Organize Your Life (and Your Digital Files)

In the past few years there’s been a flurry of new electronic devices such as laptops, cell phones, ipads, iphones, etc.  All these devices are suppose to make our lives more efficient; we can now look up a phone number or email address in seconds, we can keep our grocery lists on our phone, and we can carry our documents with us on our phones or laptops.  Although, as our technology helps us get the information we need faster, our jobs and businesses demand more of us. With all these tools we are suppose to be more efficient and do 5 times the work 10 times as fast right? Well sorta.

A few months ago, I found myself in organizational chaos. I’m still working at a full time engineering job as well as running a real estate sales and property management business with my wife. I found myself with with information scattered amongst my laptop, my wife’s laptop, my phone, my work computer, sticky notes, and good old fashion manila folders. I about went crazy one day looking for a real estate contract one day. It was then I realized something needed to change when I found it –  on the 4th device I looked on!

After a little asking around, my cousin turned me on to Evernote (thanks Erin). Evernote is a simple note sharing tool that can be downloaded on a computer and phone. It will sync notes between your phone, multiple computers, and website. My wife and I started using Evernote for simple stuff like grocery lists, business to do lists, our wedding guest list, et cetera. It works great. Too great as now I have no excuse anymore when Kinsey tells me I forgot something at the grocery store. We tried Evernote with some of our real estate documents and it was a little cumbersome having to delete and replace a document if there was an update. I love the note keeping features of Evernote and still use it for that, but I started looking for a more functional file sharing tool.

After a little more asking around, I found Dropbox (thanks Dad).  Dropbox is a true file syncing system. You download a program/app onto your phone and computer like you do with Evernote. However, Dropbox appears basically like a Windows Explorer folder. Anything I place in that folder (or it’s subfolders) will sync to my other devices that have Dropbox. For example, I now keep my property management accounting file on Dropbox. I normally do all my property management accounting at home on my laptop. However, I had a tenant call me while I was at work one day asking how much he owed and what his late fee would be. I could easily access my accounting file from my work computer to check. What a time saver!

Even if you don’t have as many devices or documents to keep track of as us, these tools are great for file sharing or keeping track of some of your personal files that you may want to be accessible from anywhere. Did I mention, both of these tools are completely free (up to a certain storage capacity). Try them out, hopefully these things will make your life a little more organized and efficient.

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