Start Page: Top 5 New Year's (IT) resolutions for 2013

Kim Brand
December 19, 2012
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StartPageBrand.jpgStarePage1.gifYou’re a year older, but are you a year wiser? You trudge down the same poor-productivity path year after year hoping that somehow the work will wane or your staff will step up. You ignore new versions and repel updates because you were barely trained on the last one and don’t have time to invest learning the new ones. Make this the year you get out of the poor-productivity ditch.

Resolution No. 1: Upgrade to Office 2010 (or 2013) and LEARN IT!

Say what you will about Microsoft, they know how to dominate a market. And no market is so dominated as the one they dominate with Office – aka Word, Excel and Outlook. If you make a living with words or numbers they are your toolkit. Are you a craftsman or a klutz?

The best part about Office 2010 is that Outlook search got a lot better. Search is the soul of information management. If you are hoarding thousands of emails in your inbox or folders, you deserve the joy of being able to find something faster.

Resolution No. 2: Empty your inbox

An inbox makes a horrible to-do list and worse project management system. Your inbox is where email goes to die. Resolve to move email to folders – and if you can – delegate your inbox to someone who can help. Assign expiration policies to folders . . . use it (file it) or lose it.

The new version of Outlook lets you drag emails to tasks. With the right system you can simply convert requests delivered by email to tasks you can assign to your staff in a single stroke.

Refer to my website for more about email.

Resolution No. 3: Learn keyboard shortcuts

Since the invention of the mouse I’ve noticed too many seconds are wasted by aiming smaller and smaller arrows at smaller and smaller targets and clicking to do almost everything. By the end of the day you’ve probably wasted enough time to play an 8x8 game of Sudoku. If you are going to waste time, at least you should have fun doing it!

Almost everything you do with a mouse can be done with a keyboard shortcut. Ctrl-S for example saves the file you are working on. Visit for hundreds more in dozens of programs – especially Word, Excel and Outlook.

Resolution No. 4: Change your passwords

2013 will probably be a good year for hackers. More high-value targets, more online applications, more connected hackers. Protecting yourself doesn’t need to be complicated; just use passwords that have a mix of upper and lower case letters, a number and a special symbol or two. (I wrote about this last January in the Indiana Lawyer.)

Don’t use the same password everywhere! And if you ever lose a password and have it (or a link to a password reset page) emailed to you, DELETE THE MESSAGE! If someone hacks your email and browses your inbox, imagine their delight when they find the credentials to your banking and shopping sites kept there forever!Startpage2.gif

Resolution No. 5: Unhook, disconnect

Studies have shown that as our focus is stolen by the constant interruptions of our digital life, we think less, react more and actually lose IQ points. It is ironic that the Internet, source of all knowledge, is making us stupid.

Most of my customers are afraid to disconnect. It takes courage. But the first step is to make an agreement with the people you connect with about your availability. I’ve added a link to an ‘Email Policies’ page in my Outlook signature. Everyone who receives a message from me is welcomed to learn ‘how I roll’ with email. Setting expectations is everything.

Try this: Share your inbox. Outlook rules are fine, but only a human can decide how to reply, forward or call someone making an urgent request via email (which is stupid all by itself). Leave the rest to wait for your ‘four-times-a-day’ email review windows. Seriously.

I hope you have a happy and productive 2013!•


Kim Brand is a technology expert and president of Computer Experts Inc. He is the inventor of FileSafe, an on-premises file server, and he speaks and writes frequently on technology subjects. To attend a free seminar on Outlook titled: “I Was An E-Mail Sinner,” contact his office: or call 317-833-3000. The opinions expressed are those of the author.


  • Have you tried?
    An interesting alternative to iGoogle is also Startific. It displays icons and widgets, connects all your favorite links and all your bookmarks, etc and organize them into a pretty nice interface, like you probably haven't seen in a quite while, check it if you want at

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  1. I think the cops are doing a great job locking up criminals. The Murder rates in the inner cities are skyrocketing and you think that too any people are being incarcerated. Maybe we need to lock up more of them. We have the ACLU, BLM, NAACP, Civil right Division of the DOJ, the innocent Project etc. We have court system with an appeal process that can go on for years, with attorneys supplied by the government. I'm confused as to how that translates into the idea that the defendants are not being represented properly. Maybe the attorneys need to do more Pro-Bono work

  2. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  3. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  4. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  5. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.