Out with the old, in with the new

It’s the start of a new year and I’m sure you’ve made lots of resolutions. I’d like to make some suggestions to help you get more out of your technology.

Habits, new and old

First, this is a good time to look at your habits and decide which ones to break and which ones to make. In terms of technology, that means what are you doing that is wasting a lot of effort? What are you doing over and over again that could be done by the computer? Do your systems (both manual and automated) support your activities efficiently? Are you able to do the things you need to do in the least amount of time possible? Are you spending the bulk of your time on those things that bring the most value to you?

Learn new features of software you already use

Second, what are some things you can do with technology that you’re not doing now? One idea is to learn more of the features of a program you use every day. You probably only use around 20% of the features available. That’s a lot of features you’re not using. Find a few that would save you time or let you do things you’re not doing now and learn them.

Not sure what to learn? Keep a log of your tasks and activities. If you’re doing something more than 3 times, that’s a good candidate for computerization. Even if you only automate a portion of the activity, it will save you time and effort.

Increase your income

Third, come up with a way to increase your income (or reduce expenses). If you’re self-employed as a consultant, trainer, speaker, or another kind of knowledge professional, take that knowledge and package it in new ways. If you write articles, put them together in an ebook (short, 20–25-page books are growing in popularity) to sell on Amazon. You can easily create ebooks with software you already have. Create tips sheets and sell them on Etsy. The list of digital products you can create and ways to distribute them keep growing every day. If you work for a company, find ways to increase the company’s bottom line. It may be reducing the costs of providing customer service by creating answers to frequently asked questions. It could be learning more than the 20% of features others are probably using so you can do more with the tools you already have.

The goal is to use technology to make your life better, not add to your stress level.

Tricia Santos

After 18 years of providing computer consulting, training and speaking, I fell into a "real" job (managing a dental specialist practice). So, I gave up my business in 2007. However, I still love learning about computers and sharing what I know. This really is my favorite hobby. Hope you find it useful.

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