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Articles to Help You Be More Productive

Enjoy these articles? There are many more available:
  • Time Management Article Collection
  • Microsoft Outlook and Email Article Collection
  • Managing Paper Article Collection
  • Computer Tips Article Collection
  • Less-Paper Office Article Collection
  • Computer & Email
  • Get the Most from Microsoft Outlook

  • Beware the Empty Inbox

  • Get the Most from Your Handheld

  • Do Digital Organizers Save Time - Or Waste It?

  • Efficient E-mail Habits

  • Transitioning from Paper to Digital Information Storage

  • Faxing Without Paper Saves Time

  • Getting Your Files When You're On The Go

  • Business & the Office
  • Time Tactics for the Office

  • Keeping Track of Delegated Tasks

  • Controlling Interruptions

  • Keeping Track of Your Customers & Prospects

  • Do Your Employees Really Need Customer Service Training?

  • Paper Management
  • Action Files Prevent Desk Clutter

  • Reclaim Your Desktop with a Tickler File

  • What To Do With All Those Business Cards?

  • Managing Project Folders - A Surprising Tip that Works

  • Time Management & Organizing
  • The Power of Planning Ahead

  • Words of Wisdom You Should Ignore

  • Coping with Information Overload

  • Thirteen No-Tech Time Management Tips

  • Getting the Most From Handheld Technology
    © Jan Jasper; 2002-2012

    Many people buy a device like a DROID* or iPhone* expecting that it will magically, effortlessly get them organized.

    While this technology, properly used, can help you be more productive, it's not magic. You must be a fairly organized person to begin with. If you want to manage tasks, you have to enter them consistently, then prioritize and actually complete the tasks. If you manage time badly, can't prioritize, and your to-do list is hundreds of items long, putting it into digital format won't help you.

    Plus, any handheld device has limits. Of necessity, their apps lack some of the features of comparable programs for the desktop or laptop. Even if your handheld organizing app is very feature-rich, the screen size and limit on the number of windows you can have open simultaneously is limiting.

    It all depends on what you're used to. If this is your first attempt to get digitally organized, it might not bother you. But if you are accustomed to a powerful program on a desktop or laptop, such as Outlook* or Act,* it can be a big disappointment.

    If you want to sync between your handheld and desktop (or laptop) machine, the bundled synchronizing utility program is often very limited. Fortunately, there are some good 3rd-party alternatives. Look at products from CompanionLink* or DataViz.* - these will get more of your data into your handheld. But even with the best syncing conduit, not everything can be transferred to the PDA. For example, you may not have all the fields you want, links between contact and appointments may be lost, and notes may be truncated.

    Do some testing so you know what to expect. Synch your database from your desktop computer to your handheld, and look carefully to see if all the information you need survived the journey. Then synch back from handheld to desktop and look again. Take time to set up the sync process and the field mapping. You may find that some of your information simply cannot sync - but it may not be anything you have to carry with you. As long as you know the handheld's limitations, you won't be caught off-guard.

    If you don't need to sync your calendar, task list, etc. between your laptop and your handheld at all, you can sidestep the whole sync challenge. Just make sure you back up the data in your handheld. There are products like Lookout Mobile Security* that make backing up handheld data easy. You won't want to worry that all your contacts and appointments will be gone forever if your Droid* is stolen.

    Another option is to keep your contacts and calendar on the cloud, perhaps with Google* products. A privacy "nut" (I proudly admit to being one) might feel uneasy that Google would have access to all your information. Another downside is that if your internet connection goes down, you've got a problem. However, your syncing headaches are ended forever if you use the cloud.

    Now that you know the pros and cons of various options, I'm interested to hear your solution. Shoot me an email and let me know!

    *The usual disclaimers apply. My mentioning these products is not a guarantee of any sort. Obviously, you should not change anything until you've completely backed up your files. You already do that, right?

    This article is available for a one-time reprint or one-time internet posting if you include my copyright notice, provide a link to www.janjasper.com and identify me as follows: "Jan Jasper, a productivity expert in the New York City area, is the author of Take Back Your Time: How to Regain Control of Work, Information, & Technology (St. Martin's Press)." Read Terms and Conditions for details.
    Learn how the right technology can save you
    tons of time!

    About the Author:
    Productivity coach Jan Jasper has been helping busy people work smarter, not harder since 1988. Her customized approach guides clients to manage time, tasks, and information more effectively. She also provides Microsoft Outlook customization for clients. Jan is the author of Take Back Your Time: How to Regain Control of Work, Information, & Technology (St. Martin's Press). She recently completed a North American media tour as the national efficiency spokesperson for IKON Office Solutions, Inc. She has appeared on radio and TV all over North America and is quoted regularly in print. Jan is an adjunct instructor at New York University.

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