Four Simple Ways to Avoid a Digital Mess
Sometimes when I feel overwhelmed or have information overload it’s, at times, because my files and emails are all over the place and unorganized. I’ve been practicing these four simple steps for the past few years and it has helped me stay digitally organized. Grab a cup of your favorite beverage and find a comfortable place to sit. Spend about 20 minutes to complete the four simple ways to avoid a digital mess.
1. Clear emails weekly.
I check my emails everyday but on Wednesdays I clean out my inbox. Pick a day of the week to clear your emails. Go through your inbox and flag emails that need follow-up. Then, delete, archive, and move any relevant emails to subfolders within your inbox to keep it organized. If you do this on the same day on a weekly basis you are sure to keep a tidy inbox.
2. Sort through the “Downloads” folder weekly.
I am always downloading a file. Whether it’s for a new application or a file from an email, downloads can take up unnecessary space on the computer. On a weekly basis, sort through your “Downloads” folder. Look at all the files you’ve downloaded and delete what you no longer need. The files that you do need move to the appropriate folder on your hard drive, in a cloud storage system (i.e. Dropbox, Google Drive, iCloud, SharePoint etc.), or external drive.
3. Clean the Desktop monthly.
Much like a having a clean and organized physical desk, having a clean and organized desktop helps make me feel at ease and ready to be productive. Clean up your desktop by deleting any files and folders you do not need anymore and moving files and folders from your desktop to an appropriate place on your hard drive, in the cloud, or external drive.
4. Empty Trash monthly.
I admit, sometimes I do go through my digital trash can because I realize, days later, I still need the file. Empty your digital trash can on a monthly basis. Open your trash and review the files to ensure you will no longer need them. Then, click the empty button.
These four simple ways to avoid a digital mess are what help me stay digitally organized. If a month seems to soon to empty your digital trash then adjust and do what works for you. If that is bi-monthly, or even quarterly, the main point is to clean and clear your digital space. When I stick to my scheduled and do this on a regular basis it takes me 15 minutes. When I skip a week or a month it can take me 40+ minutes. Do you have any tips that help you stay digitally organized? Share them with me in the comments, on social media, or email me.
by Jaime Sykes-Summerville
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