File what? How to eliminate paper with “FileThis”

September 17th, 2014

I am often asked “how can I easily get rid of papers that enter the house?”  My first question is “what types of papers come in to the house?”  The typical answer is mail, bills, statements, etc.  The logical response is stop them from coming in to the house.  I mean, stop the physical papers.

File This Paperless Made EffortlessYears ago, I heard of a service called “File This Fetch”.  It is now called “FileThis“.  Not sure why they dropped the fetch but the service is the same… actually it continues to get better.  The gist of FileThis is you sign up for the service, connect your accounts (utilities, financial statements, pay stubs, etc) and File This fetches your statements and bills.  It then files them in a location you designate.  I will let you read about the security of sharing your log-ins.   I am not concerned about the security.  I have been sharing my logins with reputable sites like Quickbooks and Mint for years.  FileThis enables you to stop receiving the paper statements and bills and still keep them organized.

I was recently asked a bunch of questions about FileThis.  I figured many others may have these same questions.  Check it out.  See if FileThis could help you reduce the amount of papers that enter your home and helps you keep the documents more organized. (more…)

Tech Tip Tuesday – 10 Useful Google Calendar Settings, Labs & Extensions

August 6th, 2013

settings icon
Settings

  1. Meeting length – Change default length of an event time slot from 60 minutes to your preferred length
  2. Weather – Want to know the daily forecast by glancing at your calendar? Turn on “show weather based on my location”.
  3. Daily Agenda – Receive your daily agenda in a single email for one or all of your calendars.
    Select a calendar from calendar settings -> select “Reminders & notifications” -> select “Daily agenda”.
  4. Event reminders – Turn off or change the default event reminder notification (pop-up or email) and time in advance for one or all of your calendars. You can set multiple reminders for each event.
  5. Embed a calendar in a website – Great for business intranets, clubs, schools, family sites.
    Select the calendar from calendar settings -> select “Calendar details” -> select “Embed This Calendar”
  6. View other’s calendars on via Google Calendar (not in Settings, on main calendar view) –
    Select “Browse Interesting Calendars” -> browse and add calendars from around the world, most professional and college sports teams schedules, lunar phases, sunrise & sunsets and more.
    Select “Add by URL” to add a calendar where you have been provided code or a URL – school systems often use this method.
  7. Copy an event from one calendar to another – Great for sharing specific events from one calendar to another. Need to add the soccer team’s schedule to your own but only for events your family is attending? Share those games with your own calendar rather than retyping the event. Need to add a work event to the family calendar? Share that specific event to the family calendar.


Labs

  1. Event attachments – Attach a shared Google Document, Spreadsheet or Presentation to your event, or upload a file from your computer. Great to avoid searching for a document needed for an event.

Google-Chrome-Google-Chrome (1)
Extensions
– Google Chrome extensions from the Google Chrome Web Store

  1. Boomerang Calendar –– Syncs with your Google Calendar but lives in your Gmail. It automatically highlights dates and times in the Gmail message with information about whether or not you can attend based on your Google Calendar. It allows you to add events directly into your Google Calendar from the email or enables you to open your calendar. Reduces switching from Gmail and Google Calendar to reply to emails.
  2. Google Calendar Toolbar – Adds an icon to your Chrome toolbar. Mouse over the icon to see your next upcoming event. Click the icon to see your upcoming agenda or add events to Google Calendar.

Want to learn how to add these Google Chrome extensions and others?  Check out our video below
Kim signature small

Top 3 Trends in Past 3 Years

September 24th, 2010

Top 3 Trends in Past 3 Years (Part 1 of 3)

I believe there have been three major trends in the past three years that has changed the way we do things.  I will be sharing my insights over the next three weeks.  I’d love to hear your input and experiences.

1.    Reliance on Tech

We now live in a world where we constantly rely on technology to get us through each day.  If you are not a mobile phone user (do they still exist), you still rely on technology when you go to a restaurant, the post office, the bank.

We have all likely been to a restaurant that uses technology – a form of a pager to notify you when your table is ready.  Some restaurants take orders on a handheld device that automatically transmits the order to the bar or kitchen.  You can even place a take-out or delivery order from home without picking up the phone.

