After a long holiday weekend hopefully enjoying the benefits of truly embracing some time away from work, it's time to get back to the grind. But even if the weekend has passed, it's not too late to set aside a moment of "productive time off" with these three tasks which may boost performance and productivity...
Run Anti-Malware Software
There's a good chance a computer at home is infected with some variety of malware. And just like it's recommended to get a check-up from a doctor every year or so, your computer will benefit from the software equivalent. There are plenty of free programs available for even the thriftiest computer use, one of my own favorites I use being Malwarebytes Anti-Malware:
- Visit Malwarebytes to download and install their free Anti-Malware software. It's safe and well reviewed at CNET's Download.com, so rest assured its a safe download.
- Make sure to update the software's malware database, whether when prompted each time the program is launched or by clicking the "Update" tab and running the option to "Check for Updates."
- Select "Perform full scan" under the "Scanner" tab and press "Scan" to launch an in-depth system to check any desired hard drives.
- Site back and enjoy lunch while the program checks over the computer. Once the scan is complete, select and remove any offending programs on the computer.
- Rest easy and comfortable knowing a once infected computer is now safe and clear of performance wrecking malware.
Clean Up The E-mail Inbox
Cleaning up the inbox doesn't have to mean the full zen of Inbox Zero or even Inbox Infinity, but cleaning up an inbox regularly will make your email client run faster and reduce the chance of crashing. Simply spend 5-10 minutes each day to delete the week's worth of junk mail (perhaps setting this task for a Friday or Monday), and respond to any message where the recipient has been patiently waiting for an answer. Here's how I tend and cull my own inbox each day/week:
- Go through the inbox and delete all junk mail.
- File away any membership, subscription, or other messages that need to be held on to. Do not leave them in the inbox, whether it's filed away into individual folders or just a single folder of like messages.
- Respond to any and all invitations from friends via Facebook, evite, Paperless Post, and the like. Make sure to delete or file away the original message as there's no use for it to be just floating around the inbox.
- Find any e-mails from friends and family awaiting response and reply now. Again, make sure to file away responded messages so they don't flood the inbox.
- Now happily get to work to work and reply to work e-mails without having to filter through junk messages, pestered by constant reminders about messages you've continually filed "for later".
Clean The Computer
Whether it's dust affecting the performance and lifespan of tech equipment, dirty screens, or food in the keyboard, electrical equipment in the home is a magnet for dirt and grime and disease. Although this last tip won't make your computer itself run faster, it will protect it from damage and prevent overheating.
- Wipe down the computer screen. Whether it's a commercial cleaner or a DIY cleaner, there are plenty of ways to clean up the accumulation of dust, food, fingerprints, and other smudges affecting the clarity of the screen.
- Get all the dust and dirt out of fans and crevices with a vacuum cleaner or can of compressed air.
- Clean the keyboard of food crumbs and other filth.
- Ideally begin and end each day with a small clean up habit, or just scheduled it as a quick lunchtime routine before you step out or after you eat from your desk.