Technology tips for the New Year

Ever wonder if our lives would be better if we didn’t have all the smartphones, tablets and computers we do? Ever feel like this guy?

I remember when hand held calculators came out (OK…I just dated myself a bit). This new tool gave students the ability to do math equations quickly and accurately. Those first handheld devices were a great tool.

Fast forward about 35 years. The technology advances now can do so much to improve our lives. The key to make the best use of those tools is to remember what they are….tools.

As you carry out your 2013 new year’s resolutions…here’s some food for thought:

1. Don’t keep email in your inbox. It takes up “brain space” when you glance at the same messages each time you open your inbox. There’s a system called “6-D” to help clear your email…give it a try:

Discard it. Decide you don’t need the info and hit the delete key.

Delegate it. Can someone else handle it? Forward it with instructions and then move it to a followup folder (see Drawer below).

Do it. If you can handle it in less than a couple minutes, do it and be done with it. You won’t have to come back and mentally process it again, which is a victory.

Date it. This is for e-mails that you need to reply to, but can’t right now. Drag the email to your calendar or task list so you can work on it prior to a deadline or at a time that fits best in your schedule.

Drawer. For emails that you may want to refer to later, drag or move the email to a folder. I use this technique to move emails for task followup, family, finances, etc. Use names that work for you.

Deter. I like this one for emails if I don’t want to see anything from the sender anymore. Add the sender to your blocked senders list, or unsubscribe, or set up a rule to delete the email from that sender immediately.

2. Cell phone etiquette tips. Ever feel you were a part of someone’s conversation without trying? If you need to take a call in a public setting like a restaurant, PLEASE step outside if you need to take more than a quick phone call. I had this situation happen recently when I was at the gym. I was stuck with someone on the elliptical trainer next to me who had an extended phone call. I can’t figure out how you can get in a serious workout while talking…please comment if you think otherwise.

Don’t be rude to those in front of you. Please don’t make it a habit of interrupting your current face to face conversation in order to take a phone call, send a text or check your Facebook news feed. You are pretty much saying that those around you are less important than who may be in cyberspace…not a good message.

Think about how life was before all these tremendous tools. And remember, those tools are here to make your Life Less Taxing.

On behalf of my family, our CPA firm staff I’d like to wish you a very happy and healthy 2013.