Hoping to get control of your Inbox in 2015?

Each late December, when the new year is approaching, I instinctively think about goals for the coming year. Of course, that leads me to think about the resolutions I made for the current year and whether or not I accomplished them.

Many of my goals are technology oriented. You may have some technology goals yourself.

I often hear clients say that they want to learn how to use their iPhone or iPad better, or learn how to use cloud storage.

I must confess that I had mixed results with my resolutions for 2014.

These were my successful intentions for this past year:

  1. Get my husband’s and my computers set up to automatically back up in the cloud.
    Unlike an external hard drive, it’s the easiest and most cost effective way to protect your digital files from a disaster like fire. After extensively researching our options, I chose a service called Crashplan. Now, all of our files, folders and photos are constantly backed up on Crashplan’s remote computers somewhere.
  2. Learn something new on my iPhone, iPad or computer.
    This was easy because it has become a daily habit of mine. I am constantly looking for time saving apps or tips to make my life easier. And keeping up with all the changes those updates bring is mandatory for me.
  3. Create some online classes.
    I really loved creating video courses on “How to Create an iPhoto Slideshow” and “How to Use Your iPhone for Free (or nearly Free) in Europe.” Self-paced, online learning is a great way to learn a new skill, idea, hobby, etc.

My difficult and incompleted goals for 2014 were:

  1. Clean out and organize my digital closet (aka computer).
    Get files organized into folders, clean out the Downloads folder and delete old files. This is about as much fun as cleaning out the basement or garage! I started my digital de-cluttering, but it’s just so hard to finish it!
  2. Clean out my overwhelming Inbox.
    Delete, delete, delete old emails and organize the others into email folders. This might even be worse than organizing the files on my computer, but I’ve come up with a trick that might help me for 2015. I am going to have the computer automatically file emails from past years into folders labeled “Inbox 2014,” “Inbox 2013,”, “Inbox 2012,” etc. It will make the current Inbox look manageable and make it more rewarding as I tackle and clean out each old Inbox. It’s all a mind game!
  3. Organize my digital photos and video clips.
    I use an awesome program on my Mac called iPhoto (there are similar programs for PC’s). It can categorize pictures by date, location, event and who’s in the photo.

Which leads to my 2015 New Year’s resolutions.

Yes, I will continue to work on my digital housekeeping and I intend to create some more online classes.

The topics I’m considering will help you

  • learn how to use iTunes
  • learn how to organize and store iPhone/iPad photos, and
  • learn how to use the upcoming, new Photos program for Apple computers.

What about you? I encourage you to come up with some technology goals of your own.

The important thing is to keep learning, or at least striving to learn.

To help us both get started, here is my “Empty Your Gmail Inbox Mind Game!

Help is On the Way!

“Haul out the holly. Put up the tree before my spirit falls again. Fill up the stocking. I may be rushing things but deck the halls again now…”

Each year, as Thanksgiving ends and my Christmas to-do list looms overwhelmingly long, there are ways I use technology to help me save time, save money or just save my sanity. I’d like to share my favorites with you in hopes that you will find this holiday season a little less stressful and more enjoyable.

1. Save your sanity

Let’s start with the dreaded gift exchange drawing. Someone (maybe you?) has the pleasure of tearing little pieces of paper, writing names on them, putting them in a container and drawing them one by one to create a gift exchange list to be distributed. And, if your family is like mine, you have to redraw for family members who can’t be assigned their own spouse or child.

Stop that nonsense and go to namedrawing.com. The beauty of this free site is that you can specify rules so that spouses don’t draw each other, or parents don’t draw children, etc. With the click of your mouse, the list is created. You can copy and paste the list into an email for everyone, and you’re done!

2. Save your money

Once you know which gifts must be purchased, it’s time to save some money. There are probably thousands of shopping comparison/coupon websites and apps.

A client recently told me about a site and app called PoachIt. What I like about PoachIt is that you can create “watch lists” for price reductions on specific products. With the PoachIt app you scan the barcode for an item in the store, add it to your watch list, and wait to be notified when it goes on sale at that store. Or, you can do a web search with the product name using PoachIt.com or the app. Additionally, it’s easy to find coupons from your favorite sites or stores for free shipping or extra discount promotion codes.

Unfortunately, PoachIt does not provide price comparison shopping, so try pricegrabber.com, the pricegrabber app or the Amazon Price Check app for that.

3. Save your time (and money)

How many of you have considered switching from mailed holiday cards to e-cards? There’s a really nice site called paperlesspost.com which offers beautiful free and very low-cost holiday cards. You can choose from traditional or photo cards and it’s so easy to use. Just pick a card, personalize it, enter your email list, schedule when you want it to be sent, and that’s it!

4. Get in the spirit!

Finally, to keep you in the spirit of Christmas while you are wrapping, cooking or creating e-cards, download the Pandora app to your mobile device, select your favorite holiday genre and enjoy this “most wonderful time of the year…”

Sharing a Holiday Chuckle

I came across this funny video while drinking my coffee this morning and thought I’d share it with everyone!