There’s nothing quite like a panicked call from a parent, freaking out because their email isn’t working.
You slog through the traffic after work to go and see what you can tinker with, because these kind of problems are infinitely more frustrating when you try and solve them over the phone, and then reality hits home.
Someone yanked the power cable out of the modem, the Wi-Fi was somehow deactivated on the PC, it’s always something painfully obvious.
Now imagine you field these calls for a living – it’s no wonder the guys at Dial A Nerd have put together a list of 10 basic tech tips that they deal with on the daily.
If you’re writing your own software this list probably won’t come in handy, but here are nine of their pointers to make using tech just that little bit easier, especially if you’re running your own business or handling your finances.
We left out social networking, because if you want to go ahead and tell your parents to stop posting garbage you be my guest.
Share and Export Files
Regardless of what software you are using for your accounts, you need to know how export a spreadsheet to a CSV. This allows anyone to be able to view your financial situation easily, regardless of what software they are using.
It’s also wise to save invoices, proposal or any document as a PDF. This way when the recipient receives the file it will look exactly as you intended it to.
Use Folders and File Names
Whether it is individual document names or whole file systems, create a name- and location- system you can repeat. You will save time and reduce errors. When naming files, use a standard structure so that a) the name tells you what you are looking at and b) your files sort properly when you open the folder.
One tip for this is to name files ‘year-month-date-filename.doc’ for files that you have multiple versions of (e.g. 2009-07-23-newsletter.doc), and set the sort criteria for that folder to be ‘date – most recent first’. That way each time you open the folder, the files are sorted so you can see the file you worked on most recently at the top of the list.
We know, we say it all the time, yet we still receive data recovery calls. With all the various backup solutions, out there, there really is no excuse.
Use the auto-save function on your software, and set it up so that it auto-saves every 2 minutes.
We also suggest having 3 different backups: The cloud, an external hard drive on you and an external hard drive else ware. That way if your hard drive gets stolen you actually will still have your backup.
Yes, it sounds daunting, but one phone call and you’re on your way.
Sync your data
Did you know if you have your email set up on your smart phone it will sync your contacts and calendar? Not only will you be updated whilst on the move, but you will have another backup solution.
Explore your current software before purchasing new software
Often people purchase more software to do things that they probably did not know that their current software could do. This leads to a waste of money and affects the bottom line. Watch and read basic tutorials for your current software. You would be amazed at what some programmes can do. If something really is missing, often someone has created a freeware for it.
Do your sums
While your accounts department is probably the ones using Excel, it doesn’t hurt to know some basic functions. Knowing how to create a basic budget, including sums, averages, and ratios, in a spreadsheet can give you greater control over your finances.
Calendars, tasks, and alarms
Why bother yourself the whole day trying to remember to pick up your car from the car wash? There are lots of tools available for your smart phone that can help you remember the nitty-gritty stuff.
Not only is email great for quick communication, but it also can help with storing and organising communication. It is also great to have proof of changes sent through or a disagreement on paper.
Your Smart Phone is a Swiss Army Knife
There are multiple things you can do with a smart phone these days. From taking good-quality pictures, to making small edits on documents, the possibility of running your business in the palm of your hand may soon be a reality. Use these tips and tricks:
- Use unique rings tones to differentiate between clients and family
- Set your phone’s timer for the duration of a meeting when its starts. That way you won’t go over time when it’s up
- Take a picture of where you parked your car to remember where it is
- Record voice notes when you can’t take notes
- Use the calculate to work out how much to tip the waitstaff when out for a meal
- You can even retrace your steps using built in GPS
Relax, no one is saying you’re going to be found wandering down the road without a clue where you are, but it never hurts to have a little help jogging the memory.
Even if you do know your way around a computer you’ll still end up stumped from time to time, so when that happens make sure you ring up your resident Nerd.