How to perk up your PC: solutions for non-geeks.
Nothing slows down your computer more than a jam-packed hard drive or a desktop of shortcuts. Here’s how to make a clean sweep of your hard drive — before it hits overload:
Buy software. Invest in a software program like Enfish that assesses your directories and creates an index file. Then it continuously updates a master index of your documents, e-mail, Web bookmarks and contacts for faster retrieval.
Nix shortcuts. Shortcuts or aliases on your desktop look messy and slow operations. Sort through all the icons that link to applications stored elsewhere and keep only those you use regularly.
Delete already. Installing more RAM to deal with shortages will only lead to chaos down the road. Hit the “delete” key instead.
Master the Blackberry: your thumbs will thank you.
Fill in all contact information. Fill a contact’s full information into the address book, not just their name and e-mail, suggests Chris Ellsay, president of Workshift.com, an Ottawa-based technology consulting company. That way, you won’t have to call the office when you’re on the road because you don’t have the contact’s phone number or address.
Add words to the “autotext” function. Your BlackBerry uses a list of shortcut words, whereby the full word appears onscreen after you’ve typed just the first few letters. Save typing time by adding frequently used jargon and proper names to this list, including company and product monikers.
Stay briefed. Copy meeting or event details from your e-mail directly into your BlackBerry’s calendar without retyping.
Consider add-ons. Many third-party manufacturers make inexpensive add-ons that can increase your BlackBerry’s functionality. Consider, for example, Google Maps and BlackBerry 411, which allow you to quickly search the Yellow Pages and the White Pages for phone numbers.
The perfect voice mail: how to get a callback every time.
Know what you want. Figure out the purpose of your call before you dial, so you can leave a brief, focused message. This makes it easier for the receiver to understand what you need, explains Shelle Rose Charvet, agent provocateur of Success Strategies in Burlington, Ont.
Be brief. Make no more than three points in a voice mail message, warns Rose Charvet. More than that and people won’t take in all the information.
Make connections. Leave your full name and a reminder about why you’re calling. For example, “Hi Bob, it’s Sue. Last week we spoke at the conference in Florida about new printing technologies.” Or drop the name of a mutual acquaintance. The receiver can place you quickly and will be more likely to return the call.
Speak slowly. The number of people who leave rushed messages containing indecipherable names and numbers is shocking. “When saying your phone number, imagine you’re speaking to your 95-year-old grandmother,” advises Rose Charvet. If the receiver can’t make out your phone number, you won’t get a callback.
Leave callback times. To avoid voice-mail tag, let the person you’re calling know when you’ll be available to take a return call.