Get Your Tech in Check: Technology Resolutions for 2013
It’s no secret that technology will play an increasingly large role in our lives in 2013, both in terms of the devices we use and the ways we spend our time. What are the goals and challenges that you want to accomplish and/or overcome this year? Most likely, technology can help you achieve them. Here are nine ways how.
Use technology to save time, not waste it.
Yes, playing Angry Birds can waste your time. But there are also tools and apps out there to help you stay organized and increase productivity. Evernote can help you remember everything. Pocket saves articles and links for you to read later. Todoist is a simple to-do list app that offers deadlines, color-coding, and the ability to break down tasks into sub-projects and sub-tasks. Figure out which tool would be most useful to you!
Backup your computer.
As you start a new year, it’s a great time to back up your music, files, photos and anything else on your computer. There are now several cloud-based options, including Dropbox, Apple’s iCloud, and Google Cloud. Or turn to a good ol’ portable hard drive. PC World has a great recap of what to look for and several options.
Clean out your email inbox.
Wouldn’t it be great to start the New Year off with a clean and organized inbox? Don’t worry… there are several tools to help. Revive Your Inbox is a free, 21-day program that sends you a daily email or text with tips and ways get the most out of your email. A company called OtherInbox offers Organizer and Unsubscriber tools to help organize emails and stop receiving unwanted messages. And Taskforce translates emails into tasks that can then be taken care of and crossed off the list.
Read (or e-read) more.
A typical New Year’s resolution with a tech twist. Look to sites like Goodreads to get book recommendations, share what you’re reading, and connect with like-minded readers. Or, if you’re getting tired of lugging around the latest best-selling hardcover, see if an e-reader or tablet is right for you.
Learn something new.
Continued studies seem to be all the rage these days, with organizations like Coursera partnering with colleges and universities to offer college-level courses online for free. General Assembly, which offers community and education around business, technology, and design, has locations in Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Las Vegas, San Francisco, New York, and around the world. And several companies, like Codeacademy, teach users tech skills such as coding and web development, all online.
Here’s a TED Talk from Daphne Koller, a co-founder of Coursera.
Update your Web presence.
We’ve already discussed ways to spruce up your LinkedIn profile, but a New Year’s Resolution might be just what you need to finally buy your domain name and start your own website. It can be as simple as using a Tumblr template, as complex as creating it yourself (see the previous slide), or falling in between. Build-your-own website tools such as Yola, Wix, and Weebly, allow users more options to create and customize, for free as well.
Connect with old friends.
One of the great things about social media is that it allows you to connect with friends and family all across the country. Now is the time to send a quick Facebook message to a far-away family member, connect with former work colleagues on LinkedIn, or follow your friends on Twitter.
Try new things and meet new friends.
Turn to sites like Meetup and Eventbrite to find cool events and meet new people. Users can join Meetup groups formed around specific hobbies or topics and then get together in person. Eventbrite allows users to create or RSVP for events including industry events, classes, fundraisers, concerts, and food and drink-related events. Both sites can give you something fun or something more serious to do—and will allow you to meet new people with similar interests!
Put down the phone.
We are increasingly distracted by and addicted to our mobile phones, so this resolution is a bit anti-tech. It’s also a bit counter-intuitive to use an app to curb our mobile addiction, but there are tips and tricks that can help. For a better night’s sleep, set your phone to not disturb you during certain hours, unless a call comes from a specific number.
While at dinner, challenge your companions to put their phones in the middle of the table together. The first person who caves and checks their device pays for the meal (or just the drinks, or the appetizers). And, ironically, use your phone to make calls. Rather than send text messages back and forth, take a moment for a phone call and save time.