I don’t know about you, but when a new year begins, I raise my head up, look around, and shake off the old sludge.
And suddenly I realize my office is full of dog hair, the storage on my phone and my computer are gone, and my passwords are a disorganized mess. Furthermore, my to-do’s are completely out of control.
So I get busy.
I vacuum my office and clean out my inbox. I get dictation software, a better calendar system, and some new electronics. I might even hire a virtual assistant.
And then … just like that … I feel renewed and awake again. I have energy to do things I’d previously avoided like the plague. Which, if you have goals of any kind, is pretty damn critical.
Here are some of the sites and tools that have made my ‘New Year’s Wake Up’ possible.
- Gazelle. Trade in your old electronics for slightly used ones at this handy site and save 50%. If you can upgrade your phone, this is the truly affordable – and green – way to do that. Recently I bought a used iPhone 6 Plus for half the retail cost. Aside the fact that it arrived by mail in a brown cardboard box, you’d never know it wasn’t brand new. There’s not a scratch on it.Then I just dropped by my phone service carrier, they switched out the SIM card, and I was good to go. Oh yeah … I also had them wipe my old phone clean, which I then sold to Gazelle for a cool $95 payout.If you’ve been avoiding a phone upgrade because of the expense, here’s your ticket. It also took $22 off my monthly service bill since I no longer am paying off a phone I now own.
- 1Password. If you have a document listing your passwords anywhere in your computer, take them out now. Aside from the obvious hacking threat, there is a better, synched solution that works with your smart phone as well. 1Password has been highly reviewed by legions of tech reviewers for years, and rightly so.It’s a simple, elegant solution in which to not only store log ins, but stores critical info like your credit card, passport and so much more it boggles the mind. You can even create safe ‘vaults’ for your staff to access or store important logins they are working with.Furthermore, it works across all your devices so you’ll never fumble for a password again. (P.S. I avoided this task for months because I thought it would take too long to set up. But it took less than an hour and was fun to boot!)
- Upwork. There are people out there, around the globe, who want to help you in any number of capacities from personal assistant to marketing to editing and more. Many of them can be found for remarkably reasonable prices on Upwork, formerly known as O Desk.Note: As ever, you will need to carefully vet the folks you hire. I’ve found some of the best team members I’ve ever had thru Upwork. Yet, I’ve also hired a few who didn’t work out so well. Do your due diligence here. Check references, look at portfolios and trust the Upwork rating system. Then give a new VA time to get to know how you like to work. (See Quip, below.)This really is what it takes to get ahead of the massive, ever-expanding to do list in your head.
- Asana. I used to organize all my to-do’s on a digital post it that sat in my computer. I’d type up my daily list, email it to my ‘Action Buddy’, then paste the list into my Stickie. Turned out there’s a better way to do this.Asana is free task organizing website that helps you set up tasks lists, calendars and more to share with others … or just track, yourself. The paid version has some nice features including graphics that show how much of various projects you’ve completed each time you log in, which can be remarkably motivating.I especially love going into the calendar and constantly moving tasks from day to day, based on how the day is going and how much I can reasonably get done. To-do guilt be gone!
- Quip. This is a really helpful site that helps you track online conversations with assistants. When you email a document with instructions, they get posted in Quip. Then you check an easy little box to indicate you read their response to your notes. And you leave a few remarks of your own.If you have multiple projects you’re getting help on, this is a really clean, efficient way to keep track of who said what and who’s up to date.
- TaskRabbit. Perhaps the help you need is more of the ‘go stand in line at the DMV’ variety? No worries, because TaskRabbit’s got your back. This wonderful site provides live, real people to come to your home and do everything from wash up after your dinner party to organize your closets and teach you salsa dancing.I’ve used TaskRabbit a number of times with good results. Workers tend to be resourceful people with all kinds of experience who like working in this ad hoc manner. And really, some of them have been excellent!Here’s how you get those gnarly tasks done, like putting the IKEA table together that’s totally confounded you, or throwing out the old junk you can’t bear to part with. (Do note, TaskRabbit is currently in many but not all major cities.)
There! That should help you get going with a new sense of support and purpose for a fresh, thriving new year.
Don’t forget the biggest truth of all when it comes to self care: You don’t have to do it alone. Ever.