Tempting Technology

Last week, news outlets and the online world were gawking at the latest Apple products. Apple does a nice job of hyping things like this, with the white box building and vague invitations sent out, curiosity was high. The new phone does look great and promises to resolve many issues users find with the current and older versions. There is even now a choice in the size of the phone you want. But none of that held a candle to the other product revealed. The Apple Watch.

It looks like something from Back to the Future, and even Doc Brown would be impressed. The lure is at fever pitch. I didn’t know I needed a watch to handle the things I handle now with my phone. I don’t even know what all it does. But one thing is certain, I need one, right?!

That is the problem with technology. Each software, app, product and gadget use the same exact marketing approach, and it works every time: This will improve your life! And it likely does make it easier; that is until the next generation is available and your life-saver quickly becomes cumbersome and antiquated. 

Be it your personal life or business life, each company makes you want what they offer by promising to deliver the solution to your problems. They tantalize you with what could be, if only…. And it is so easy to be snared with that hook. But bear in mind that right behind that hook is the next.

It is understandable to be enticed by the latest devices, apps and software. We all long for control but need a streamlined, easy-to-use tool. The key is to assess which things meet our actual needs and which ones meet the needs someone declared for us.

I don’t actually worry about how to pay for coffee while on a run and without my wallet. So, the ability to swipe the Apple watch does solve a problem, it’s just not one of mine. I do however spend hours each week working in odd places, away from my desk, trying to read emails and reports on my tiny phone screen. So, the larger display of the iPhone 6 Plus may really improve my productivity on the go.

Is technology good? Yes, it is downright amazing! I cannot imagine life without it. Is every piece of technology going to make you a better you? No, save your money, time and energy, and only seek out the tools that assist you in what you do.

 

Erin

Make Time by Empowering Your Team

About two months ago in the article, Easing the Inbox, I included a very powerful word. Delegation. In strategizing on how to gain control of your email, Michael Hyatt’s process of ‘do, delegate or defer’ was mentioned as one way to keep items moving on through your inbox. While I hope you have gained some traction in the past few months, I would bet you still are unsure of the delegation piece of that formula.

Do you know how to delegate?

Delegation is a powerful tool when done correctly

Delegating is hard. It takes upfront investment of time and resources, trust in someone else and, what often proves to be the most difficult part, it takes the willingness to give up some control. That is extremely tough for us perfectionists (others call us control freaks).

Many people try to delegate but they don’t do it well. Forbes says: only about one manager in ten really knows how to empower others.

 

It can be hard to know how to empower others when we fear we are giving away our control and power in doing so. But really strengthening those around us makes a strong team and allows better performance from everyone.

Knowing what you are best at is a great place to start, or rather, not start. Don’t doom your delegation and empowerment of others to fail but handing off the key components of your business that require your insight, expertise and finesse. Instead, look for the items that are routine and teachable. Those items only require your insight the first few times. After that the predictability allows someone else to apply what you have taught them to complete the task. They have expanded their skillset and you have eliminated something from your task list.

Don’t give away the parts of your task list that you genuinely enjoy. That is part of what keeps you passionate about your business. If you love greeting the customer who enters your shop, don’t assign this to someone else while you are stuck in the back office entering inventory. This doesn’t, however, open the door to automatically shrug off everything you dislike. Whenever possible identify what causes your aversion to a particular task and see if it could be that there is someone else better suited for it. Perhaps the task creates stress for you because you are not naturally inclined to that role or you lack the skills or tools to do it well. Then find the skilled person who is well equipped to take it on.

Just using those first two options, 1. Finding what is routine and teachable and 2. Identifying what you are not naturally inclined to or particularly skilled at, will make delegating much easier and more rewarding.

 

Erin

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Dare You to Look at Me Naked!

This past Labor Day weekend, news headlines announced certain female celebrities’ Apple iCloud accounts were hacked and personal pictures of these celebrities, more specifically very personal pictures of these celebrities in the nude, were obtained and posted to a public forum named 4Chan.

This breach of privacy incited news pundits to discuss cyber security risks and strategies to prevent hackers from accessing your personal information and finding your nude photos and making them public. I only heard one news anchor, Becky Quick of CNBC’s Squawk Box, suggest the best way to prevent nude pictures of you from being made public is to not take pictures of yourself naked or let others take pictures of you bare. That does seem the safest way to prevent public embarrassment caused by your nude photos being posted for public viewing. I would suggest we all take Becky’s advice. I don’t even look at myself in the mirror when I’m naked. If I do, I stare at my eyes.

Is your password strong enough?

How are you guarding your online privacy?

Some experts suggest the celebrities’ accounts were most likely hacked by malicious individuals concentrating on their specific accounts. The hackers might have found someway to get their email address and then send them an email that allowed a hacker to deceptively acquire the celebrity’s user names and passwords. Others suggests that hackers might have used software designed to use computer power to quickly generate passwords at high speeds over and over again until they break your account password.

These news headlines should cause us all to pause and consider the user names and passwords we use to access our own accounts. David as a user name and Fido123 as a password may be easy to remember but it is also going to be easy for a hacker to hack my account. So what is a better strategy to keep your personal information personal and safe from unauthorized access?

Because of the sheer number of accounts that I have to remember user names and passwords, I personally use a password manager software called RoboForm. With RoboForm I only have to remember one user name and one password and it remembers the rest. RoboForm will generate strong and unique passwords for each of your accounts and work on both Apple and Windows computers.

However, if you are a DIY devotee, below are some links to recommendations on how to keep you digital data safe:

Google: Online-Safety, Secure Your Passwords

Wikihow: How to Choose a Secure Password

Windows: Tips for creating a strong password

Bottom line advice: Keep your clothes on.

 

David