The Top 5 Ways to Organize Your Technology This Fall

As students head back to school, the fall season often unleashes a pent-up desire to organize and consolidate our lives. Age aside, we feel the need to regroup.

While you’re busy organizing your homes and garages, don’t forget to apply this mindset to technology. Fall is a great time to organize, store, and validate the files, data, personal information, contacts, online activity, and social media presence on your devices.

If you don’t regularly give your computers, laptops, tablets, smartphones, and mobile devices the attention they deserve during the year, the fall season is a great time to get all your tech gear in tip-top shape. Here are five things you can do:

  1. Share calendars

Most Android and iOS smartphones and mobile devices let you share or sync your calendar with family and friends. With access to each other’s calendar, busy spouses can plan family vacations and coordinate children’s activities more easily. Perhaps you want to share your calendar with your carpool buddies or babysitter to better coordinate schedules. Calendar sharing is a handy organizational tool with many uses.

If Outlook is on your tech gear, you already have calendar-sharing capability, as well. Overlay mode is an under-used calendar gem introduced in Outlook 2007 that lets you place multiple shared calendars on top of one another, producing a consolidated view of two or more people’s schedules that look like a single calendar.

  1. Clean up social media platforms

Now is a good time to revisit your online profiles and collaborative activity on social media. Ensure the information you’re presenting is still current and relevant. Assess what’s working, and clear away what isn’t.

If you can’t remember meeting someone who’s frequently sending you mundane status updates and instant alerts, it’s a pretty good sign you have more than one contact you seldom need. Bite the bullet and trim them from your activity feeds. Turn off updates and unfollow them. It’s OK to cut ties with contacts who drain you, and to stop following people who don’t add value to your pursuits.

Tidy up the contact list on your phone, too. If you don’t recognize a name, can’t put a face and a place together, or haven’t made contact with someone in more than two years, delete them from your contacts list.

While you’re pruning your contacts, take a fresh look at the birthday notification tool in Facebook. Cut anyone you barely remember meeting, and anyone you know you’ll never send wishes to regardless of how long the contact remains in the Facebook notification tool.

Lastly, turn down the noise on your news feed, and unsubscribe from posts you rarely visit.

  1. Free up storage space

If your hard drive is overstuffed with photos, videos, and music files, scale back in a meaningful way. Many of these unused files are taking up valuable space on your hard drive and slowing down your computer when you run a search.

Transfer the space-hogging files to an external drive, flash drive, CD, or other storage device.

  1. Back up files

Don’t learn the hard way. Buy an external hard drive or storage media to back up your files. Alternatively, use a cloud application to store and access your files from anywhere and any device, with a web browser.

Back up data from your smartphone as well. If you have an iPhone, you can back up your phone to iCloud or use iTunes to back it up to a computer.

On an Android phone, Google uses your sign-in to sync device settings, contacts, and app data to the cloud. Unlike Apple’s backup options, the sync process on Android doesn’t automatically back up photos, text messages, or call logs.

  1. Check your security settings

For the best security, make sure your computers, printers, smartphones, and mobile devices have the latest software versions installed. Use unique passwords and change them frequently. Verify the security of your wireless network, and perform scans and tests of your security mechanisms regularly.

Finally, tech organizing isn’t complete without a review of your computer security. Ensure your antivirus software is up-to-date and don’t fall for the claim that multiple antivirus programs are better than one. Multiple virus checkers running simultaneously in the background can—and often will—interfere with each other.

Timothy S. Burns

Vice President Customer Care.