Simple tricks will help you keep track of your technology

File photo

Brenda Boitson of Lancaster uses her laptop at the Prince Street Cafe in Lancaster (File photo)

Just like the physical items in your home, having an organizational strategy for your digital life can increase productivity and peace of mind.

Your email inbox, phone apps and computer desktop can quickly get out of control, so it’s important to take the extra time to develop a process for organizing your data.

Email and computers

Carmen Walsh, a freelance writer and editor in Spring Garden Township, relies on folders to keep her email inbox and desktop organized.

“I don’t have the time to sort through everything if it all came into my inbox,” Walsh said. “I use the settings in my email to automatically organize client emails into their folder rather than my inbox.”

The key, Walsh said, is to always know where to look so you don’t spend extra time searching.

The same thing goes for Walsh’s desktop. She uses well-labeled folders for easy access.

Smartphones and tablets

Most smartphones and tablets have a home screen that displays the same apps every time you turn on the device. This is the screen where you should house the apps you use most often — things like calendar, email and text messages.

Organize your financial and entertainment apps or accounts you don’t use daily on other screens.

Websites

Keeping track of the websites you frequent can be as easy as bookmarking them on your preferred browser or subscribing to your favorite blogs so the latest posts pop into your inbox.

You can also use a “read-it-later” app to save links you want to read when you have time. Most can be used on a smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC. Try Pocket, Instapaper or Readability.

Digital calendars

Online or desktop calendars can be appointment-based or they can be used as a task list. Take advantage of the color-coding option to organize based on personal, family, professional or entertainment entries.

Wilda Alessi, senior manager of marketing at the York County Economic Alliance, opts to stay basic, using colors to separate just between personal and work engagements.

“But I’ve seen calendars that look like the rainbow with different colors for recurring appointments, once-and-done, internal or external meetings. It all depends on your personality and learning style,” she said.

For all of your organizational methods, don’t get hung up on perfection. Your needs will change, as will the technologies available to help you, Alessi said.

“Don’t be afraid to keep changing and experiment to find what works,” she said.

Music

It’s easy for your music library to get out of control with tracks and albums that are mislabeled or have missing information.

Claire Kurtz of The Well-Organized Woman blog recommends tackling just five tracks per day for relabeling. That way, “by the end of a year, you’ll have a consistent library that is easily searchable for those moments when you must hear that song you love.”

Photos

These days, digital photos can be increasingly hard to corral. They’re spread out over Facebook, email attachments and saved to your smartphone. The key for organizing photos usually comes down to time. So, start small. Go one album at a time. And, if you’re not already, switch to storing your photos on the cloud. Photos are large files and will really bog down your computer’s speed. Also, if anything happens to your computer or phone, your photos will still be safe.

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  1. January 8, 2014

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  2. January 17, 2014

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