As the year ends, it’s a good time to take a look at your tech life and make sure you’re on a path to make the most of it in the new year. When I look at my own tech, there are seven things I make sure are in order.
Here’s my list:
- Check your backups. Nothing is worse than losing all of your data, so make sure your backup plan is sound. A good backup solution is “3-2-1”. That’s three (3) copies of your data in two (2) different storage types, with one (1) of those backups being not in the same place as your device you’re backing up. If you need more information, I have a post I refer people. Additionally, if you are not backing up your phone, this is a great time to start. It’s (usually) easy to do and in a lot of cases something that can be a “set it and forget it” system.
- Update your software. It’s a pain to keep your devices always up-to-date, but it’s important to, so now is a good time to check them. Doing software updates allows the companies that provide the software to make sure you’re safe from malware or bugs they know exist in their programs. You do need to be careful that any update doesn’t cause a conflict with other software on your device.
- Make copies of financial data. Beyond a good backup, I always take a snapshot from my financial software at the end of the year. This way if something happens with the data, I can always go back to the end of the previous year. Most programs, including Quicken, Quickbooks and Moneydance, have a way to create a copy which you can then archive.
- Organize your email. For most people, this means going through your email inbox and deleting any email you know you don’t need anymore or at the very least moving them out of your inbox into folders. Since I’m a “zero inbox” person, for me this means making sure the folder structure I’ve created makes sense, deleting folders I don’t need anymore and reorganizing them so I can easily find what I’m looking for.
- Organize your computer files. Along the same line as your email, the end of the year is a great time to organize your computer files. This may mean filing or removing files from the computer’s desktop, deleting files from your documents folder, going through your downloads folder, or even doing something as simple as emptying your trash on the computer (yeah, that’s a thing, if you don’t know). For me, since I use Dropbox, Google Drive, Box and iCloud Drive to house client files, it’s a great time to make sure I’ve archived things I am not going to need in the new year.
- Clean up your contacts. Way too often I find people have one set of contacts on their phone, another set in their computer and, for those using a web-based email client such as Gmail, another set of contacts in their email. Nothing is worse than attempting to contact someone and not being able to find the right number or email address. There are ways to sync the contacts across all of the different systems I just described so you always have all of your contacts where you are. If you’ve not done this, it’s worth the time to invest in doing so, if for no other reason than making sure the contacts are complete and backed up.
- Make sure your business information is correct online. Ok, this isn’t for everyone, but if you’re a business of any size, it’s a great time to make sure your website is updated and correct with the information you want to present. For instance, making sure you’re not referring to something ‘new’ on your website that you’ve been doing for months (or years!). It’s also a great time to make sure your online listings (like in Google Places or Facebook Marketplace) are showing the right information. There are programs available to help organize these listings for you, as well.
In all honesty, these are things you can do anytime of year. Having a checklist for the end of the year is a great way to reinforce old habits or start new ones.
If you need help with any of these items, let me know! I'm always happy to answer any questions you have either around these items or any IT-related project. Don't hesitate to ask... there is never a cost or an obligation to ask and get an answer.
So, what other things do you do to help your tech life at the end of the year?