4 Life-changing Resolutions You Can Stick To
By Laura Lee Arnet
Time flies. It’s 2011 already, yet it seems like just yesterday you were recovering from last year’s New Year’s Eve party. And before you know it, 1/1/11 will turn into 11/11/11 -- another year gone by. That’s when you may find yourself staring at the calendar and wondering what happened to all those resolutions of new years past.
Keeping resolutions is not just about willpower. It’s about having a system in place to reach your goals. The cloud can help, letting you store and access relevant software, tools and files via any of your Web-connected devices. Here’s how to use the cloud to keep some common new year’s resolutions:
Resolution No. 1: Get more organized.
- Use online calendars and productivity tools to write your goals, set milestones and track and share your progress. Our three favorite tools: Google Docs, Cohuman and DreamTeam
- Use apps to get real-time feeds from social media and RSS sources to stay on top of what’s important to you.
- Clear out old, unwanted files and organize current files or projects in folders. Store files you want to save in the cloud for free, using such a service as Google Docs, Box.net, Windows Live Mesh or Amazon S3.
- Protect your files. Secure access to digital storage is one of the top benefits of cloud computing: It lightens your computer’s load and improves its speed so you can get tasks done faster.
Resolution No. 2: Save more money and manage debt.
- Clear your cookies. Better yet, before you make your next online purchase, upgrade your security software situation to a cloud-managed service that protects you from spyware, adware and malware to help maintain your privacy and protect your credit rating.
- Take advantage of fraud and identity-theft protection features that are customizable through the cloud.
- Use cloud tools, such as Mint.com, to create a budget and savings plan that helps you streamline your cash flow. Set calendar alerts to remind you of key payment deadlines.
- Take pictures of items you want to sell with your smartphone and use Google’s Visual Search application to find out how much your items are worth.
Resolution No. 3: Spend more time with family.
- Work from home one day a week. Use the cloud to access all the files you need. Easily share documents and collaborate with your team on projects via the Web. With secure access to servers and company files hosted in the cloud, more companies are allowing employees to cloud-commute.
- Start your own home-based business. Cloud computing minimizes the headaches and costs associated with technical infrastructure, networks, software and security. Much of what you require is available on demand -- meaning you just pay for what you use, without a big up-front investment.
- Use project management applications, free collaboration tools, document creation, video and sound editing, like Aviary, and free digital file storage.
Resolution No. 4: Volunteer more.
- Use an online service like VolunteerMatch to locate your ideal project.
- Use social media to share your experiences and spread the word.
- Start your own community service project and manage it with cloud-based project management tools.
- Start a Google Group to keep friends and volunteers organized and informed.
- Check out Cloud for Good, a nonprofit and education-focused consulting group, to learn how to take your idea to the next level.
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Laura Lee Arnet is a freelance writer and the co-founder of FireRocket Concepts, a digital marketing agency. She currently lives and works in San Diego.
Cloud computing enables you to connect wirelessly and comes with plenty of benefits. What's your favorite feature?