By Dirk Zeller

Everyone seems to be an expert these days with something to share or sell the masses. The information marketing world is exploding with podcasts, e-books, white papers, videos, e-courses, and webinars. Being able to organize all this information with the ability to retrieve it, use it, and implement it can be a full-time job.

Whether it’s pictures of your kids and family, a research paper that you wrote years ago but now need to reference, or a long-lost relative’s obituary, you need a system and set of tools to store and grab the information you need.

Building your system to find what you need fast

Separate your personal retrieval system from your business. For example, if you write books, white papers, articles and blogs, create videos, training courses, podcasts, and other forms of content, you can use Evernote to retrieve work quickly so you can update, refresh, and rebrand it.

And then there’s the organization app called Alfred, named after Batman’s handy butler who was always ready to assist the caped crusader. This app saves you a lot of time when you need to search your local hard drive. It can even review your bookmarks and the web for information that you need. You can create your own themes in colors and font sizes to match how you learn and retrieve.

Because you work in the world of many accounts and passwords, rather than having a piece of paper with all your accounts, user names, and passwords, use LastPass. Your personal identity and passwords are something you never want to fall into enemy’s hands. The only solution for most people is to use the same user name and password on all accounts. That is not safe either. The time it takes to clear your name when you’re hacked is enormous. LastPass allows you to safely share passwords with others that might need access to your information.

If you’re serving as project manager and leading people and projects, you might try SweetProcess. This app is a work-flow documentation program that enables you to delegate more effectively. SweetProcess emails you to create procedures, and share and track results all in one place.

Protecting your technology from catastrophe

Accidents can and do happen, especially with technology. Backing up work files and information is imperative today. Although many still perform regular backups, the need for cloud-based or offsite types of backup systems have never been more important.

There are numerous services that offer backup capability, such as Carbonite, Backblaze, or CrashPlan. Most people have a limited backup-plan strategy. It’s not a matter of if your hard drive crashes; it’s only a matter of when. When it happens, whether you lose one file or hundreds, it still causes problems.

Clouding, Dropboxing, and storing your stuff

The ability to use cloud or have documents, data, and information available on any device creates time efficiency. In cloud computing you share computing resources rather than store documents, software, data, and files on a local server or single server and system. Putting something in the cloud refers to Internet-based storage and commuting. Transferring data from your laptop, tablet, phone, and desktop is truly a “has been” action. Selecting cloud-based software and apps is the only way to go.

If you select a CRM solution for your business, using cloud-based technology is a must. The remote servers of the past don’t offer the flexibility needed today. The cloud provides safety in case of lost data or files and provides access to all people and devices. It promotes sharing of information between departments and people.

Dropbox is the most-used cloud document sharing software for both business and personal use. No need to email large files anymore when you can give people access to specific folders and files. Dropbox provides strong encryption so your private business or personal files remain protected. It’s easy to use, so you can set up files and folders similar to a Windows-based filing system. You can use over 300,000 apps that connect to Dropbox, enabling you to increase your productivity from Microsoft Office to AutoCAD.

For those who travel, Dropbox allows you to access your presentations, documents, and PowerPoints from the road. If you need to make adjustments and update when on the road, you can easily do that and store them in Dropbox.

DocuSign is another must-have time-saving and storage program. The ability to replicate and edit a standardized agreement can save hours of work. The faster you can deliver an agreement of the terms and conditions of service, the less likely the prospect could change their mind, have second thoughts, or your competitor outflank you.

People want easy and faster service, and DocuSign fits both of those to a T. It stores all your contracts, but the best feature is how quickly clients receive them and can approve them with a few clicks of their mouse. No more printing the document, signing the document, then scanning it back into a computer to email back to the sender. It also tracks when they received the document, and when they opened it as well as completed and signed it.