Call it (early) spring cleaning. Call it New Year's resolutions.
Whatever you call it, you can start 2014 with a massive productivity boost by cleaning up malware and bloatware, embracing the cloud, and making other minor tweaks to ensure that your tech is working in your favor, not slowing you down.
What are our five big tips? Read on:
5. Clean the Bloatware.
Right now, in your browser, how many toolbars are installed? If it looks like this, you've got some work to do. We won't go into the step-by-step removal process ourselves because of the sheer variety of browsers and toolbars, but PC Advisor has the basics covered (with pictures).
And if, after disabling the toolbars, your computer is still lagging, there may be other malware present. You can install a bunch of software to try to remove the junk (Microsoft Security Essentials is free and does the trick), or another option is to back everything up and do a system restore, which guarantees that the viruses, spyware, and junk are all removed.
A full restore will make your computer run like new, but you will lose any data that you don't back up. (And we take no responsibility for you wiping out client files. Again, BACK THEM UP!)
4. Embrace the Cloud.
Speaking of backing up, instead of copying all of those files onto a few scattered thumb drives, why not take this opportunity to try out a cloud storage provider? These online storage services act like an extra hard drive, but are accessible from anywhere, so you can back up your data and restore it after wiping your hard drive or upgrading your computer. Or, if you're a jet-setter, you can leave the files online and access them from the office, on the road, over Christmas dinner, etc.
3. Evaluate Your Hardware.
This might be a good thing to do before the New Year, especially if you need the tax write-offs. Look at your office computers: Are they still running Windows XP (which will be abandoned by Microsoft in mere months)? Do they run slower than your grandmother's electric scooter, even after you've cleared the bloatware?
Depending on the timing, you may be able to deduct all or part of the cost of buying new office PCs from this year or next year's taxes. And fast-functioning PCs should mean more productivity. Trust us, nothing kills productivity like a crashed hard drive in a PC past its expiration date.
2. Become Social Media Savvy.
Yesterday, my father joined Facebook. This is notable because it's quite possible that he has never used a computer before. He's more of a heavy labor "man's man" kind of guy. If he can do it, you can too.
Make this the year you master tweeting, status updating, and linking in, all in a way that enhances your firm's online presence. And please, whatever you do, avoid the mistakes of our biggest social media dunces of 2013.
1. Protect Your Privacy.
The NSA, data-mining companies like Google, and your clients and future employers are just some of the snooping parties you'll want to consider when protecting your privacy online. Instead of lamenting the loss of privacy in the digital age, take action to control your data.
How? Stay tuned, as we'll be providing weekly pro-privacy tips.
Have a tech tip or resolution? Tweet us @FindLawLP.
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