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Shiny New Toy? 7-Step Checklist for New Gadget Nirvana

Shiny New Toy? 7-Step Checklist for New Gadget Nirvana

New Gadget Nirvana

    Got a new gadget? Maybe it’s a beautiful new iPod, Blackberry, or camera. We’ve seen a lot of debris from these gadgets in our organizing work… empty boxes, drawers and bins full of old cords and cables, and files full of obsolete manuals. Here’s my 7-step checklist for making sure your gadget has the best possible life!

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    1. Look at the return policy. Right when you get home with your new toy, make sure you notice on the receipt what the return policy is for that store. Some stores are only 14 days, and some are 30 or even more.

    2. Write the last date of return on the box. Take a permanent marker and write on the side of the box the last possible return date. Alternatively, you could write the purchase date, but unless you remember the return policy, that date might not be as meaningful. What happens is that later you’ll see this box on a shelf and wonder if it’s okay to throw it away… the answer is YES!  Boxes like this are just boxes full of air.  They are taking up lots of valuable storage space. (The exception is if you are really meticulous about re-selling your gadgets later on eBay. If you really like selling them in the original box later, go ahead, as long as you have space.)

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    3. Label the cords and cables. If you could only see the graveyards of bins, boxes, and drawers we’ve seen, full of old “black box” adapters, USB cables, and other accessories… typically the owner has absolutely no idea from which devices these extras have originated, and that makes it really difficult to discard them. If you grab a label maker and quickly type out a few labels that say, for example, “Olympus FE-280 Camera” and stick them on the power adapter, the PC cable, and the battery charger, you’ll always know. Bonus tip: Sometimes it’s good to use the “FEED” button to feed out an extra length of label tape before cutting, so you’ll have extra tape to wrap around a cord and still be able to read the label clearly.

    4. Take care of rebates immediately. That great deal you got “with rebate” does you no good if you don’t mail in the rebate information. In fact, the manufacturer is counting on that! Make sure you follow their instructions to the letter, in a timely manner, with copies of the UPC code, the receipt, and everything else they ask you to provide.  And don’t forget to spin around three times and say the magic word before mailing.

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    5. Read the Quick Setup Guide. Yes, the good gadgets should be intuitive. You don’t need no stinkin’ instructions. But there are so many times that one important step makes all the difference, such as whether to plug in the USB cable to your device before or after installing the drivers.  Sometimes it’s a very big deal!  Those Quick Setup Guides are designed for people like you who want the bottom line.  Take just 2 minutes and look it over before making a mess of everything.

    6. Protect your device from loss or theft. Take a moment to put your name and contact information in the “Owner Information” section, such as seen in a Blackberry or Palm device. Offering a reward for return is a great strategy. You can also put an address label on the device if it’s large enough, and you can use Stuffbak labels or other asset ID tags for further protection and easy return. If your device has a calendar feature with alarm, you can set a weekly alarm at the same time (I like Monday at 10:00 am when most people are at their desks) to ring and pop up with your owner information. This strategy is great for that honest person who found your device but doesn’t know how to look up the owner information on it. Yes, you’ll hear it once a week, but you can just shut it off and keep going.

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    7. After the return period expires, file the software, receipt, and documentation (if needed). If the device came with a CD with drivers on it, you may want to file that with your other software. I like using CD wallets for this purpose, to store them in the least amount of space. Do consider whether the documentation is really necessary, since most of the time manuals are obsolete from the moment they are printed. Check online to see if the documentation exists in PDF form, and if so, save that to your hard drive and toss the manual. If you want to keep the receipt for warranty purposes, file that in your warranty files or your accounting paperwork.

    Enjoy your new device now that you’ve made sure it’s identified and protected properly!

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    Last Updated on September 16, 2019

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    How to Stop Procrastinating: 11 Practical Ways for Procrastinators

    You have a deadline looming. However, instead of doing your work, you are fiddling with miscellaneous things like checking email, social media, watching videos, surfing blogs and forums. You know you should be working, but you just don’t feel like doing anything.

    We are all familiar with the procrastination phenomenon. When we procrastinate, we squander away our free time and put off important tasks we should be doing them till it’s too late. And when it is indeed too late, we panic and wish we got started earlier.

    The chronic procrastinators I know have spent years of their life looped in this cycle. Delaying, putting off things, slacking, hiding from work, facing work only when it’s unavoidable, then repeating this loop all over again. It’s a bad habit that eats us away and prevents us from achieving greater results in life.

    Don’t let procrastination take over your life. Here, I will share my personal steps on how to stop procrastinating. These 11 steps will definitely apply to you too:

    1. Break Your Work into Little Steps

    Part of the reason why we procrastinate is because subconsciously, we find the work too overwhelming for us. Break it down into little parts, then focus on one part at the time. If you still procrastinate on the task after breaking it down, then break it down even further. Soon, your task will be so simple that you will be thinking “gee, this is so simple that I might as well just do it now!”.

    For example, I’m currently writing a new book (on How to achieve anything in life). Book writing at its full scale is an enormous project and can be overwhelming. However, when I break it down into phases such as –

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    • (1) Research
    • (2) Deciding the topic
    • (3) Creating the outline
    • (4) Drafting the content
    • (5) Writing Chapters #1 to #10,
    • (6) Revision
    • (7) etc.

