About nine months ago I was let go from my job in the financial services industry. This matched my goal to get my work aligned with my purpose and I viewed it as a positive step.
I was lucky that the handwriting had been on the wall for a little time in advance so I had a chance to get my personal contacts, to-do lists, email, files etc, backed up such that I wouldn’t loose my entire organizational system; one that had been in effect and primarily inside the firewall of my company in the form of Blackberry, Microsoft Outlook and the like for almost twenty years.
I will detail the process of porting my Windows-based workflows over to the Mac world to integrate with the tools I have personally such as iPad, iPhone in another article.
The key message here is that in the world we currently occupy, it is more important than ever to make sure as much of your system is in the cloud or at least backed up regularly so that you can take it with you when you move. (I dropped and broke my wife’s phone and she lost all her contacts, shoemakers’ kids I guess).
Get a Google mail account. It’s free and the process of backing up your contacts, task lists and calendar to Gmail is simple and straightforward. If you live largely on your corporate servers and your IT department has a strict security policy about outside email it is still relatively easy to export these critical personal data repositories and manually keep your back-up up to date. Use Google Drive to keep documents accessible from any device, anywhere you have internet access. Get familiar with the export feature in Outlook and how to create generic backups (CSV or commonly called comma delimited) to maintain the greatest flexibility and portability.
Once you have your data in the Cloud, use the native sharing protocols of the Mac (iCloud) or Windows (SkyDrive) to access your key data and process them through whatever tools you choose (either native to the operating system or third-party such as Lotus Notes, OmniFocus, OpenDoc, etc.).
I have a strong preference for keeping one organizational systems (projects, tasks, calendar, contacts) that encompasses my whole life (work, personal, volunteer, etc.) flexible systems, regular backups and portability ensure that changes in our circumstances don’t derail our practice of productivity.