Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

8 September 2020

Are you a Paper Piler or a Document Filer?

When it comes to organizing papers, people generally fall into two categories – the pilers and the filers. Filers tend to put papers away in cabinets/drawers, while pilers stack their documents where they can be seen and remembered.

There are benefits to both ways of life. Those who pile like to say there is an organizational method to their madness. For many people, having information out where you can see it and easily access it is key to their productivity. 

However, for filers, these piles can be distracting. They may function best when their work station is clear of documents and other papers. To recall things, filers rely on a carefully created file structure and hierarchy. 
Regardless of which way you manage your information, take advantage of well-labeled folders or binders, as well as a solid organizational structure to increase your productivity.

When creating labels use words you know and understand. Don’t label something Auto if you refer to it as Car or Toyota. The best label choices are the ones you use most frequently. I tell clients that they should use the first word that comes to mind when they are trying to find something. If you have to look in more than one location for a document, considering moving it to the first place you looked, even if it doesn’t fit ‘conventional wisdom’. 

When it comes to organizing your papers, filers often take advantage of traditional file cabinets or smaller file storage boxes. Pilers may find stacking boxes like these at the Container Store helpful in managing their information. Remember, the best system is one that works for you so don’t be afraid to try different configurations till you figure it out.

If you want more help getting your files in shape, let me know! Schedule a Discovery Conversation and we can talk!

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23 February 2021

Who Really Needs Email Folders?

When I talk about email management, I’ve had people ask me, “Are email folders necessary? Can’t you just use search to find what you need and keep everything in the inbox?”

Ask any two organizers, and you’ll probably get two different answers and there’s an argument to be made for both options.

Utilizing search can help you find an email quicker and more efficiently than digging through various folders. Locating everything in the inbox means there’s only one place to look. But…what do you do with action items?

Remember, all email is either an action item, a reference item, or a trash item. If you are keeping all email in your inbox, it’s easy for those action items to get lost among the trash and reference material. And if you get a lot of email, those important items can quickly fall below the scroll and out of sight often equals out of mind.

Which leaves you with utilizing folders to organize your email.

Using folders allows you to get your reference material out of your inbox and away from any action items that may be hidden. It also means that, when you do utilize search, you can do a focused search in one folder, rather than a broad search in all of your email. Having folders can allow for quicker retrieval of that one email you’re looking for.

But it does take time to create a folder structure – even a very general one – and it takes effort to process your email into those folders every day instead of just leaving them in your inbox.

So what’s the right answer?  The answer is, it depends on you. I prefer a folder structure. Even a general one is going to help you organize your email and allow you to keep those action emails front and center. Yes, it’s a little bit of effort, but one I feel is worth it in the end.

Need help getting those emails tackled? Let me know and we can figure it out together! 

16 February 2021

Reason 11 To Keep Your Email Organized

Texas is in a deep freeze this week. For me that means a frozen swimming pool, frozen pipes, and rolling blackouts. It’s all kinds of not fun. Trust me when I tell you, I’m not Zoom ready by any means. My kingdom for a hot shower.

Because of the rolling blackouts, we have 15 minutes of power, then 30 minutes of no power. No power means no internet, which means no sending emails or checking Facebook. It also means conserving my laptop battery as much as I can by leaving it turned off unless I’m actively working.

But April, just use your phone! Of course…except AT&T is having trouble with their towers as well so no Internet there either. I know, bummer all the way around. I thought I left this behind when I moved away from Iowa.

So when I do get 10 or 15 minutes to work, I try to make sure I am being as productive as possible with my workload. This is when having my email organized becomes an asset. Instead of spending my precious time sorting and searching through emails for that one message, I can go right to what I need to work on. Then, I can knock out 4 or 5 email responses before the power goes out again.

Focusing on work right now is tough, but being organized helps me be super productive when I actually crawl out from underneath the blankets and cats. How about you? What’s your why for getting organized?

If you need help figuring out your why, give me a call and we’ll talk about it!

