The year is hurtling towards the end. A new year is just over the horizon. What are you planning to do next year? Grow? Improve what you have? Make higher margins? Maybe get a steadier stream of leads and conversions?
Whatever your plan is, it’s time to get started right away. If you are at all like me, you have way to much to do, too much to research, too much to organize, and, alas, too little time to do it all.
Here’s a few tips that will help you get a head start on the new year.
Life has become increasingly complicated. With the abundance of convenience comes the inevitable information overload. I can tell you that I have too many books I’d like to read, far too many goals I’d like to reach, and just plain too much stuff around me that has to be maintained or organized. How can you do a better job of managing all that you have to do? The answer is simple: Simplify!
Simple answer but not easy to do. Let’s look at a few areas that you could simplify that might help you reach this goal.
You may have several email addresses. That means you have to keep track of them all. Missing an important email message can cause problems. One way to simplify this is to limit yourself to only one or two email addresses. One might be a personal one such as a Gmail account, and one that’s a work email address. I have over 25 email addresses and this is becoming a pain to track. If you have several email addresses, consolidate them on a single email client such as Outlook or Apple Mail. Make sure that whatever client you choose, has the option to see your email on multiple desktops/laptops, as well as on a mobile device.
Let’s see. You had 20 projects this year. You took 500 photos on each project. That’s 10,000 photos each year. Over 10 years you’ll have 100,000 photos you need to keep track of. Not counting the 1000’s of personal photos you took. Where are you putting all those photos? Are they scattered all over the place? (Guilty as charged!) Make a point next year to consolidate them into one place. Or two places if you want to keep your personal and business photos separate.
There are several ways you can store them on the cloud. A newly introduced addition to Amazon’s Prime account holders, is Prime Photos. They give you a free, unlimited amount of storage for your photos. They also automatically upload all the photos and videos from your phone’s camera. All photos are original resolution too.
Google has a service called Google+ Auto Backup that uploads photos automatically from your laptop. You can have unlimited amount of photos at a reduced resolution for free, or pay their very reasonable storage fee.
Office 365 (the subscription based Microsoft Office) gives you unlimited storage of files and photos with your subscription. I haven’t had much luck with it. Their servers seem to be very, very slow, so I quit trying to use it. When you look at their site, it still says that it provides 1 TB of storage per user for up to 5 users. I suspect they haven’t updated their site yet, since this is relatively new.
My last suggestion is probably the best. And that’s using the online storage service called Dropbox. Dropbox has been around for a long time. They are reliable and easy to use. And they’re pretty fast too. Their prices have dropped recently, so you can get a Terabyte of storage for only $99/year. That’s a lot of storage.
There are many more places to store your photos, of course. You could store them on your computer, or on an external hard drive. The problem is that hard drives are bound to fail and you could lose all your precious photos. Or when you are on another computer, where are your photos then? Cloud storage begins to make a lot of sense, doesn’t it? Accessible anywhere, permission based, and easy to share with others. Give it a try, but do your homework before committing to a service.
Next year, make a commitment to go paperless. You may as well get used to this idea, because it’s becoming more and more the norm. And it’s just plain smart to do it. You save money, you can find things on your computers almost instantly, and you are helping the environment. Start scanning your documents. Make sure you have a good backup system. Then shred the original. We recently scanned over ten years of business documents (over 500 lbs of paper). It took very little space on our computer, and we can search and find what we need quickly.
Don’t even think of using your multi-purpose printer/scanner for this. It’s way too slow. I highly recommend the Fujitsu iX500 ScanSnap scanner. This machine is crazy fast, scanning up to 25 sheets of paper, both sides, in under a minute. Trust me, this is the way to go when you decide to go paperless. We love ours and couldn’t do without it now.
Amazon has one of the lowest prices on this. Take a look at all their models and pick the one you like the best. As I told you, I like the iX500 and I also got the portable S1100 to carry with me when I travel.
If you want to learn more about having a paperless office, check out David Spark’s eBook called Paperless available for the iPad and Mac computers. If you don’t have either one of these devices, David Sparks offers a PDF version with all the screenshots at his website. You’ll find everything you need there to plan next year’s paperless office.
That’s all for now. Simplify those three items – email, photos, and paper, and next year will be a lot simpler for you.
Wishing you the best of fortune, Randall
This article was written by Randall Soules, remodeling coach, adviser, educator, and creator of the Scientific Remodeling System, showing you better ways to advance your business, raise your profits, and improve your life, through the use of superior remodeling processes. If you would like to discover better ways to run your business, click here. He also provides his uniquely customized one-on-one coaching to a select group of contractors. Feel free to contact Randall at Randall@scientificremodelingsystem.com.
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iX500: Watch the videos!
Ipad or Mac:
Image and text for ix500: