Using Technology to Get Organized
Whatever your organizational need, you can find a way for technology to help you. Check out these handy electronic tools/apps:
Make Lists with Evernote-"Capture anything-save your ideas, things you like, things you see, things you hear." An electronic note-taking tool that you can easily access anywhere. Add pictures and web pages you want to keep track of. There's an app for your smartphone, you can email yourself items, and also download the software for your computer.
Scan Paper Documents - Once you're done working with a document, studies show that if you place it in a file drawer, it's VERY unlikely that you're ever going to retrieve it. If that's the case for your documents, or if you're trying to save on space, consider scanning paper instead of filing it, (assuming you actually need to save it). Tools like NeatDesk can scan up to 50 pages via an automatic document feeder, and can convert those documents into searchable PDFs. Also tools such as Neat Receipts or Pixily help facilitate the process of getting receipts scanned onto your computer.
Your Computer is an Electronic File Cabinet - Be descriptive when you name files-you can use up to 255 characters! That way when you search your computer, you can easily find what you are looking for! When labeling ask yourself, "If I want this file again, what word will I think of first?"
Electronic Billing and Payment - Sign up for online bill paying through your bank and/or vendor companies for convenience (pay bills when and where you want from any computer or mobile device within minutes). The newest technology makes it possible to receive interactive bills at the bank sites, and reminders or links to the bills in email. Advanced features allow the consumer to authorize their bills to be paid on time automatically if it's within a certain dollar amount. And there are nearly 300 companies who offer electronic billing options for their customers. For a complete list, visit www.mycheckfree.com.
Digital Photos - Use a software program such as iPhoto, Adobe Photoshop Elements or Picasa to help you organize, edit, search and print your digital photos. And don't forget to print your favorites so they are appreciated on display or in digital photo books. Note: not everyone is a scrapbooker! It is ok to simply flip through your photos in an organized photo box or traditional photo album.
Budgeting/Finances - Use finance software such as Mint.com (there's an app for that!), Quicken or Microsoft Money to make family budgeting a cinch. You can sync these programs with your bank and credit cards so you don't have to manually enter any transactions. See what you are actually spending in each category of your budget!
Family Calendars - Create calendars, task lists, and reminders for yourself using gmail calendar or whatever email program you use. Your family's birthdays, doctor appointments, parties, sports/activities, and other events can all be entered - and be color coded per person. Then you can discard multiple paper schedules and meeting notices by printing out one master version for the refrigerator.
Contact Database - Rather than an old address book with everyone's contact information, use a system like Outlook, Act! or My Mail List and Address Book to automate the entire process. You can easily update information as people move, track notes from your interactions, and categorize entries into multiple groups such as family, friends, professional contacts, or even your Christmas card list to easily print labels each year.
Back up your computer with Carbonite.com Be sure to back up your computer so your digital collections of photos, emails, and all your other files you have spent time creating are protected. It is about $50/year and well worth the peace of mind!
Information gathered by Nikki Fingerle using
resource articles on www.onlineorganizing.com