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Getting Organized with Palms & OtherTechnology

Posted by Jan Jasper on: 2006-03-30 18:40:48

Self SEO > Personal Tech Articles


There are many types of computerized organizing products that claim to save us time. We can choose between information or contact management software such as Outlook, Act!, Goldmine, InfoSelect, Now Up-To-Date (for the MAC), and many more. Then there are the PDAs (personal digital assistants), which fall into 2 categories: those that run on the Palm operating system, and Microsoft’s Pocket PC. But when I observe how people use these products, I see that many 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 these products.


Importance of Realistic Expectations

Stephen Covey observed that many people seek a "Magic Tool" which they hope will magically, effortlessly, get them organized. But in reality it's not that simple: In addition to choosing the right tool and using it properly, we must manage paper and phone calls, set priorities, deal with crises, juggle multiple projects, and plan for the future. Many people have a To-Do list dozens of items long, including tasks that have been waiting for months. Is such a list more effective just because it's "in the computer"? Obviously not!

Choose Carefully, Then Learn to Use It

Don't get me wrong -- I'm no Luddite. I love computers. I'm totally dependent on my contact management and scheduling software -- it literally saves me hours each week. (In case you're curious, I use Goldmine). Yet few people seem to get the full benefit of the technology they’re using. For some users, these products even 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 it, so they're only using a fraction of its potential. Or they're using the wrong software for their needs. Many people even use two or three software packages that do basically the same thing -- so the time wasted switching back and forth (not to mention the confusion that results!) outweighs any benefits. Last but not least is a problem that’s completely self-inflicted and easy to prevent – I refer to data loss due to failure to back up your data and guard against battery failure.

It's Still Up To You

Truth is, calling such software or handheld computers "organizers" is a misnomer. They're really just places to store information. In themselves, they do not organize anything. WE do --through a comprehensive system of time, paper, task, and information management. So, if you're tempted to buy an electronic "Magic Tool," choose very carefully. Then, once you've bought it, take the time to find out all it can do -- and then use it to the max!

Copyright Jan Jasper 2005

Jan Jasper has been helping busy people to work smarter, not harder since 1988. She is the author of "Take Back Your Time: How to Regain Control of Work, Information, & Technology" (St. Martin's Press). Jan has helped thousands of people juggle multiple projects, survive information overload, and get the most from office technology. She also does configuration and training for software such as Goldmine & Microsoft Outlook. Call 212.465.7472 or visit http://www.janjasper.com




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