Tip of the Week: Keep Your Computer Working Effectively with These 5 Tips
Computers allow businesses to do so much, but eventually a time comes to purchase new hardware. Thankfully, you can stave off this need pretty well by simply taking care of your existing technology. Here are some tips you can implement to make sure that your computer lasts as long as possible before it kicks the bucket.
#1 – Keep Your Hardware and Software Updated (All of It)
Some folks are using the same old tired technology that they were using a decade ago, and the reason they have been able to do so is because they take care of keeping all their hardware and software updated. Some users may have updated their computer from their old hard disk drive to a solid-state drive or added additional RAM, but for the most part, the big reason why their device is operationally sound is because they have kept updating software to keep up with the times. With the software as updated as possible, less strain is placed on the computing resources.
#2 – Keep Your Hardware Clean
It’s easy to think that buying a new computer will solve your problems when you don’t take care of your current technology, but know that you’ll just encounter the same problem when you don’t take care of the new technology, too. Computers are machines, after all, and they have a lot of intricate parts that require a clean environment. Naturally a computer will not work well if crumbs get in the keyboard or dust builds up inside, so make sure you take measures to periodically clean your PC so that it’s not a complete mess.
#3 – Buy Protection
Taking care of your computer’s physical wellbeing is incredibly important, especially for a laptop that is on the move all the time. Consider purchasing a nice padded carrying case that can keep your computer safe while in motion. For a desktop user, a surge protector is also a must, as it protects you from unexpected surges and provides even more utility thanks to the extra plugs. As for mobile devices, you have cases that can keep them dust and water-resistant.
#4 – Keep Your Antivirus Running
You should frequently run a virus scan on your device, even when you are away from it. There are countless issues that could occur with your device, and the best way to identify them is to run an antivirus scan on your device. With a centralized antivirus program on your network, you should be able to identify and remove malware on your endpoints.
#5 – Don’t Treat it Like a Light Switch
If you constantly turn your device on and off, you will run into problems with your components in the long term. While it might seem beneficial to save the electricity and conserve the battery life, ask yourself if it really saves so much that it is worth replacing your entire device in the near future. Naturally, the answer is no, so don’t treat your technology like it’s a light switch.
Hopefully you can put these tips into practice and preserve your technology a little bit longer. Point North Networks can also aid in this effort with our managed IT solutions. To learn more, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.
How to Get Get More Done and Feel Better About It
Maintaining a standard of consistent productivity can be difficult. This is doubly true if there is constant distraction. For many workers, handling these distractions is work in itself. When trying to maximize productivity it is important to undertake actions that support that goal, and when there are a lot of consistent distractions, it is useful to have a baseline of knowledge on how to do just that. Let’s take a look at five solid tips to help you maintain productivity.
Plan Your Route
The first tip is one that many people don’t do because they would rather leave work at work. The truth is that you can still do that and be ready for what’s coming the next day. You can take some time at the end of your workday—or, if you don’t mind spending a little mental real estate when you get home—to plan out how you’d like the next day to go. Of course, in business it is often difficult to know exactly what you are going to have to deal with on any given day, but by preparing yourself for what you have to get done the day before, you can be ready to tackle any task before distractions can even become an issue.
Put Your Phone Away
The truth is that notifications are some of the most distracting things; and, they seemingly never stop, unless you stop them. If you want to maximize your productivity, one of the best actions you can take is to turn off or silence notifications if you are able. In scheduling certain times to catch up on your correspondence, you don’t immediately react to every notification, most of which have nothing to do with your job anyhow. That push notification alerting you to what Aaron Judge said after the Yankees beat the Orioles the night before can certainly wait until after you have dug your teeth into work for a while. You’ll feel better getting things done and spend less time being sidetracked by things that aren’t going to help you to.