2 February 2021

App Review – Google Workspace

Purpose: Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) is a package of productivity tools – email, contacts, calendar, and document storage and creation designed to help your business run.  

Benefits: Google Workspace is great for a new business that wants to look more professional with a @yourcompany.com email while still having the ease and access that a Google account provides.  For small businesses, Google Workspace allows for easier collaboration with your team and provides you with IT administration abilities.

Cost: $6 /mo, $12/mo,  $18/mo per user depending on the business level

Opinion: I’ve used Google Workspace/G Suite for years and love that it combines the ease of a Google account with the professionalism of my own domain. Google plays well with others, which is a huge advantage when it comes to automation and integration. I highly recommend using Google Workspace over domain specific email systems like what you get with GoDaddy etc.

Questions? Let me know! Prefer to receive these reviews in your inbox? Sign up for my email newsletter!

26 January 2021

Bing! You’ve Got Mail!

I visited my nieces recently. The 4 year old likes to play dolls and was thrilled about having a new playmate around. However, it was ‘Play!’ every five minutes we weren’t actively engaged in playtime. No time for auntie to read a book or watch TV. No, it was all play all the time.

Email can be like that too. When you’ve got notifications on your phone or computer, every time you get a new email there’s a little ‘bing’ that goes off and demands your attention. No time for getting anything else done when you’ve got email tugging at your attention. Kind of like a toddler tugging at your pants.

So what should you do? Turn off your email notifications! Both on your phone and on the computer. Don’t let email dictate your life. Set aside specific times during the day to check email and use the rest of the time to focus on other work. It can take some time to get used to, but your productivity will thank you.

Are you interested in detoxing your inbox? I’ve got a plan for that! Sign up today for a Discovery Conversation and we’ll talk about how to get your email under control.

Would you rather get these tips in your email? Sign up for the Ilios Digital Newsletter!

13 January 2021

Do you have a digital storage unit?

For those of us in the digital world, external hard drives and extra USB keys full of old documents equate to a packed storage unit. Many of us use an external drive as a backup drive – utilizing Time Machine or Windows Backup. But what about all those drives that are sitting on our shelf, collecting dust, full of documents we’ve forgotten about? It might be time to review and weed, then purge the files you no longer need.

Don’t worry – you don’t need to sort everything in one day! Just take it one file folder at a time. If you want help, call me up – I love file organizing! Schedule your Discovery Conversation and we’ll take it from there.

Prefer to get these tips via email? Sign up for the list today!

15 December 2020

4 Things to Do Before 2021

It’s that time of the year again – time for lists and recollections. Who made the Billboard charts? What were the most newsworthy events? How many different types of bread can you make now? (I can do banana bread, does that count?) What did you listen to on Spotify? That sort of thing.

But instead of looking back at what you’ve done so far, I’m looking ahead to what you can accomplish before 2021 starts. There’s always a big push to get organized at the beginning of the new year – how many times have you put ‘get organized’ on your resolution list – but why not start now?

Today, I wanted to give you a head start on being organized for the new year. Below are four things you can do now to start 2021 off on the right foot. 

  1. Clear off your desktop. Yes, this means your digital desktop as well as your physical desktop. It’s time to get rid of all those temporary downloads you read then forgot to discard, those early versions of your client retention form, and all the various files that accumulate on your desktop. Find a home for the ones you want to keep and discard the rest. Starting off clean may encourage you to keep it that way in the new year.
  2. Weed and purge your phone photos. We all take throwaway pictures – images of a receipt, or a shelf code at the grocery store, or that accidental picture of your feet. Now is the time to scan thru your photo roll and discard those throwaway images. While you’re doing that, keep an eye out for any duplicates that you can narrow down to a single photo. This is an easy task to take care of when you’re waiting in line at the store or sitting on the couch watching reruns.
  3. Update your device. Is your tech up to date on the latest operating system, upgrades, etc? Many of these updates include important safety patches or features. Even if your device is set to automatically update, that might not be enough. If you haven’t restarted your device recently, do so now. There are some updates and changes that require a restart to implement. 
  4. Start your online backup. If you don’t already have your documents, photos, etc. backed up, now is the time to get that process started. There’s no reason to avoid online backup – and it’s cheap for the peace of mind it brings. Don’t wait till there is a disaster to get prepared. For online backup I recommend either BackBlaze or Carbonite. 

