software

New Software: Wait Before You Evaluate

Evaluation Scale

Image Credit: billsoPHOTO

Late last week your office upgraded your main software. Now, it’s Monday morning, and you’re pulling your hair out, trying not to shout obscenities as you struggle to accomplish even the simplest of tasks.

But before you go badmouthing your new software, and requesting it be removed from your system (or the office entirely), try to give it at least a few days before you evaluate your software.

The Brain Trick

Our brains, in their infinite wisdom, always want to snap back to what’s familiar, at least initially. So when you first start using that new piece of software, it may send you signals about how difficult it is. It may even give you lots of reasons why you should go back to your old software. Don’t listen.

Instead, try to keep an open mind and remain judgment free, at least for a week or two. You should find that after even a day of using your new software, you’re a lot more comfortable with it, and therefore a lot less resistant.

If your brain is really making things difficult, try to seek comfort in the fact that you are learning something new, which is actually quite good for your brain, and remember that new skills take time to learn.

Keep Calm and Carry On

New software, even newer versions of the same software, often come with new tools and features. One of the easiest ways to reduce frustration when it comes to new software is to give yourself extra time when using it. Sure you could have gotten it done in 10 minutes using the old way, but think about how many hours you put into learning that system. The same holds true with the new software.

Giving yourself adequate time to use and learn your new software, along with reducing your expectations based upon past experiences, should go a long way to helping you enjoy the change.

Anytime new software is involved, there is always a learning curve. The important thing is to expect and understand this will happen, and not get frustrated when you can’t do something initially.

Over time, you’ll probably come to love your new software just as much as the old software it replaced, but you’ll never know how well it can work for you if you make snap decisions to remove it before you’ve even gotten a chance to use the software. When it comes to new software, do yourself a favor – wait before you evaluate – and you’ll be a lot happier with your experience in the long run.

Why You Shouldn’t Upgrade Your Software Too Soon

Software Update

Image Credit: dullhunk

While we are all about being early adopters of technology, you may not want to get to the party too early, particularly when it comes to your software.

Now, don’t get us wrong, you definitely want to upgrade your software, you just don’t want to do it too soon after it’s released. Here’s why.

Cost

Unless there’s a huge introductory sale, changes are new software is going to be more expensive when it first comes out. Try to wait if at all possible, and soon enough you’ll see the price begin to drop. Even waiting as little as six months can sometimes save you on the cost of your new software. Of course, the longer you wait, the more the price will drop. Just don’t wait too long or the software could be obsolete before you make your purchase.

It’s Buggy

With new software, or even new versions of existing software, there’s bound to be bugs. While software companies attempt to address known bugs prior to product launch, the reality is they just can’t catch them all. That’s why they are always releasing patches and service packs to update and fix found bugs. The longer you wait to purchase your software, the better your chances will be that they have addressed and secured any major bugs or security flaws.

Stuck In Between

Sometimes new software releases are complete duds. When this happens, particularly if the software was expensive enough, you may find yourself stuck with a piece of software that just doesn’t work. Or, you may find yourself seriously contemplating going back to the software you were using before, and just suffering with the known problems. To avoid the possibility of this happening, wait a little bit until super-users have had a chance to test and review the software. Then, read any reviews you can find, to have a better understanding of what you’re getting into before you make your purchase.

Compatibility Issues

New software can cause compatibility issues, particularly when your other software, or the devices you use, are older. While new software is often reverse-compatible, meaning it can read files from earlier versions, old software often has a hard time reading newer files, and some old software might not be able to read the files at all. When considering purchasing new software, take into consideration how you share files and with whom, and attempt to determine if these new files will cause any compatibility issues with other people or any older devices that may be used.

These are just a few reasons why you may not want to run right out and purchase the newest software the moment it’s available. But, this also doesn’t mean you should stay with your old software forever. Instead, strive to strike a balance to ensure that your tools are always up to date and that you and your staff always have what they need to maintain and increase efficiency and productivity.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who likes to help you help your business. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website:www.mybusinesswriter.com.

De-clutter your Desktop

Cluttered Desktop

Image Credit: Flickr/Jim Gardener

Happy New Year! It’s the first Monday of 2012, so take a few minutes today and set the tone for the rest of the year.

When you are in a hurry and need to save something to your computer, the temptation is to save it to the desktop for easy access later. But overtime, these quick saves result in a messy and cluttered desktop, causing you to spend more time searching for what you need.

There are two solutions for fixing this common problem. The first solution is long term, but it requires changing your habits. Instead of being in a hurry all the time, slow down and take a few minutes to save your items properly (according to your system). Taking a few extra minutes now can save you hours later.

The second solution involves regular and periodic cleaning and organization of your computer desktop. When you initially begin this process, allot enough time to organize your entire desktop. Stopping half way through may mean the project remains incomplete indefinitely, and then it will be more difficult to locate items later.

Assess the Situation

Take a few minutes to sit back and look at your computer desktop. What do you notice initially? Are there items that you know where to put immediately? Are there things you know you can delete?

Handle these items first. When you know where things go, whether it’s in the recycle bin or a file folder, the process will be faster because you don’t have to think about it, so clean up these items first.

Then assess what’s left.

Unused Icons / Programs

Are there icons on your desktop for programs that you rarely use? If so, delete those icons. Often, when a program installs, it creates a shortcut on the desktop so that it’s easier for you to access. But, if you don’t access it often enough (like daily), then it’s just taking up valuable real estate.

Instead, delete the shortcut and free up some space. Access the program as needed, by going to Start > Programs. *Program shortcut icons will have a white square with a black arrow in the bottom left corner. Removing shortcuts will not uninstall the program.*

Organize

By now you have tucked away anything that had a place, deleted any unused items, and deleted any unused program shortcuts from your desktop. Look at what is left. These should be the items that don’t have a home, which means it’s time to create one.

Assess what’s left. Is there anything you can group by client, subject, or type? If so, create a folder and place these items in the folder. Determine where to save the folder (the desktop, my documents, a network drive) depending on your company’s filing convention. Continue until the remaining items have been organized and put away.

If you followed these steps, your desktop should be clutter-free, and only have the important folders and items on it, with everything else tucked away to its appropriate location. Now that it’s clean, remember to keep it that way by scheduling reminders to revisit this task quarterly so that your computer desktop is always clean and clutter-free.


Julie Strier is a freelance writer who is interested in technology and finding

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ways to help people work smarter, not harder, with their software. Email: julie@mybusinesswriter.com. Website: www.mybusinesswriter.com.