Many people work better on tighter deadlines, that is a proven fact, but what doesn’t help people is when they have too much to do that they can’t possibly get it done. Not only does the work that does get accomplished suffer, you may run into a situation where nothing gets done at all. People have a tendency to panic when there is simply too much to do, so if you can help it, don’t promise finished tasks that you know will be a stretch to get done that day.
Set Smaller Goals
To the same end, nothing is quite as satisfying for a worker than when something is produced that they can be proud of. In fact, it is roundly considered one of the main variables for a happy workplace culture. By setting smaller goals, with the larger tasks scheduled for peak productivity areas (such as first thing in the morning), workers will enjoy their time at work more and feel more accomplished.
In most modern workplaces, there have been big pushes toward employee satisfaction. This typically means that there are more fringe benefits to working for a company today. Take advantage of them. If you get to work and are productive early, take a break, get something to eat or drink, have a conversation with people that are in the same boat. If you are going to get the gratification of being a productive member of a team, you are going to have to stand back from your work a little bit and realize just how awesome you are doing.
Productivity is the name of the game for every business, and the more you can do to be productive, avoid distractions, and keep a positive mindset at work, the better your professional life will be. What are your thoughts? Are there any other suggestions you can make to help you avoid distractions and get more out of your professional life? Leave them in the comments section below and check back soon for other tips on how to be your most productive.
Tip of the Week: Import Your Bookmarks in Chrome
Bookmarks are an essential part of being productive with your Internet browser, but what happens when you switch to a different one, like Google Chrome? Do you have to manually add all of your bookmarks back to the browser? Nope! Let’s go over how you can import your bookmarks directly to Google Chrome and save some time.
Add Bookmarks from Other Web Browsers
Before proceeding, know that you need to have your previous browser installed on the device if you want to import bookmarks from it.
Chrome gives you the capability to directly import bookmarks from other web browsers. You can do so by clicking on the three-dot icon in the top-right corner of the web browser. From here, select Bookmarks > Import Bookmarks and Settings. From here, click on Import and select the browser you want to import from, as well as the Favorites/Bookmarks option from the checklist. After you see the blue checkmark on the screen, click on Done.
Add Bookmarks from an Exported HTML File
If you have exported your bookmarks as a HTML file, you can import them through the same process as outlined above. Instead of selecting the browser you want to import from, simply select Bookmarks HTML file. From here, just select the file that you want to import and you should be all set.
Sync Bookmarks Across Devices
The previously mentioned methods only work for your desktop version of Google Chrome, so you’ll have to sync your bookmarks if you want them on your mobile device. To do this, make sure you are logged into the same Google account on both devices, then click on the three-dot icon in the top-right corner of Chrome. From here, select Settings. If you want to sync only bookmarks, disable the slider and check the box for Bookmarks.
We hope you found this tip helpful; be sure to subscribe to our blog for even more great tips.
Tip of the Week: Stop Overworking from Home
It’s quite possible for employees to overwork themselves, even in a remote environment. Let’s take a look at some ways that you can minimize remote overwork for your employees, especially as the boundaries typically set in place by the morning commute are eroded and work/life balance blurs.
First Off: Yes, Overwork is an Issue
Countless issues and workplace challenges have bubbled to the surface in recent years, including others that are much more divisive, like wage inequality and racial imbalances. However, these issues are much greater and more difficult to address in this format, and overwork presents a different challenge to overcome.
Overwork is a very real issue that can impact your organization in several different ways. Employees can grow fatigued, anxious, and physically ill with symptoms like headaches, pain, and vision problems. Too much remote work can also impact interpersonal communications. Add in the emotional stress and pressure caused by the pandemic and you have many employees walking around like ticking time bombs. All of this can create the perfect storm for destroying even the best worker’s productivity and performance.
The question must be asked, what can we do to help reduce overwork?
How to Help Diminish Remote Overwork
You might not be able to visit each of your workers individually, but you can implement policies that can keep them from overworking themselves in general, and it all starts by thinking about things not in terms of remote work policies, but in-house and remote policies.
