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Five Easy Tips For a More Organized Digital Life

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We’ve put our whole lives into our computers, tablets, smartphones, and everything else we attach to the Internet. We’ve got our work mixed in with our private lives, old projects mixed in with new, and music on one device that we want to play on another. All this technology is supposed to make our lives easier, but all too often, it’s just plain inconvenient.

Here are a few tips and tricks to put your digital world in order, and make your life easier for real.

Organize your libraries by content, not file type

You’re working on a complex report. You’ve got spreadsheets, documents, photos, and so on. Do the photos belong in My Pictures? Of course not. Keep all of the files for a single project in a single folder. Better yet, put two folders in My Documents: Work and Home, and put your project folders in there. And reserve My Pictures for family and personal photos.

Centralize your files into one always-accessible spot

Your boss calls asking for a recent report, but you’re not at your computer. Meanwhile, your daughter needs a baby picture for a school project. You’re on your smartphone and your daughter is using a tablet. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to make sure all your important files are accessible from nearly any device by storing them in one safe, central location. Some cloud services make that possible, such as Google Drive or Dropbox, but these can be slow, and sometimes not very secure.

Another option: set up network-attached storage (NAS) in your house. This will keep all your files centrally located, secure, and readily available. (Don’t worry. While your kids can access the NAS, they can’t access your stuff unless you’ve shared those particular folders.) NAS manufacturers like QNAP provide iOS and Android apps for accessing all your files through your smartphone. And if you’re not at home, a service like myQNAPcloud can make your files accessible from anywhere with Internet access. So much the better if your NAS offers features like QNAP’s iTunes Music Server, which lets any computer with iTunes access the media.

Use tags to organize and find your photos

A little bit of diligence while you upload your photos can pay off with tons of time saved every time you need to locate one of your pics in the future. Maybe you’re looking for all the photos of your daughter. Or just the ones with her and her dog. Or even all of the photos of your daughter and her dog taken at the beach last summer. After you move pictures from your camera or phone to your PC, take a few minutes to assign tags to individual .jpg photos. Photo organizing tools such as Google’s Picasa or QNAP’s Photo Station can do this. Some even recognize faces to automate the chore. Tags are part of the .jpg format, so you can search for them on your computer like any other file.

Bring everything to your television

If it’s on your hard drive, and you can view it, play it, or listen to it, you can easily bring it to your HDTV via the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) standard. Chances are that your HDTV, or something already attached to it, is a DLNA receiver, meaning that it can present any videos, songs, and photos from a local DLNA server. Because they’re always available and have massive storage, most NAS devices make excellent DLNA servers. A service like QNAP’s HD Station goes beyond that, giving you access to Hollywood movies, Chrome Web browsing, and YouTube videos on your HDTV, and even lets you use your smartphone as a remote control.

Back up with no sweat

Every document, spreadsheet, photo, and video on your hard drive can disappear at any moment. That's why you need a regular backup routine that copies all of your files (or at least those created and changed since the last backup) to an external or networked drive. This has to be done every day for every computer in your household. If that’s not likely to happen (let’s be honest – that’s a tall order), look to your NAS to make things easier. Setting it up as a centralized backup server can spare you plenty of hassle and save you plenty of time. QNAP’s backup & recovery solution helps you easily set up regular backups within Windows, and supports Time Machine as well.

A properly set up NAS device is the easiest way to turn a scattered family of devices into an efficient home network. Start organizing your digital life today with a QNAP Turbo NAS – a user-friendly device designed to make life a whole lot easier.

This story, "Five Easy Tips For a More Organized Digital Life" was originally published by BrandPost.