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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 a Fax Machine

  • 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

  • Do Digital Organizers Save Time - or Waste It?
    © Jan Jasper; 2001-2012

    There are an unlimited number of digital products that claim to get us organized and save us time - from software like Microsoft Outlook* and ToodleDo,* to smart phones and all the apps available for them. But the way many people use these products, they are just scratching the surface. They're getting only a fraction of the time-saving benefits because they don't know how to choose and use them. And they may also have unrealistic expectations.

    Importance of Realistic Expectations

    Stephen Covey observed that many people seek a "Magic Tool" which they hope will magically, effortlessly, get them organized. But it's not that simple: Regardless of your digital tools, you still must set priorities, juggle multiple projects, and deal with crises. And you may have to let go of some things that you simply do not have time for. Many people have a To-Do list dozens - or hundreds - of items long, including tasks that have been languishing for months or years. Are these tasks more likely to get done just because they're in a digital device?

    Choose Carefully, Then Learn to Use It

    For some users, digital organizing tools probably waste as much time as they save - although the victim is too close to the situation to see it. Perhaps they never really learned to use the tool, so they're only using a fraction of its potential. Or they're using the wrong solution for their needs. Many people even use multiple devices and software - they have one calendar in Outlook*, another calendar at home on the fridge, some tasks are in Google Tasks* and other tasks are on paper, some phone numbers are on the original business cards and others are stored in their iPhone*. The confusion that results outweighs any benefits - you've got so many places to look it's impossible to see the big picture and set priorities. And with data all over the place, you can't regularly back it up - which we all should do regularly to protect ourselves in case a device is lost.

    It's Still Up To You

    These tools are really just places to store information. Regardless of manufacturer claims, in themelves, they do not organize anything. WE do - through a comprehensive system of time, paper, task, and information management. We need to spend time learning what our tools can do, and the discipline to use them consistently.

    *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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