    Suddenly it seems very manageable. What I do then is to focus on the immediate phase and get it done to my best ability, without thinking about the other phases. When it’s done, I move on to the next.

    2. Change Your Environment

    Different environments have different impact on our productivity. Look at your work desk and your room. Do they make you want to work or do they make you want to snuggle and sleep? If it’s the latter, you should look into changing your workspace.

    One thing to note is that an environment that makes us feel inspired before may lose its effect after a period of time. If that’s the case, then it’s time to change things around. Refer to Steps #2 and #3 of 13 Strategies To Jumpstart Your Productivity, which talks about revamping your environment and workspace.

    3. Create a Detailed Timeline with Specific Deadlines

    Having just 1 deadline for your work is like an invitation to procrastinate. That’s because we get the impression that we have time and keep pushing everything back, until it’s too late.

    Break down your project (see tip #1), then create an overall timeline with specific deadlines for each small task. This way, you know you have to finish each task by a certain date. Your timelines must be robust, too – i.e. if you don’t finish this by today, it’s going to jeopardize everything else you have planned after that. This way it creates the urgency to act.

    My goals are broken down into monthly, weekly, right down to the daily task lists, and the list is a call to action that I must accomplish this by the specified date, else my goals will be put off.

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    Here’re more tips on setting deadlines: 22 Tips for Effective Deadlines

    4. Eliminate Your Procrastination Pit-Stops

    If you are procrastinating a little too much, maybe that’s because you make it easy to procrastinate.

    Identify your browser bookmarks that take up a lot of your time and shift them into a separate folder that is less accessible. Disable the automatic notification option in your email client. Get rid of the distractions around you.

    I know some people will out of the way and delete or deactivate their facebook accounts. I think it’s a little drastic and extreme as addressing procrastination is more about being conscious of our actions than counteracting via self-binding methods, but if you feel that’s what’s needed, go for it.

    5. Hang out with People Who Inspire You to Take Action

    I’m pretty sure if you spend just 10 minutes talking to Steve Jobs or Bill Gates, you’ll be more inspired to act than if you spent the 10 minutes doing nothing. The people we are with influence our behaviors. Of course spending time with Steve Jobs or Bill Gates every day is probably not a feasible method, but the principle applies — The Hidden Power of Every Single Person Around You

    Identify the people, friends or colleagues who trigger you – most likely the go-getters and hard workers – and hang out with them more often. Soon you will inculcate their drive and spirit too.

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    As a personal development blogger, I “hang out” with inspiring personal development experts by reading their blogs and corresponding with them regularly via email and social media. It’s communication via new media and it works all the same.

    6. Get a Buddy

    Having a companion makes the whole process much more fun. Ideally, your buddy should be someone who has his/her own set of goals. Both of you will hold each other accountable to your goals and plans. While it’s not necessary for both of you to have the same goals, it’ll be even better if that’s the case, so you can learn from each other.

    I have a good friend whom I talk to regularly, and we always ask each other about our goals and progress in achieving those goals. Needless to say, it spurs us to keep taking action.

    7. Tell Others About Your Goals

    This serves the same function as #6, on a larger scale. Tell all your friends, colleagues, acquaintances and family about your projects. Now whenever you see them, they are bound to ask you about your status on those projects.

    For example, sometimes I announce my projects on The Personal Excellence Blog, Twitter and Facebook, and my readers will ask me about them on an ongoing basis. It’s a great way to keep myself accountable to my plans.

    8. Seek out Someone Who Has Already Achieved the Outcome

    What is it you want to accomplish here, and who are the people who have accomplished this already? Go seek them out and connect with them. Seeing living proof that your goals are very well achievable if you take action is one of the best triggers for action.

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    9. Re-Clarify Your Goals

    If you have been procrastinating for an extended period of time, it might reflect a misalignment between what you want and what you are currently doing. Often times, we outgrow our goals as we discover more about ourselves, but we don’t change our goals to reflect that.

    Get away from your work (a short vacation will be good, else just a weekend break or staycation will do too) and take some time to regroup yourself. What exactly do you want to achieve? What should you do to get there? What are the steps to take? Does your current work align with that? If not, what can you do about it?

    10. Stop Over-Complicating Things

    Are you waiting for a perfect time to do this? That maybe now is not the best time because of X, Y, Z reasons? Ditch that thought because there’s never a perfect time. If you keep waiting for one, you are never going to accomplish anything.

    Perfectionism is one of the biggest reasons for procrastination. Read more about why perfectionist tendencies can be a bane than a boon: Why Being A Perfectionist May Not Be So Perfect.

    11. Get a Grip and Just Do It

    At the end, it boils down to taking action. You can do all the strategizing, planning and hypothesizing, but if you don’t take action, nothing’s going to happen. Occasionally, I get readers and clients who keep complaining about their situations but they still refuse to take action at the end of the day.

    Reality check:

    I have never heard anyone procrastinate their way to success before and I doubt it’s going to change in the near future.  Whatever it is you are procrastinating on, if you want to get it done, you need to get a grip on yourself and do it.

    More About Procrastination

    Featured photo credit: Malvestida Magazine via unsplash.com

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