By Jane Kramer
Straight from the desk of one of our IT pros (and including some crowdsourced favs from colleagues), enjoy seven tips to make your work and home life more manageable.
Use a password manager app.
There are many apps available to help you keep your passwords safe, secure, and accessible wherever you are, and on whatever device you’re using. They can keep track of all of your existing passwords, and generate a new secure password whenever you need one. Which one to choose? That’s not for us to say, as there are pros and cons to all of them. We can say for sure, however, that it’s worth the fee to ensure the app works across all devices and browsers, because the cross-platform functionality is what helps make life simpler.
Use cloud storage for everything.
Preferably cloud storage that works well cross-platform, but even iCloud can be accessed online via a Windows machine. Anything worth saving is worth saving in the cloud, so it can be accessed on any device from anywhere with a decent cell or internet connection. You can even make some of your files available offline on specific devices, which is also handy if you know you may be without a cell or Wi-Fi connection. And, you can typically share access to files with colleagues, friends, or family as needed.
Sync your internet browser across devices.
That way, when you look up that recipe on your cell phone, it will be easily available on your tablet when you are trying to whip up dinner later. Firefox, Chrome, and Edge all have easy to follow instructions. Safari automatically syncs across devices presuming you’re signed into the same iCloud account on each device.
If you work in front of a computer all day and you can afford the cost/space, buy a second external monitor.
For some of us, more screen real estate is a worthwhile investment. We work with multiple apps and browsers at a time, often needing to reference notes or transcribe details from one program to another, never mind the actual task we’re trying to complete amidst all that back and forth. Switching between open windows on a laptop screen can be a colossal cluster. Using two monitors gives you more space so you can see and move back and forth between programs with minimal fuss.
Go scouting on Google Earth Pro.
Event planning – and vacation planning for that matter – has changed as of late (is this a glorious understatement, or what?). But you can look for event sites, walking routes, or even check out your next vacation destination right from your desktop using Google Earth Pro. Pssst, despite the “Pro” in the name, it’s free!
Bonus tips for a new user: 1) use a mouse with a wheel to zoom in/out, 2) type N to orient image to the north, 3) type R to change to change tilt of image to directly overhead.
Give up the idea that the perfect combination of apps and tech services will save you. Or that the perfect combination exists at all.
Sometimes, there can be too much of a good thing. As our lives get busier and more complicated with promotions or kids or side hustles, we’re also constantly being told that we need the latest and greatest tech to help us manage. “This new bread slicing service is just the ticket to maximize your time and minimize your hassle, and if you bundle with our calendar app, well… there’s no stopping you!” Do you actually need a bread slicing service? Does bread slicing really need to be “hacked” or “disrupted?” Do you even eat bread?
It’s always good to be on the lookout for something that would actually solve a problem, but it’s also good to be able to say no. If the way you are currently doing something already works, let it keep working and move on to something else that truly needs your attention.
Having said that…
When new tech works, embrace it.
If you find something new that works better than whatever you had before, don’t hesitate to embrace it. For us here at Event 360, this has meant switching almost exclusively to using Microsoft Teams to call and conference with colleagues.
We rolled out Teams as a Skype replacement earlier this year, and suddenly we found all our meetings naturally became video meetings using Teams. Instead of long chat messages, we’re now using Teams to ‘pick up the phone’ more. It’s so fast to click the little phone icon and hash out the matter at hand. If we’re being honest, there’s probably something related to being in quarantine and needing to see other faces that inspired us, alongside the ease of using Teams. Whatever it is, the bottom line is that it’s working (and no one seems to be screaming “but I want to use my VOIP handset more!”).