Hundreds of unread emails, lost contact information and a desktop full of icons…if this describes your digital life then this post is for you! I won’t address photos today but you can read about digital photo organization, here and here.
Digital clutter may not have the same impact on your physical space but you are still aware of the disorganization. It weighs on you every time you search for a file, address or phone number.
The key to organizing this information is to know yourself and establish new habits. Creating new habits has been the theme of this January Challenge. Perhaps you’ve also noticed that I don’t typically advocate for a specific system. Part of knowing yourself, is to know what will work for you.
Consider the following questions:
- Do you use a computer? If so, MAC or PC?
- Where and how do you work online? Through which device? Phone, tablet or computer?
- Is it feasible for all family members to have their own primary device or do you share? Sharing is great but you must consider the needs of all users.
- What email client do you prefer? Create a separate email address for account registrations, online purchase etc. If your current email account is overrun with spam, start fresh. Share the new email address with just friends and family. Turn the old one into your “spam” account.
Decluttering Challenge Day 28
Email – Sort by sender. Tackle non-personal senders first. Delete all but the most recent email. Then, unsubscribe from corporate emails. Keep only the ones that align with your values.
For emails from actual people, sort by subject and review the latest. Respond if required. Delete if the discussion has ended or OBE. File if the information needs to be saved. Create a few folders in your email account to save important information. Or Print to PDF and save to your computer. Save sparingly. Delete frequently.
Contacts – Spend time updating your contact list. After the holidays is ideal because new addresses often arrive with Christmas cards. Use a digital system that works for you, or paper if you prefer. Consider where you most often access the information and how to maintain version control across various devices. For example, my contacts are saved in Gmail but sync to my iPhone and my computer. Just pick a system and maintain it. Delete contacts that are no longer relevant and update new addresses as needed.
Files – Resist the urge to save all your files on the desktop. It’s messy and visually distracting. Establish a reasonable number of folders to organize your files such as Bills & Receipts, Work, Church, Kids, Travel and Home Improvement. Move and delete files until the desktop is clear. Consider cloud options such as Evernote, Google Drive and DropBox to save space on your hard drive. Cloud storage is great because it’s accessible from anywhere.
What part of digital clutter is most difficult for you?