Once you’re done with these four steps, take a moment to relax with a cup of cocoa or other holiday beverage. You’re off to a great start!

Have questions about what to do first? Need help with any of the steps? Let me know and we can work on it together! Would you rather receive this information in your inbox? Sign up for my newsletter!

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

23 February 2021

Who Really Needs Email Folders?

When I talk about email management, I’ve had people ask me, “Are email folders necessary? Can’t you just use search to find what you need and keep everything in the inbox?”

Ask any two organizers, and you’ll probably get two different answers and there’s an argument to be made for both options.

Utilizing search can help you find an email quicker and more efficiently than digging through various folders. Locating everything in the inbox means there’s only one place to look. But…what do you do with action items?

Remember, all email is either an action item, a reference item, or a trash item. If you are keeping all email in your inbox, it’s easy for those action items to get lost among the trash and reference material. And if you get a lot of email, those important items can quickly fall below the scroll and out of sight often equals out of mind.

Which leaves you with utilizing folders to organize your email.

Using folders allows you to get your reference material out of your inbox and away from any action items that may be hidden. It also means that, when you do utilize search, you can do a focused search in one folder, rather than a broad search in all of your email. Having folders can allow for quicker retrieval of that one email you’re looking for.

But it does take time to create a folder structure – even a very general one – and it takes effort to process your email into those folders every day instead of just leaving them in your inbox.

So what’s the right answer?  The answer is, it depends on you. I prefer a folder structure. Even a general one is going to help you organize your email and allow you to keep those action emails front and center. Yes, it’s a little bit of effort, but one I feel is worth it in the end.

Need help getting those emails tackled? Let me know and we can figure it out together! 

16 February 2021

Reason 11 To Keep Your Email Organized

Texas is in a deep freeze this week. For me that means a frozen swimming pool, frozen pipes, and rolling blackouts. It’s all kinds of not fun. Trust me when I tell you, I’m not Zoom ready by any means. My kingdom for a hot shower.

Because of the rolling blackouts, we have 15 minutes of power, then 30 minutes of no power. No power means no internet, which means no sending emails or checking Facebook. It also means conserving my laptop battery as much as I can by leaving it turned off unless I’m actively working.

But April, just use your phone! Of course…except AT&T is having trouble with their towers as well so no Internet there either. I know, bummer all the way around. I thought I left this behind when I moved away from Iowa.

So when I do get 10 or 15 minutes to work, I try to make sure I am being as productive as possible with my workload. This is when having my email organized becomes an asset. Instead of spending my precious time sorting and searching through emails for that one message, I can go right to what I need to work on. Then, I can knock out 4 or 5 email responses before the power goes out again.

Focusing on work right now is tough, but being organized helps me be super productive when I actually crawl out from underneath the blankets and cats. How about you? What’s your why for getting organized?

If you need help figuring out your why, give me a call and we’ll talk about it!

2 February 2021

App Review – Google Workspace

Purpose: Google Workspace (formerly known as G Suite) is a package of productivity tools – email, contacts, calendar, and document storage and creation designed to help your business run.  

Benefits: Google Workspace is great for a new business that wants to look more professional with a @yourcompany.com email while still having the ease and access that a Google account provides.  For small businesses, Google Workspace allows for easier collaboration with your team and provides you with IT administration abilities.

Cost: $6 /mo, $12/mo,  $18/mo per user depending on the business level

Opinion: I’ve used Google Workspace/G Suite for years and love that it combines the ease of a Google account with the professionalism of my own domain. Google plays well with others, which is a huge advantage when it comes to automation and integration. I highly recommend using Google Workspace over domain specific email systems like what you get with GoDaddy etc.

