Use Google to Get Organized

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Confession time: I am not the most organized person when it comes to my life. I use sticky-notes on the fridge to track appointments, as I’ve yet to upgrade to the latest Smartphone (shocking, I know, since I am technically-savvy by nature). I’ve had to shame-facedly apologize to my chiropractor for missed appointments on more than one occasion. Add to that mix two kids under two (can you say “mommy brain”?), and it’s a recipe for disaster. That’s why this year, rather than resolving to lose those pesky “last 5 pounds” (which frankly I am never going to lose), I am resolving to get myself more organized. But I obviously need big-time help! It turns out there are a bevy of awesome tools for getting your life running more smoothly, starting with something called “cloud computing.”

You may have heard the popular tag line, “Get in the Cloud!” It seems cloud computing is all the rage for the New Year. But what exactly is it? In short, it means storing your data and programs somewhere other than your computer, and then accessing everything you need via the internet. This creates many advantages. First, you can get to your data anywhere you have a Wi-Fi connection. This means access to your documents or files at work, when you’re out of town, or on your Smartphone (darn it, maybe I do need one of those things!) Second, you don’t have to worry about losing that 50 page thesis, all the photos from Sally’s 5th birthday, or your contact list if your hard drive fails, because it’s not saved on your computer.

Since I am already familiar with Google, I decided to start there, and I discovered some great tools are available to help in my quest to get organized. First, I checked out Google Calendar and discovered that I might just be able to throw away my sticky-notes for good. Like almost everything from Google, it’s FREE (http://calendar.google.com), and now I’ll be able to easily set up appointments & events, create task lists and even get reminders via email or text messages sent right to my mobile phone. Google Calendar syncs with Smartphones, too. The best thing about it? I can share my calendar with my family and friends, even send them reminders to appointments that affect them! Now my husband will always know when our upcoming appointments are, and so will Grandma, (who watches the kids!).

Knowing I am going to have to upgrade my phone soon, and dreading moving all my contacts to a new phone, I was pleased to discover that Google Contacts will save me the hassle of ever doing that again. Not to worry if you have three phone numbers for one contact on your list, either. Google Contacts allows you to access your bevy of names, addresses, etc. anywhere you can access your email. Since it syncs with your Smartphone or Outlook, you never have to worry about Outlook crashing and losing all your client or friends contacts because it is stored “in the cloud” with Google. For more information go to: http://contacts.google.com.

Lastly, I always seem to be working on something on my computer at home, only to run in to the office and realize I forgot to bring it with me. Argh! I discovered that I can eliminate this problem with Google Docs, since I can access my document anywhere I can get online. Also, have you ever tried to have several people work on one document at a time? You pass it around from person to person and TRY to track changes, but it

can be such a nightmare! With Google Docs, you can avoid this problem too because you can share, store, and work all in the cloud! For more information go to: http:// docs.google.com.

About The Author: Andrea Andrea Eldridge is CEO and co-founder of Nerds On Call, a computer repair company that specializes in on-site and online service for homes and businesses. Andrea is the writer of a weekly column, Nerd Chick Adventures in The Record Searchlight. She prepares TV segments for and appears regularly on CBS, CW and FOX on shows such as Good Day Sacramento, More Good Day Portland, and CBS 13 News, offering viewers technology and lifestyle tips. See Andrea in action at callnerds.com/andrea/.