By Patty Kreamer, Certified Professional Organizer and owner of Organized A to Z.com
Everywhere you look, people seem to be absorbed with technology. That’s no surprise, since high tech gadgets have made it easier and more convenient to do ordinary, common tasks. And while you can argue that too much technology can be a bad thing (and we would agree), there are ways to implement technology into your routine to bring more efficiency and organization to your life.
Besides using your Smart phone to make a call or access your e-mail anywhere, anytime, there are lots of other ways to incorporate technology into your life that may be less invasive and more attractive to those of you who don’t want to be tethered to your phone 24-7. Consider the following ways that you can organize electronically:
Ways to Organize Your Life Electronically:
- Calendars & schedules: There are many, free Web-based calendar apps that allow you to set up automatic e-mail reminders so you don’t forget important appointments, birthdays, or anniversaries. About One is one you might try—it’s a calendar and household organizer in one!
- Filing systems: By keeping scanned copies of documents on your computer, you can find information quicker by searching with keywords instead of flipping through lots of paper. Neat Receipts is an all-in-one scanner and information organizer that gives you the power to transform any kind of paper into live data directly inside the Office application you’re using.
- Paying bills: You can save time and money by paying bills electronically—no more postage or trips to the post office. Most banks offer bill paying for free, or for less than a stamp per transaction. In addition, you may be able to schedule recurring payments or payments in advance.
- Expense tracking or bookkeeping: There are lots of electronic options for keeping track of your finances, from simply balancing your checkbook to tracking household expenses and creating budgets. If your bank has online capabilities, choose software that allows you to download transactions from your bank or credit card account to save you from hand-entering all of your receipts.
- Healthcare – How many times have you needed important information about your health but didn’t have it readily available? Tools like the Jakoter Health Tag not only organizes your information but make it portable, too.
- Leisure – Ebook readers cut down on the accumulation of books on your shelves, and ebooks cost less than traditional hardback and paperback books.
Of course, as convenient as electronic organizing is, there can be drawbacks. First and foremost, you have to be willing to adjust to a new routine or “way of doing things.” Change doesn’t come easy for everyone, so be patient, flexible, and thoughtful about your needs and goals. Don’t go high-tech just to be up with the times. If your new system doesn’t save you time or make your task easier, you’ll only end up frustrated and bewildered, and your life will be more chaotic, not organized. Below are a few more possible downsides that you’ll want to plan for:
Potential Downfalls of Electronic Organizing
- Lost Information: Computers crash and Smartphones can get lost. You can lose everything if you don’t back up, and back up often! Luckily, there are many affordable services that back-up your data automatically so you don’t even have to think about it.
- Loss of Access to Information: If you store everything electronically, you could lose access to your information if you need to send in your computer, Smartphone, or iPad for repairs. Make sure you have multiple points of access to your calendar or other important information that you use every day. Use apps that sync with other resources or store data online.
- Out of Sight, Out of Mind: If you forget to use your online calendar or to-do list on a daily basis, you could miss important appointments or tasks! Electronic organizers and calendars have to be opened to be accessible, which isn’t helpful for those who need a tangible copy in plain sight to keep on track. If this is you, consider a hybrid system—use a notebook or planner to keep your schedule, but set up automatic reminders via e-mail or text message for the most important items.
- Security: The last thing you want is to allow the whole world access to your information. Make sure to choose sites and services that are password-protected, use encryption, and guarantee privacy.
- Passwords: Speaking of passwords, if you go electronic, you’ll have a lot of them to remember. Consider keeping track of them in a book that you can keep secure. Try the Deluxe Password Organizer for a single, centralized location to keep all your passwords safe.
The most important piece of organization is functionality, so whether you organize with apps, software, online, or with a paper, pencil, and a list, make sure you create a system that works for you! Best wishes for an organized 2012!
About Organized A to Z.com
Are you looking for tools to simplify your busy life? At Organized A to Z.com we are dedicated to providing the highest quality organizing and storage products to help you become more productive and simplify your life.
Owned and operated by Certified Professional Organizer, Patty Kreamer, and partnered with Professional Organizers all over the country, you are sure to find the best of the best in organizing products.
We are always adding new organizing products so you will be sure to find something to help you get organized and control clutter!