Questions? Let me know! Prefer to receive these reviews in your inbox? Sign up for my email newsletter!

26 January 2021

Bing! You’ve Got Mail!

I visited my nieces recently. The 4 year old likes to play dolls and was thrilled about having a new playmate around. However, it was ‘Play!’ every five minutes we weren’t actively engaged in playtime. No time for auntie to read a book or watch TV. No, it was all play all the time.

Email can be like that too. When you’ve got notifications on your phone or computer, every time you get a new email there’s a little ‘bing’ that goes off and demands your attention. No time for getting anything else done when you’ve got email tugging at your attention. Kind of like a toddler tugging at your pants.

So what should you do? Turn off your email notifications! Both on your phone and on the computer. Don’t let email dictate your life. Set aside specific times during the day to check email and use the rest of the time to focus on other work. It can take some time to get used to, but your productivity will thank you.

Are you interested in detoxing your inbox? I’ve got a plan for that! Sign up today for a Discovery Conversation and we’ll talk about how to get your email under control.

Would you rather get these tips in your email? Sign up for the Ilios Digital Newsletter!

13 January 2021

Do you have a digital storage unit?

For those of us in the digital world, external hard drives and extra USB keys full of old documents equate to a packed storage unit. Many of us use an external drive as a backup drive – utilizing Time Machine or Windows Backup. But what about all those drives that are sitting on our shelf, collecting dust, full of documents we’ve forgotten about? It might be time to review and weed, then purge the files you no longer need.

Don’t worry – you don’t need to sort everything in one day! Just take it one file folder at a time. If you want help, call me up – I love file organizing! Schedule your Discovery Conversation and we’ll take it from there.

Prefer to get these tips via email? Sign up for the list today!

15 December 2020

4 Things to Do Before 2021

It’s that time of the year again – time for lists and recollections. Who made the Billboard charts? What were the most newsworthy events? How many different types of bread can you make now? (I can do banana bread, does that count?) What did you listen to on Spotify? That sort of thing.

But instead of looking back at what you’ve done so far, I’m looking ahead to what you can accomplish before 2021 starts. There’s always a big push to get organized at the beginning of the new year – how many times have you put ‘get organized’ on your resolution list – but why not start now?

Today, I wanted to give you a head start on being organized for the new year. Below are four things you can do now to start 2021 off on the right foot. 

  1. Clear off your desktop. Yes, this means your digital desktop as well as your physical desktop. It’s time to get rid of all those temporary downloads you read then forgot to discard, those early versions of your client retention form, and all the various files that accumulate on your desktop. Find a home for the ones you want to keep and discard the rest. Starting off clean may encourage you to keep it that way in the new year.
  2. Weed and purge your phone photos. We all take throwaway pictures – images of a receipt, or a shelf code at the grocery store, or that accidental picture of your feet. Now is the time to scan thru your photo roll and discard those throwaway images. While you’re doing that, keep an eye out for any duplicates that you can narrow down to a single photo. This is an easy task to take care of when you’re waiting in line at the store or sitting on the couch watching reruns.
  3. Update your device. Is your tech up to date on the latest operating system, upgrades, etc? Many of these updates include important safety patches or features. Even if your device is set to automatically update, that might not be enough. If you haven’t restarted your device recently, do so now. There are some updates and changes that require a restart to implement. 
  4. Start your online backup. If you don’t already have your documents, photos, etc. backed up, now is the time to get that process started. There’s no reason to avoid online backup – and it’s cheap for the peace of mind it brings. Don’t wait till there is a disaster to get prepared. For online backup I recommend either BackBlaze or Carbonite. 

Once you’re done with these four steps, take a moment to relax with a cup of cocoa or other holiday beverage. You’re off to a great start!

Have questions about what to do first? Need help with any of the steps? Let me know and we can work on it together! Would you rather receive this information in your inbox? Sign up for my newsletter!