Three computing resolutions for the New Year

31st December 2013

A chance for change

A new year is upon us and, along with it, the opportunity for a fresh start. Most of us will go back to work emboldened and refreshed by some time off over the Christmas and with a new perspective. It’s important to capitalize on that sense of renewal and a good place to begin is with the tool you use most in your working life – your computer.

Our use of computers is rife with bad habits. When we have more immediate work to get done, its easy to continue doing things the way we always have, even if we know there’s a better method. The ‘I’ll do it tomorrow’ approach to changing our working practices is very popular but not very productive! Here are three simple things you can do to get improve your computer usage in the new year:

Clean your equipment

And keep cleaning it..! It’s long been know that our computer keyboards and mice are rife with germs. A 2004 BBC article stated that our, “Work stations contain nearly 400 times as many microbes than lavatories,” with the main offenders being phones, harbouring up to 25,127 microbes per square inch, keyboards (3,295) and mice (1,676). By comparison, the article states the article toilet seats harbour only 49 microbes per square inch.

Combatting this potential health hazard is straightforward – cleaning your devices with an antibacterial wipe will kill 99% of the germs. Simply by a packet of wipes to keep on your desk and once a week give your devices a once over for a hygienic workspace and peace of mind.

Organise your files

The files on your computer are not dissimilar to bacteria themselves – the more of them there are, the faster they multiply..! Navigating through the files on your computer becomes increasingly difficult the more that there are, but often we persevere with this approach rather than taking 10 minutes to clear out or move them as required.

Taking the time t sort through your files if half of the battle, but there are two simple tips that can make this even easier: 1) Use a standard approach to naming your files so that its clear what each file is and what version it is. 2) Create ‘Archive’ folders to which you can move old versions of files. This will make navigating your computer easier without having to delete files that you may need to reference in the future.

Use cloud storage platforms

That is, if you haven’t already. There are two big benefits to cloud storage platforms – you can access your files wherever you are on any device and your files are always backed up. Backing up files has always been a golden rule of computing, but one that has historically required an investment of time that many people wouldn’t entertain. Now, however, services like Google Drive, Microsoft SkyDrive and DropBox offer free cloud storage plans that just require a quick installation process. Once your up and running, its just like using a normal folder on your computer but your files are backed up automatically online.

Nowadays, should the worst happen and your computer give up the ghost, you have absolutely no excuse for losing important documents..!

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