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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 November 11, 2019

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

    How to Improve Memory and Boost Your Brainpower

    Have you ever noticed that some people are able to effortlessly remember even the most mundane details and quickly comprehend new things? Well, you can too!

    To unlock the full potential of your brain, you need to keep it active and acute. Wasting time on your couch watching mindless television shows or scrolling through facebook is not going to help.

    Besides getting out flashcards, what can you do to help remember things better and learn new things more quickly? Check out these 10 effective ways on how to improve memory:

    1. Exercise and Get Your Body Moving

    Exercising doesn’t just exercise the body, it also helps to exercise your brain. Obesity and the myriad of diseases that eventually set in as a result of being overweight can cause serious harm to the brain.

    Furthermore, without regular exercise, plaque starts to build up in your arteries, and your blood vessels begin to lose the ability to effectively pump blood. Plaque buildup leads to heart attacks and it also reduces the amount of oxygen and nutrients that your blood carries to your brain. When the nutrients don’t make it there, the brain’s ability to function is compromised.

    To prevent this from happening, make sure you get moving every day. Even if it’s just a brisk walk, it’ll help you maintain and increase your mental acuity. Brisk walking, swimming and dancing are all excellent activities. Take a look at these 5 Ways to Find Time for Exercise.

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    2. Eliminate Stressors and Seek Help If You’re Depressed

    Anything that causes you major stress, like anger or anxiety, will in time begin to eat away the parts of your brain that are responsible for memory. Amongst the most brain-damaging stressors is depression, which is actually often misdiagnosed a a memory problem since one of its primary symptoms is the inability to concentrate.

    If you can’t concentrate, then you might feel like you are constantly forgetting things. Depression increases the levels of cortisol in your bloodstream which elevates the cortisol levels in the brain. Doctors have found that increased cortisol diminishes certain areas of the brain, especially the hippocampus which is where short-term memories are stored.

    Prolonged depression can thus destroy your brain’s ability to remember anything new. Seek professional help to combat your depression – your brain will thank you.

    3. Get a Good Night’s Sleep and Take Naps

    Getting a consistent 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night will increase your memory. During sleep, the brain firms up memories of recently acquired information.

    Getting enough sleep will help you get through the full spectrum of nocturnal cycles that are essential to optimal brain and body functioning during the waking hours. Taking a nap throughout the day, especially after learning something new, can also help you to retain those memories as well as recharge your brain and keep it sharper longer.

    4. Feed Your Brain

    Fifty to sixty percent of the brain’s overall weight is pure fat, which is used to insulate its billions of nerve cells. The better insulated a cell is, the faster it can send messages and the quicker you will be thinking.

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    This is precisely why parents are advised to feed their young children whole milk and to restrict dieting – their brains’ need fat to grow and work properly. Skimping on fats can be devastating even to the adult brain.

    Thus, eating foods that contain a healthy mix of fats is vital for long-term memory. Some excellent food choices include fish (especially anchovies, mackerel and wild salmon) and dark leafy green vegetables. Here’re more brain food choices: 12 Foods that Can Improve Your Brain Power

    Deep-fried foods obviously contain fat but their lack of nutritional value is not going to help your brain or your body, so think healthy foods and fats.

    5. Eat Breakfast and Make Sure It Includes an Egg

    According to Larry McCleary, M.D., author of  The Brain Trust Program, an egg is the ideal breakfast. Eggs contain B vitamins which help nerve cells to burn glucose, antioxidants that protect neurons against damage; and omega-3 fatty acids that keep nerve cells firing at optimal speed.

    Other foods to add to your breakfast include fruits, veggies and lean proteins. Avoid trans fats and high fructose corn syrup. Trans fats diminish the brain cells’ ability to communicate with each other and HFCS can actually shrink the brain by damaging cells.

    Having a healthy breakfast in the morning has been shown to improve performance throughout the day. If you’re too busy to have a healthy breakfast, this maybe just right for you: 33 Quick And Healthy Breakfasts For Busy Mornings

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    6. Write it Down

    If there’s something you want to remember, writing it down can help.

    It may sound like a no-brainer, but do you really know why? Writing it down creates oxygenated blood flow to areas of your brain that a responsible for your memories and literally exercises those parts of it. Here’s How Writing Things Down Can Change Your Life.

    You can start a journal, write yourself emails or even start keeping a blog – all of these activities will help to improve your capacity to remember and memorize information.

    7. Listen to Music

    Research shows that certain types of music are very helpful in recalling memories. Information that is learned while listening to a particular song or collection can often be recalled by thinking of the song or “playing” it mentally. Songs and music can serve as cues for pulling up particular memories.

    8. Visual Concepts

    In order to remember things, many people need to visualize the information they are studying.

    Pay attention to photographers, charts and other graphics that might appear in your textbook; or if you’re not studying a book, try to pull up a mental image of what it is you are trying to remember. It might also help to draw your own charts or figures, or utilize colors and highlighters to group related ideas in your notes.

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    Here, you can learn How to Become a Person Who Can Visualize Results.

    9. Teach Someone Else

    Reading material out loud has been shown to significantly improve memory of the material. Expanding further upon this idea is the fact that psychologists and educators have found that by having students teach new concepts to others, it helps to enhance understanding and recall.

    Teach new concepts and information to a friend or study partner, and you’ll find you remember the information a lot better.

    10. Do Crossword Puzzles, Read or Play Cards

    Studies have shown that doing crossword puzzles, read or play cards on a daily basis not only keep your brain active but also help to delay memory loss, especially in those who develop dementia.

    So pick up the daily newspaper and work on that crossword puzzle, read a book or enjoy a game of solitaire.

    Pick one to two of these tips first and start applying them to your everyday life. Very soon you’ll find yourself having better memories and a clearer head!

    More About Boosting Memory

    Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

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