid of Your Rolodex
If you're still using a rolodex, you might as well be using a typewriter, too. Get with the times and transfer your business contacts to a contact database on your computer. Microsoft Outlook and ACT! are designed for the business minded person but are easy to use even for the computer semi-illiterate.
If you do not have the luxury of an assistant to do this for you, set aside some time everyday to input at least ten to twenty contacts. Don't try and do it all at once because it is tedious and can feel overwhelmingly time consuming. In addition, seek tech support from your cell phone provider to help you synch up the contacts on your computer with the ones on your phone. This way you only have to input your contacts once but you will have them on both devices.
4. Be Wary of Attachments
Opening an unknown attachment can unleash detrimental viruses on your computer, so it is better to be safe than sorry. Never open an attachment that comes from an email address that is unfamiliar to you. If the email is from someone you do know, check the body of the email to make sure that it is specifically addressed to you in a recognizable way. If you are not expecting an email with an attachment, contact the sender and ask what it is. It may seem overly cautious, but following these screening tips can save you a lot of time and frustration in the future.
Your computer needs some sprucing up every now and then. Some cleaning should be done once a month and other things can be done once a year. Once a month you should clean your monitor for better visual clarity. Any kind of window cleaner should do the trick. Your keyboard can also use some TLC so shake it out, or better yet, use bottled air to blow out particles that have built up between the keys. You will be surprised (and appalled) to see how much gunk accumulates after awhile. Also, use antibacterial wipes on your keyboard and around your workspace, especially after being sick. This will help you avoid any recurring illnesses.
Once a year you should show the inner workings of your computer some attention by removing any unused programs. These unnecessary programs take up space and memory and cause your computer to work slower than it should. Use you computer's uninstall or add/remove software area to do this yourself, or have an IT specialist come in to help you maximize your computer's abilities.