If you’ve ever spent a morning trying to track down a lost file on your hard drive or searching through a decade of email, you know that digital disorder can also take a toll on your wellbeing. Most people handle a constant flow of text messages, emails, photos, videos, and other digital information. When all that digital data piles up, it can slow you and your devices down. Keep reading for a step-by-step guide to downsizing and organizing your digital clutter.
Does your documents folder or email inbox resemble a junk drawer with everything tossed in together? Do you usually rely on your search box to help you find files? An organization structure can help you declutter, share, synchronize, move, and easily track down files. Follow these simple steps to get your digital life organized:
Browse through your files and emails and determine the major and minor categories they fall into. For instance, you may be able to divide photos into “work photos,” “family photos, “head shots,” etc. Within those categories, you may have subcategories.
Once you’ve determined what categories and subcategories you want to use for each type of file, make folders or subfolders for them.
Develop Naming Guidelines
Librarians who manage large digital collections use consistent, meaningful, and descriptive names to identify what’s inside each file. Follow suit, and you’ll be amazed at how much easier it is to track down specific files and photos when you need them. For documents, designate a naming structure such as “descriptive keywords-type of document.” For example, this article might be named “digital-decluttering-article.” For images, create a structure such as “descriptive keywords-month-year.” For example, vacation photos might be named “Hawaii-vacation-March-2017). For emails, use descriptive subject headings.
Automate Email Organization
Email inboxes can become unmanageable quickly. Depending on your email provider, you can automatically filter incoming emails into certain folders. For instance, all newsletters can be sent to a “newsletters” folder, and emails from colleagues can automatically be sent to a “work” folder.
Declutter Your Digital Past
Depending on how long it’s been since you’ve sorted through your digital data, you may need to do a major purge to get back on track. As with any big organizational project, the hardest part can be getting started. Set aside plenty of time, and commit to going through everything saved on your computer, mobile devices, external hard drive, or in the cloud, including photos, files, and personal records.
Decluttering can be an emotional process. Set a relaxing tone by listening to music and treating yourself to your favorite beverage. Repeat the decluttering motto: “If in doubt, throw it out,” and begin sorting files into folders. If you find yourself deliberating for more than a minute about keeping any item, create a “maybe” folder, and put it there.
Most of us accumulate a lot of photos and videos, because it’s so inexpensive and easy to snap and upload them these days. Photos and videos can hold a lot of sentimental value and can be difficult to downsize. However, it’s worth it! Not only are these files large and expensive to store; you don’t want to have to scroll through hundreds of files to find the photos that are meaningful to you.
Start by purging the following:
Destination Peace of Mind
To create more free time, it helps to become aware of the energetics created by our routines, our stuff and our surrounding environment.
You see, we can protect and even boost our energy levels by creating systems to handle the minutiae and diiligently eliminating our excess stuff!
This planet is currently experiencing an information and technology overload.
There is so much noise in the world it is hard to pay attention to the important things. The things that will bring us success. The things that will bring us joy and peace.
Let’s face it: We spend so much time accumulating possessions, interacting with technology and shuffling paperwork that we often lose track of what we need to do in order to keep our life in balance.
It is easier now than ever to become unbalanced and overwhelmed.
Do you have days where at the end of the day, you wonder what you actually did? It happens to all of us.
There are many proven techniques that you can use to create balance, have more time for fun and even increase your prosperity.
Here is one routine to incorporate into your life and a sure-fire way to take contol of your time:
Stop letting your inbox zap your energy and suck the productivity out of your day. Take control of your email addiction and never check your inbox first thing in the morning!
I know you might have heard this before but do you understand why it is important?
When you jump into your inBox before you plan what you need to accomplish that day, you will get sucked in and inevitably delay tackling your current projects for an hour or two.
Why does this happen? I am not sure if you have thought about this, but here is the truth about emails:
Every email sent to you represents someone who wants you to do something. Someone who wants you to take some type of action. So – guess what?
When you begin reading your emails, you immediately go into reaction mode. You either spend time responding immediately or figure out that you dont have time to respond and table it for later.
Once tabled, the email/request stays there demanding your time and energy later. Does this make sense?
So this is your challenge, should you accept it, for this week: Don’t open your inBox until you have planned your day and know exactly what you wish to accomplish. Once you are crystal clear about the direction and schedule for the day, you will know how much time you can spend there and what time is the appropriate time to open your emails and check your inbox.
Try being intentional with your inbox this week. You will be amazed how your stress level lowers and how much more you will accomplish.
In this day and age, there’s no denying that technology can be your best friend when you’re trying to stay organized, and whether you are among the millions who still use desktop computers, or one of those who proudly proclaim to have migrated all their computing to tablets and smartphones, there are plenty of applications that can help you make the most of your time. If you’re having trouble staying focused and just need a bit of a push, try out these apps:
1. For Desktop Users: RescueTime
2. For Smartphone Users: 24me
3. For Both: GoogleNow
If you are a committed worker, you certainly have your little tricks to maximize efficiency and increase productivity. Also, you should be aware that saving time is quite important. Let’s go through some productivity tips that might be helpful.
Organize Your Real Time
Remember that the time marked by the clock and real time don’t always match. Basically, it is important to remember that real time is the time devoted to work, which should always be your point of reference. If, for instance, you have 8 or 9 hours, you will probably be able to use 6 of them to complete your job, considering breaks, loss of attention, phone calls and distractions. “6 hours” is your real time. Be realistic with respect to the time available and you’ll be able to offer realistic deadlines.
Organize Your Effort and Your Calendar
Small sprints are very efficient. When you have a big project, break it up into a series of smaller goals. This will ease the pressure and it will also allow you to be more efficient, as Gantt demonstrated. Furthermore, use your calendar in an intelligent way, so that it will contain all the relevant data without requiring excessive attention. There are many programs that can save you time, energy and stress, you should learn how to use them. If you use Google Mail, for instance, you can opt for Google Calendar. You can also try Streak, it is very easy to use and extremely helpful. Plus, there are all kinds of applications that help you synchronize the calendar with your smartphone.
Organize Your Working Life
Productivity is measured not only in terms of operational skills, which constitute only a small part of your working life. Brainstorming, meetings and research sessions are, in fact, extremely important too. You have to make sure you leave enough time for these activities, because creativity and knowledge are essential if you want to maximize your productivity. Although it might seem counter-intuitive, if you spend enough time thinking you will do things faster.
Also, close anxiety and worries out of the office. Among the many distractions that characterize a working day, there are many small things that are related to your personal life and that can deeply affect your productivity. Finding a good school for your children, knowing they are safe, hiring a trustworthy person to take care of the house and finding a reliable company to look after your yard (here is an example, if you are looking for a good one), are all ways to increase your inner peace and your productivity.
Knowing that you will return to a clean, welcoming house with a garden full of flowers and colors, and having the certainty that your children are happy and safe, will free your mind and will save you a lot of precious time that you would otherwise spend preoccupying for everything and everyone. Your productivity and your efficiency are truly the consequence of your skills but never forget to take care of your emotions. We are, and we will always be, much more than workers: we are human beings.