Holiday Mixture of Advice

Some advice is good even if it’s not necessarily precise. Just the common sense behind it is enough to be worthwhile. Here is one example: A while back, an article on email management stated that if you opened an email message and decided you could deal with it in two minutes or less, then do so immediately and get it out of your Inbox. I can’t remember where I got that from but I’ve been using it ever since and it’s helped me a great deal in managing the size of my Inbox.

Now, the thing is that maybe two minutes is not the right cutoff point; maybe it should be one minute, or maybe it should be three, but that really doesn’t matter. What matters is that I now have a rule of thumb that helps keep me organized. (And here’s something that’s really strange: sometimes I actually get a sense of accomplishment by deleting 10 spam messages all at once. That’s like shaving 20 minutes off my day isn’t it?)

This being the holiday season, I decided to do an “easy on the head” article for you. I asked my colleagues at Nicom IT Solutions and at Novus Consulting Group for tips and techniques, and in keeping with the season they generously donated some of their wit and wisdom.

So here we go…

  1. Backup your work daily to a place outside your computer: a server at work, an external hard drive, a USB data key…
  2. To get fewer emails, send fewer emails. CC only people who need to be CC’ed. Don’t feel compelled to respond if you weren’t the main (and perhaps only) recipient.
  3. Get high-speed Internet. Dialup is passé.
  4. Get virus protection. Some, like AVG and Avast are even free to home users.
  5. Do frequent operating system updates.
  6. Think twice, code once.
  7. For important e-mails, write a draft and save it, then go back to it at least 4 hours later.  Don’t fall victim to the “and another thing” factor.
  8. When you’re composing an email you know will take a lot of thought and time, type in “xxx” in the CC field in case you inadvertently hit Send instead of Save. That way you’ll get a warning instead of sending a partially-composed email.
  9. Have an on-line singsong with your son or daughter, with YouTube for music open in one window and Google for lyrics in another window.
  10. Don’t send an email to two people asking their help. Each one will assume the other will respond.
  11. Save time with shortcut keys; CTRL-C for Copy, CTRL-V for Paste, CTRL-F for Find, CTRL-Z for undo, ALT-TAB to swap between programs, the Windows Key for the Start Menu, SHIFT-F7 to bring up the Thesaurus, etc. (Google “Shortcut Keys” for more.)
  12. You can’t CTRL-Z your way out of an insult.
  13. Don’t write anything online that you wouldn’t want the whole world to read.
  14. Remember the alternative to computers in our lives is climbing trees and stealing honey from bees.
  15. Double-check that your email message has a Subject line and that you are sending it to the correct recipient before you click the send button.
  16. Believe in yourself even if others don’t. Speak your truth even when your voice is shaky. Never give up.

Have a great break!

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