Did you know? The second Tuesday in March is National Organize Your Home Office Day.
I’m entertained by the fact that, thanks to technology, I started this blog seated at my favorite satellite office, the Corner Bakery near my home. Not to be confused with my favorite Conference Room, the Beverly Bakery, also near my home and where I take my breakfast meetings. The real irony is that I’m avoiding baked goods, but I really love these places! And now, I’m home in my actual office.
These “home office” musings remind me that my “Home Office”, or in my case, just my “Office”, is anywhere that I am at that moment, thanks to technology. There is a dark side of tech, though:
I’ve been struggling with the myriad methods of communication available, and how to manage them all well. For example, last summer, a friend asked “Did you get my message?”, so I went back to check my:
- recent texts;recent voice mails on my mobile phone;
- recent voice mails on our home phone;
- FB messages on my personal page, and
- FB messages on my business page;
- professional email;
- personal email;
- at the time, cub scout pack email (as I was still Cubmaster and she is a scouting friend);
- twitter; and
- actual snail mail, and my really big white mail box because she lives down the street, and could have left something for me.
Ridiculous. Not the message or the friend (she is lovely), but the number of places I had to check for communications. Ugh.
Fast forward: I spent the first 7 weeks of 2017 working on what I called my High Tech Me project. My plan was to make the moving parts of my office experience work better together. To organize my “office” and clear communication clutter, I organized my tech. After assessing my needs, I (just to list a few steps):
- streamlined my IPad and IPhone apps, and set up my laptop so all the devices communicate with each other;
- set up my devices to update automatically overnight, and installed yet another external hard drive;
- purchased a few more chargers and surge protectors for the places we all use them the most (and my chargers are pink as the only female in the house, to easily identify who swiped my stuff);
- fully embraced Gmail for my personal email – it’s easy and has an app!, and I left behind our old email provider that doesn’t have an app and regularly froze up or kicked me out;
- wi-fi enabled my new IPad (woot woot);
- adjust my privacy and notification settings on all my social media and email accounts, to better manage my information;
- explored Evernote, and now use it more fully to organize my thoughts and notes;
- unsubscribed from dozens of retailers and email mailing lists; and
- re-established a relationship with Siri on my apple devices, and while we still don’t always see eye to eye, we’re making progress (and Siri is now an Australian male voice and I refer to him as Nigel. Whatever works.).
On this National Organize Your Office Day, remember these important points:
- Technology is amazing and overwhelming, but it is just a tool. It’s here to make our lives better, so set yours up to improve your life and not detract from it (and if you don’t know how, ask my web guru Claire and she will say – When in Doubt, Google it Out!)
- BACK IT UP. To the cloud, to a hard drive, to your lap top. Back up your information. And get a case for your phone. Yes, you,
- Keep current on your device udpates, all the time.
- De-Clutter or streamline what you can. Unsubscribe, send all your emails to one address, get rid of your home phone (we’re working on this one!), mirror your devices so you only have to remember one set-up, etc.
- Make maintenance a habit. I have actually added a line item to my daily routine to remind me to check different communication methods until it becomes a habit.