You can make calls without picking up the receiver or handset.  You can write checks, pay bills or transfer money via a mobile phone or notebook computer Skype logowithout getting in the car or spending money on a stamp.  While the security of doing any of these still has some vulnerabilities for the most part they are secure.  Some folks still fear banking online, even if you avoid it, the banks stores your information online.  Security online is one part of the equation, backing up the data is the second.

When I work with clients, sometimes they ask to go paperless and store everything on their computer.  I ask about their back-up plan.  Nine times out of 10 they have none or they can’t remember the last time they backed up, if ever.  When I ask why not, they either don’t know how or it’s too difficult or too hard to remember.  There are many options for traditional back-up.  Many folks purchase an external hard drive.  I have one.  While they are a great option, there are some downfalls.

External hard drive 1.    Your computer must be connected to the external hard drive for your back-up to be completed.
2.    You must create a schedule to back-up.
3.    They can get lost or stop working making it difficult or impossible to retrieve the data. (this happened to me, the drive stopped working and I did not know until I went to look for something on the back-up drive).

I still use an external hard drive to back up but I also use one of the the web-based options as well.  The two big ones are Carbonite and Mozy.  Both offer a free month.  Following you free month, their fees vary based on the size of the files being backed-up.  An additional option is Dropbox.  Dropbox is an online back-up and collaboration tool.  DropboxI prefer Dropbox over Carbonite or Mozy.  I like that you can access it from any online device (mobile phone, pda, iPad, iTouch, notebook or desktop computer).  There is an app for the iPhone/iPad/iTouch and Android phones.  From any of the devices you can access anything in your Dropbox as long as you have internet access.  The Dropbox folder does reside on your computer.  As you create or edit documents, spreadsheets, presentations, audio, video or pictures Dropbox saves a copy on to your computer and updates your Dropbox account.  It also allows you to share files and collaborate with other users.  You can configure your computer to save all files to your Dropbox folder.  The free account includes up to 2GB file storage.  You can grow your storage for free by referring friends, family and colleagues to Dropbox.  They reward both the referrer and referee with an additional 250MB of storage.  You can continue to refer until you reach 32 accepted referrals or 8GB of addtional storage space.   You may not think that is very much space but you’d be surprised.  Take a look at the drive where you store your documents.  I am a heavy user.  My Documents folder currently uses 4.38GB of space.  It includes documents, spreadsheets, presentations and pictures.

Why do I love Dropbox?  Because it is mindless.  I don’t have to do anything.  I work on a document or download pics from my camera as long as I am connected to the web … voila after a few seconds, it is saved on my notebook and it is updated on Dropbox.  I don’t have to schedule anything.  If thinks for me.  I love that it is intuitive and costs me nothing (at this time).  If my storage needs grow faster than my free Dropbox grows, the cost of purchasing Dropbox storage space is very reasonable (All three online back-up systems mentioned do offer a discount if you pre-pay for a year vs. month to month fees).  I love that my documents folder looks identical regardless if I am looking at it on my computer, notebook, smart phone or a computer of a friend or at a hotel when I am traveling.  I don’t know how it could get any easier.  I only recommend it because I use it and find it is the best product available that meets my needs.  Feel free to check out Dropbox and get a free 250 KB of storage space.  I’d love to hear your feedback.  How do you protect and back-up your information?

Are you reliant on technology?  Share with us how technology shapes your life and has changed the way you operate on a day to day basis.

Stay tuned for #2 and #3!

Kim Oser

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2010 NAPO Conference Goes Green & High Tech

April 28th, 2010

April 22, 2010

My friend and fellow Certified Professional Organizer®, Deb Lee wrote a great post about how the 2010 National Association of Professional Organizers Conference Goes Green & High Tech.

Can you imagine a conference of all Professional Organizers? You can bet that we are studying each others organizational processes and techniques.  Looking at who brought Sharpies®, highlighters, paper clips and mini-stapler.  Who is taking notes in a binder, on a laptop/netbook, an iPod, and who grabs the hotel notepad laying on the table.  Who is using the conference bag and who brought their specialized/personalized conference tote.

