Tech In Check?

Home-office technology can help you in your quest to organize, but it can also leave you swamped in your own bits and bytes.

Equipping your office with the right technology naturally helpsyou increase productivity, but don't count on it to do the samefor your organizational skills. PCs, printers, fax machines andother electronic equipment can create quite a few organizationalchallenges. But we do have some solutions for you:

Challenge: Lightening the load on your computer. Theadvantage of a computer over traditional file cabinets is theamount of information it can store; the disadvantage is . . . theamount of information it can store.

Solution: Get in the habit of purging your hard drive ofunwanted documents the same way you would your file cabinets. Ifyou know you'll never refer to a document again, dump it.Otherwise, when you need to find an important document, you'llwaste too much time searching through unnecessary files until youfinally find what you're looking for.

Challenge: Avoiding data loss.

Solution: Don't wait until your hard drive crashes tothink about backing up your data. One of the best investments youcan make is in a reliable backup system. Equipment is easy andrelatively inexpensive to replace compared to information andtime.

Challenge: Managing numerous e-mails.

Solution: Read and respond to your e-mail in groups. Rather thanchecking your e-mail many times a day and putting off respondingeach time, take action immediately and move on to the next message.Postponing e-mail responses is no different from shuffling thepapers on your desk-they're both a waste of time.

Challenge: Juggling multiple voice-mail messages.

Solution: Make sure you have a high-quality voice-mailsystem that's able to handle the volume of calls you receivedaily. Also, your system should be equipped with enough options tomeet your needs. When recording your outgoing message, make sureyour message is audible, identify yourself or your company, and askthe caller to leave the best time to return his or her call. Makingthe latter effort reduces the amount of time you spend playingphone tag.

Challenge: Resisting the urge to slug along with slow,outdated equipment.

Solution: Buy the fastest computer system you can afford. Thinkit's a waste of money to buy an updated system? Calculate theamount of time you waste waiting to log on to the Net, printdocuments or process data-then ask yourself what your time isworth. Also, don't skimp on your printer. Keep in mind thatwhile most of your clients don't see what's in your office,they do see what comes out of your office.

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