by Stever Robbins
Now that everything comes with an embedded microprocessor, can surf the web, and requires six hands and a wireless connection to operate, even the simplest gadgets come with instruction manuals. And warranties. Plus there are URLs to web sites, wireless ID addresses, registrations, and so on. And did I mention accessories? My cordless phone has batteries, an A/C adapter, a headset, a belt clip, and an extra charging station. Keeping all this sorted out is a nightmare.
My solution is to create a set of equipment files. I have a folder on my computer called, cleverly, EQUIPMENT. Whenever I buy a new piece of equipment, I create a subfolder with the name of the device, and the date that I bought it. For example, “iPhone 4S - Dec 15, 2012.”
Then, while the device is still new, I visit the manufacturer’s website. I download any PDF versions of the manuals (wait too long and the device’s extra manuals and drivers may get archived in the depths of the manufacturer’s site). I scan the warranty and sales receipt into a PDF file and those go in the folder, too. Also, I note or take a picture of the device’s serial numbers, box labels that have wireless IDs, and any other info and I add those to the file. I also include a shortcut link to the manufacturer’s website to save time if I ever need to visit again.
If warranty service will require original receipts, create a physical file called “EQUIPMENT - iPhone 4S - Dec 15, 2012” and put any physical information into that file. Here, you’re using my tip about synchronizing your online and offline files so you have a single, constant place to go.
Finally, for accessories like extra earphones that don’t fit into a file folder, put them all in a Ziploc bag and label the bag exactly the same as you labeled the online and offline folder. Then put that bag in the storage area where you keep all your other accessories.
When you buy new electronics, it’s worth it to consolidate all the important information. Scan everything possible into its own folder on your computer. Create a paper file for accompanying paper documentation. And do the same with accessories in your accessory storage space.
Make sure your computer files are being backed up regularly so that you don’t lose any of this important data in the event of a crash. Check out Tech Talker’s easy tips for how to back up your data.
Stever Robbins helps small businesses in transition revamp their strategy and communications, both online and off. For more information, visit http://www.SteverRobbins.com.
Gadgets and File Folders photo from Shutterstock.