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Technology: How Well Do You Manage It?

Take this short quiz to see if you are taking full advantage of your office technology.

By Richard Ensman

You’ve probably read a few books and attended a seminar or two on the subject of time management, and so you most likely understand the key principles of managing that precious resource called time. But in the last decade, something new has entered the world of time management—computer technology. Used wisely, it can help you save time; used poorly, it can cause you to squander that precious resource.

How well do you manage your “technology time?” Complete this simple quiz to find out. Rate your answers to each of the following questions on a four-point scale: If your answer to a statement is “always,” you rate a 3. If your answer is “usually,” your rating is 2. Answer “occasionally,” and you get a 1. Answer “never” or “rarely,” and you get 0.

This quiz should also provide you with some ideas to improve the technology in your office and brainstorm ideas on how to be more organized.

Is your technology knowledge up to date?

1. Do you periodically review new technology developments that can help you save time or become more efficient?

3
2
1
0

2. Do you use portable computer technology like laptops, transfer disks or personal digital assistants?

3
2
1
0

3. Do you use timesaving input devices, such as voice capture or scanning, as appropriate?

3
2
1
0

4. Do you have and use a readily available source of help when you run into technical problems?

3
2
1
0

5. Do you have regular procedures, data conventions and security precautions for the entry and maintenance of sensitive business data?

3
2
1
0

6. Are you familiar with the software applications commonly used in your industry?

3
2
1
0

7. Does your computer equipment provide you with sufficient capacity, memory and speed for the tasks you’re performing?

3
2
1
0

8. Do you use computer technology to expedite communication through the use of telephony, internet meetings or discussion groups?

3
2
1
0

9. Do you import and export data among various software applications to enhance workflow and data analysis?

3
2
1
0

10. Do you periodically assess your timesaving procedures against industry practices and standards?

3
2
1
0

Is your technology organized?

11. Do you sequence your computer tasks in a logical order, and group similar tasks together?

3
2
1
0

12. Do you organize your directories, subdirectories and files according to your primary responsibilities or some other logical pattern?

3
2
1
0

13. Do you use technological shortcuts, such as templates, fill-ins, macros and defaults to expedite computer tasks?

3
2
1
0

14. Do you organize your computer directories and files along the same topical lines as your paper files?

3
2
1
0

15. Do you maintain the equivalent of a “desk drawer” on your computer, with easy access to commonly used toolbars, utilities, macros and queries?

3
2
1
0

16. Do you prevent data loss by regularly backing your files up to a reliable medium?

3
2
1
0

17. Do you work on each document only once, completing all tasks in a single time period?

3
2
1
0

18. Do you schedule fixed blocks of time for completing miscellaneous computer tasks?

3
2
1
0

Do you use technology to manage employees and clients?

19. Do you maintain a calendar of upcoming appointments, events and activities on your computer?

3
2
1
0

20. Do you share important documents and files with key coworkers through a network or common drive?

3
2
1
0

21. Do you maintain project and tasks lists on your computer by priority, and use technology to link tasks with related documents?

3
2
1
0

22. Do you maintain integrated databases, providing you with one-step editing capability and easy access to all customer, vendor and employee information?

3
2
1
0

23. Do you use an audit or proofing system to insure that customer, vendor and financial data is properly entered and reconciled?

3
2
1
0

24. Do you maintain a list of contacts on your computer, with telephone numbers, email addresses, and other related information?

3
2
1
0

How do you use the web and email?

25. Do you follow a standard search strategy whenever you conduct research on the Web?

3
2
1
0

26. Do you minimize unwanted email through filters or quick-delete procedures?

3
2
1
0

27. Do you use distribution lists or bulk email to send memoranda or promotional offers to various groups?

3
2
1
0

28. Do you bookmark important reference material on the web, or place reference resources on your primary drive?

3
2
1
0

29. Do you skim or download important journals or reading materials from the web according to a fixed schedule?

3
2
1
0

30. Do you handle each piece of email only once?

3
2
1
0

Now let’s see you how did. Total your scores for the 30 questions. If you scored 75 or better, congratulations! You’re doing a superb job managing your technology time. A score of 55 to 74 means that you’re doing pretty well, but you can probably stand to improve in a few areas. Scored 35 to 54? You probably understand “technology time” principles, but you need to put more of them into full practice. A score of less than 35 means you need to work on the basics.

Unless you scored a perfect 90 (which is unlikely), you can use the principles outlined in this handy quiz as educational aids for yourself. Pick one timesaving principle each month, for example, and resolve to learn the technology behind it and put it into practice. The result: greater skill and confidence in using these increasingly commonplace technology tools, and far greater efficiency and productivity in your work life.

Richard Ensman is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to AdvisorToday.com. You can reach him through publisher@compuserve.com.

 


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