1. Support the Use of a Schedule
We are not talking about just setting up a schedule outlining work hours; we also mean that you should help them to establish a workday routine that is manageable. Be sure to emphasize the importance of starting and ending the workday at consistent and appropriate times, and try to reinforce this consistency whenever you can. This helps to prevent employee burnout and overwork.
2. Use Time Tracking Tools
Time-tracking tools can help your team and keep them from overworking themselves, as you can take a look at where all of their time is being spent at a glance. A visual reminder of where they are in their seemingly-endless pile of tasks can be immensely helpful. COMPANYNAME can help you implement a time-tracking tool that will help your team stay on task and keep them from working themselves into the ground.
3. Encourage Your Team to Speak Up
Finally, you should empower your team to speak up if they feel their work requirements are becoming unreasonable. If they feel like they are overburdened or afraid to say no to more work, you need to know. Make sure they are comfortable coming to you about any concerns they might have so that you can address the issue at its roots without making it worse.
Point North networks, Inc., can help your team implement the tools it needs to succeed. To learn more, reach out to us at 651-234-0895.
3 Easy Actions Every Employee Can Do to Keep Their Computer Clean
Regular computer maintenance is part of maintaining healthy IT infrastructure, but one aspect that can often go by the wayside is keeping your computer physically clean. By this, we mean keeping it dust-free, clean and tidy. We’ve put together a shortlist of everyday actions that employees of any caliber can use to keep their workstations clean. This will help your organization take preventative measures over time and (hopefully) prolong the lifespan of your business’ technology.
Before you begin cleaning up your device, we recommend that you power it down and unplug it from its power source. The last thing you want to do is give yourself a jolt on accident!
Keep the Fans Free of Dust
You may have noticed that dust tends to gather around vents and fans on your computer’s casing. If left unchecked, this dust could affect airflow and become a major problem in the long term. This is why it’s so beneficial to keep things clear; the last thing you want is your computer to overheat due to an easily preventable thing like the accumulation of dust. Use a can of compressed air to blow the dust away from the vent (Note: NOT into the computer–this does the exact opposite of what you want).
Wipe Down Screens and Surfaces
No matter how frequently a device is used, chances are it will accumulate some sort of dust on its surface. This is especially the case with your monitors. If you plan to wipe the dust off of them, we recommend that you use a microfiber cloth specifically for this purpose, and whatever you do, don’t spray anything directly onto your monitor’s screen. The same can be said for your keyboard. If you use a can of compressed air to blow away dust, combined with a microfiber cloth, you should be able to get your device reasonably clean.
That doesn’t mean you can’t use a cleaning agent to clean your screens, we find that good eyeglass cleaner works great, but harsh chemicals could cause damage. This works great for smartphones and tablets as well, but spray a clean microfiber cloth, don’t spray the device.
Keep Food and Drink Away
This is more of a preventative measure rather than an actual cleaning tip, but if you can keep your workstation tidy in the first place, the less cleaning you will have to do in the long run. Crumbs and other gunk can easily find their way into your keyboard, especially if you are the type of employee who often finds themselves working through their lunch break. The same can be said for liquids; even water can create problems if it gets under your keys or into your computer’s components, and you better hope that you never spill something sugary on your keyboard. While it isn’t necessarily a death sentence for your keyboard, the effort it takes to clean up after such a spill will make you want to just buy a new one instead. Better to just eliminate the possibility and keep your workplace clear of anything of the sort.
Perform More Thorough Cleaning
Every so often it helps to perform a cleaning that is more than just at the surface level. By this, we mean going into your case and making sure that there is minimal dust clogging up your PC’s components. Obviously this is something that you should only attempt if you are familiar with the innards of a computer, so if you are not adequately trained or experienced in this prospect, we recommend working with Point North Networks, Inc., to make sure your workstation gets the deep cleaning it needs to promote longevity. To learn more, reach out to us at 651-234-0894.