Tips to Colour Code Your Way from Computer Chaos to Coherence

Excerpted from her new book, How to Do Space Age Work with a Stone Age BrainTM

By – Eve Abbott

Colour is just like a Porsche--There Is No Substitute
In anatomical illustrations you see the brain's large visual system, where the optic nerve is actually 25 times faster than our audio nerves (hearing). No matter which processing style you depend on, 90 percent of the sensory perceptions received by your brain are visual. This is undoubtedly why colour-coding works even for Auditory and Kinesthetic Learners.

Colour-Coding Your Calendar
Custom colour-coding each entry is one of the biggest improvements in Computer Calendars. When your appointment window pops up for the details, you'll find a drop-down field option to choose which colour you want.

Colour-coding will reduce mis-reads by as much as 90%, even if you don't change anything else about your calendar's display.

One executive client codes his calendar with black for onsite meetings, red for travel, green for offsite meetings and blue for personal/family time.

I know soccer mums who colour code for school, church, medical appointments, and family time. Truth is, they have just as many appointments to track as most executives.

Colour-Coding Your E-mail
You can colour-code your messages in almost every current e-mail program. You can do this by "training" your filters (sometimes called rules or screens) to recognise your clients or customers and make all their incoming messages appear in red.

Usually you'll find this function under Tools, and Options. Just fill in which e-addresses you want in what colours. You only have to do this once and it will work for you from then on.

My e-mail is set up to show all incoming messages from people I know I want to hear from in blue. Many of my clients set it so that any e-mail from their boss appears in red. Make colour work for you - use it in your office and on your home computer too!

Colour-Coding Other Electronic Files
It's not as easy to colour-code folders in Windows Explorer as it is to colour-code calendar entries or e-mail messages, but it can be done, at least in Windows XP.

First you need to get or make folder icons in different colours. (Try doing a search on "icon libraries" in Google.) Once you have some icons to choose from, right-click on the folder you want to colour-code and select "Properties" from the list that appears. You'll see a "Customize" tab across the top of Properties window. Using this, you can put different pictures on different types of file folders, or choose a new icon for the particular folder you are modifying.

The icons or pictures should match your overall colour-coding system, the one you are already using for your paper files, e-mail, and calendar. In the list on the left, the folders are named and colour-coded in the same way as in the File Kits described below. You can, of course, choose an even simpler system, or a more complex one, depending on how many different computer files you have and how you want to be able to distinguish them.

This procedure is time-consuming (especially if you don't start when you first set up your computer filing system), but it can be worth it to the Visual Learner for whom file names and subfolders aren't enough.

No need to reinvent the organising wheel. There are many program features that can help you, but be sure how you'll use it and where you'll put it. Otherwise you're just going to end up with a bunch of brightly coloured folders and messages that you've piled more chaos on.

Now you know the techniques and tools you'll need to succeed with your colour-coding computer tune-up. Go Forth and Colour Code!

Copyright, Eve Abbott All Rights Reserved. The Organizer Extraordinaire's new book "How to Do Space Age Work with a Stone Age Brain" TM is available online at Sign up for more time-saving tips. Enjoy free brain quizzes to help you work at your personal best! Eve's book is the first guide to offer easy, online assessments that will help you make your own personal organising solutions match your individual work style.

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