Technology Spring Cleaning

Spring is often the time people clean out closets, declutter their homes, move bulky sweaters to storage and other tasks to celebrate the new season with a fresh start. Lawyers can do some “spring cleaning” on their technology – whether optimizing your devices, adding some automation, or finally unsubscribing from all the unread emails, there are lots of things to do to prepare for summer. Here are six ideas to start with.

Delete Items in the Downloads Folder

Over time you have likely downloaded files from the Internet – white papers, images, music, documents and more – and they may still live in your computer’s Downloads folder. Take a moment to go take a look at the folder (in Mac or in Windows 10 in File Explorer – This PC – Downloads) and either move the file to a more appropriate location or delete it!

Add Some Automation

There are many tools to help you reduce repetitive tasks and streamline your work. From tools like Zapier that can do things like send information collected from JotForm to Clio, or PowerAutomate (f/k/a Flow) in Microsoft 365 to copy attachments from emails to a OneDrive folder, to TextExpander to insert clauses into emails and documents or ActiveWords to trigger actions, pick a few processes in the firm that slow you down and see how you can improve them. You may already have the tools you need to improve document generation. Just take the time to pick one or two to start reaping the benefits.

Tune Up Your PC

Windows 10 has a lot of built in tools to tune up your machine. For instance, you can set the disc defragmenter to run automatically so you never have to remember to optimize your hard drive again. However, if you have a solid-state drive (SSD) you don’t need to defragment it. You can also turn on Storage Sense to automatically get rid of temporary files and items in your Recycle Bin. You can also manage which apps start when you boot your computer. When you install software the default is to run at startup so after a while if you notice startup is sluggish you can clean that list up. This PCMag article has all the instructions.

Set Up a Password Manager

Recently tech guru Tom Mighell began a multi-part blog series on why you should get and use a password manager. Without one you may fall into the bad habit of using the same password or the same few passwords for all your logins. Since passwords are harvested and sold on the dark web this is a very bad practice. Password managers can help you practice good password hygiene, using unique, long, and strong passwords.  There are lots to choose from, including business versions to get your whole firm using best practices. If storing your passwords in the cloud makes you nervous, there are options like Roboform that let you store them in a vault on your computer!

Unsubscribe from Email

There were great tools like Unroll.me to help you bulk unsubscribe to emails. Unfortunately, Unroll.me also scraped data to sell to advertisers. Fortunately, there are other ways to unsubscribe to bulk emails, including doing a search across your email for “unsubscribe” and then one by one unsubscribing from newsletters, promotional email, and other items you no long want to get. There are apps like Unsubscriber from Clean Email that will help organize your email and assist with bulk unsubscribes, but to preserve your privacy you will have to pay $30 a year. If you want to reduce the number of email newsletters you receive, but still get the information, you can try this trick getting them into your Feedly newsreader instead of your inbox.

Offload Unused Apps

On your iPhone or iPad you have likely downloaded many apps, some of which you rarely use. The iOS has an “Offload Unused App” feature that will help identify which apps you don’t use very often. If you use this feature it will remove the app, but not any data associated with the app so you can reinstall it if necessary and not have lost any information. If you really want to get rid of the app and its data you can manually uninstall the app. Want to see what is taking up precious space? Head over to Settings and in General View tap “Usage” then “Manage Storage”. You can see what it is taking up space and remove old files and apps you may not use. Downloaded files, like PDFs, can also take up space so you can delete those too.