If you enjoy teasing me for my anal retentiveness, you will particularly enjoy Deb’s post.  It’s ok, I enjoy laughing at myself too.

BTW- I even brought a 6 foot extension cord with three 3-prong outlets.  And yes, I have already used it twice & it took up virtually no space in my bag.

Enjoy!  Thanks Deb for including me in your post.

America Recycles Day – November 15

November 13th, 2009

What are you doing to celebrate America Recycles Day? The DC area has embraced the celebration with events throughout the area, throughout the weekend.

from the National Recycling Coalition
America Recycles Day (ARD), November 15, is the only nationally recognized day dedicated to encouraging Americans to recycle and to buy recycled products. Celebrating its 11th year, it has grown to include millions of Americans pledging to increase their recycling habits at home and work and to buy products made with recycled materials. Through America Recycles Day, the National Recycling Coalition supports local communities and raises awareness by educating citizens about the benefits of recycling. Volunteer America Recycles Day coordinators are positioned throughout the country and work to organize recycling awareness events in their schools and communities, and in conjunction with their local municipalities.

On November 15 each year, millions of people become better informed about the importance of daily recycling and buying recycled products. The purpose of America Recycles Day is to continue to promote the social, environmental and economic benefits of recycling and encourage more people to join the movement toward creating a better natural environment.”


Montgomery County, Maryland events

Paper Shredding, Household Goods & Clothing Recycling
Shred and recycle your personal papers and donate usable clothing and household goods at these locations for FREE (Montgomery County residents only). (Rain or shine)

Saturday, November 14, 10 am – 2 pm

Eastern Montgomery Regional Services Center (map)
3300 Briggs Chaney Road
Silver Spring, Maryland 20904

Upcounty Regional Services Center (map)
12900 Middlebrook Road
Germantown, MD  20874

Sunday, November 15, 8 am to 12 pm

John F. Kennedy High School (map)
1901 Randolph Road
Silver Spring, Maryland 20902

Sunday, November 15, 1 pm to 5 pm

Walt Whitman High School (map)
7100 Whittier Boulevard
Bethesda, Maryland 20817

Please review the guidelines and specifics before heading to the events. Montgomery County Maryland America Recycles Day


District of Columbia event

Shoe and Bike Drive
Bring your unwanted shoes & bikes.  Benefiting Soles4Soles and Bikes for the World.  Soles4Souls takes new or used shoes of any style or size.  Bikes for the World suggests a $10 per bike donation to defray the cost of shipping to those in need.  This event is open to anyone. Organized by Junk In The Trunk Removal Services

Saturday, November 14, 9 am to 1 pm

Broad Branch Market(map)
5608 Broad Branch Rd. NW

Washington, DC

Fairfax County, Virginia event

Electronics, television and computer recycling event
Free safe destruction and recycling of peripheral electronic devices, computers and televisions.  (Fairfax County residents only).

Sunday, November 15, 10 am to 3 pm

I-66 Transfer Station (map)
4618 West Ox Road
Fairfax, Virginia

Alexandria, Virginia event

America Recycles Day celebration
Join the City of Alexandria recycling staff, Robbie the Recycling Squirrel and Whole Foods Market to Celebrate America Recycles Day! Bring your plastic bags to be recycled, and receive a free reusable bag.

Sunday, November 15, 11 am to 3 pm

Whole Foods(map)
1700 Duke Street
Alexandria, Virginia

Prince George’s, Maryland event

Free e-cycling and Document Shredding Event
Shred your personal papers and recycle unwanted computer equipment and accessories, printers, copiers, cell phones and televisions for FREE (Prince George’s County residents only)

Saturday, November 14, 8 am to 1 pm

High Point High School (map)
3601 Powder Mill Rd
Beltsville, MD 20705

Please review the guidelines and specifics before heading to the event. Prince George’s County Maryland America Recycles Day

I’d love to hear about any other events happening in the DC area or wherever you live.  Please leave them in the comments below.  Thanks.  I hope you find solace in purging and the recycling process.  Have a great weekend.

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