Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to get your digital world organized.
(Missed the post? Check it out! Missed the first week? Check it out!)
Now that you’ve gotten organized, the hard part starts – staying organized!
Remember, S is for Space, P is for Purge, A is for Assign a Home, C is for Containerize and E is for…
E is for EQUALIZE This means a few things:
1) Put your stuff away! Spend 15 minutes a day to maintain your new system. Before you shut your computer down, make sure your desktop is clear, your downloads folder is empty and your documents are closed
2) Periodically re-evaluate your system to see how it is working for you. Tweak as necessary. In the digital world this means stay on top of your information! When saving a document don’t take the shortcut and save it ‘wherever’. Instead, take a moment to find the right folder. Know that you may need to change how you organize if something isn’t working for you. Maybe an app has updated and now doesn’t do that one thing you needed it to do. Now might be the time to find a new app for that task.
Organizing isn’t a one time task, it’s an ongoing process. Keep the SPACE guidelines in mind as you work on the organization in your digital world. Need help getting started, or help keeping it organized? Contact me and we’ll make it work!
Last week we talked about how Julie Morgenstern’s S.P.A.C.E organizing model can be tweaked to fit a digital world and how you can use it to start getting your digital world organized.
(Missed the post? Check it out!)
Now, it’s time to talk about actually getting organized! Remember, S is for Sort, and P is for Purge, A is for…
A is for ASSIGN A HOME Decide where the items you KEEP will “live”. Remember to make it logical, accessible and safe. This is when we talk about the right app for the right task. You want your client tracking to live in a CRM not necessarily in a task management app. Contacts are best in a content management app, not in an Excel spreadsheet or on scattered pieces of paper.
C is for CONTAINERIZE The art of containerizing is to do it last, not first. When space organizing, this means you don’t want to buy any new containers until you see what you have left after sorting and purging. In the digital world this means folders, folders, and more folders! It’s easy to get carried away when you start organizing and make folders for everything you can imagine. Instead, make a few sorting folders, see what all you have, then make sub folders as needed. The same thing applies to using a tagging system in a program like Evernote. Rather than trying to imagine all the different tags you will need, sort your notes and see what you actually could use.
So you’ve gotten started organizing, gotten organized, and next week we’ll finish up with how to stay organized. If you’ve got questions about taking the next steps with your organizing, just let me know!
How do I get organized? What do I do first? How do I decide what to get rid of?
Those are common questions, especially because so often it’s hard to know where to start. The SPACE model of organizing was made popular by Julie Morgenstern in the book Organizing from the Inside Out
. She used this model to provide guidance and direction for individuals wanting to get their home or workspace organized. Although originally designed to deal with physical space organizing, the same principles she spoke about can be applied to a digital world with just a little tweaking.
The S.P.A.C.E organizing model starts with S…
Password Protection and Peace of Mind
Hackers are out there to steal your information. Once they’ve got it, they’ll sell it to the highest bidder and destroy your identity. Or at least, that’s what the media tells us. There are large corporate breaches, and everyone knows someone who’s had their information hacked. You can’t prevent these corporate breaches from happening, but you can take steps to keep you and your information safe during daily use. How? Well, all the articles tell us the same things:
“Don’t use the same password more than once. Use strong passwords. Change your passwords frequently. Don’t tell anyone your passwords.”
It’s good advice, but how are you supposed to remember all that information? Some people manage their passwords in a written notebook near their computer or in a digital file on their computer. I’ve kept mine in Evernote and had Google Chrome’s ‘Save Password’ option to help me out. But other people choose very simple passwords or use the same password for everything. Fortunately, password managers – LastPass, KeyPass, Dashlane, 1Password – were created to address those best practices we keep getting told.
So what is a password manager?
Excuses and excuses for digital clutter
Do any of these excuses sound familiar?
- “I might need that someday!”
- “I could use that again if I started doing such-and-such.”
- “It’s worth so much money, I can’t just get rid of it.”
- “But so-and-so gave that to me, and I don’t want to hurt their feelings.”
- “That’s what I have to remember so-and-so by!”
- “I like it, I just don’t have a place to put it yet. But when I move…”
We often use the same excuses in the digital world that we do in the “physical stuff” realm.
What other excuses do you have for hanging on to digital items you might no longer need?
We know what physical clutter looks like–stacks of newspapers, dusty knick-knacks, piles of clothes. But computer clutter is also becoming an increasing problem.
What does computer clutter – or digital hoarding at one extreme – look like? It can be tens of thousands of emails, old photos, and music files taking up hard drive space, making it difficult to find needed information quickly. How many of your video or music files have you looked at or listened to more than once? Do you have hundreds of photos from an event you don’t even recall? How about pictures with people you don’t like in them?
Lack of organization is part of the problem, but for some people it goes beyond that. Have you considered getting a new computer since your hard drive is almost full? Do you continue buying portable disk drives because you keep running out of space? Are you overly excited by the unlimited possibilities of cloud storage?
The problem has only gotten worse since digital storage has gotten less costly. These days you can buy a terabyte hard drive for less than $150 dollars. How big is a terabyte? You can store 2,000 hours of music or 300 hours of high quality video on a terabyte drive. That is a lot of stuff!
So how do you simplify your digital life?
- Make Choices: You aren’t required to be on every social network or subscribed to every newsletter. Figure out the ones that make the most sense for you and eliminate the others. Consider using a RSS reader to keep up with blogs you follow. Do a quick sort on your digital photos to delete those out of focus or just plain bad.
- Sift through emails: Delete those you won’t need, archive others, and develop a strategy for moving forward.
- For computer files, use the same category names on your computer as you do on paper. By using the same structure and folder style as your paper files, it may be easier to find a computer document and put things away in both places.
- Label your files deliberately. Even though each paper in your file cabinet doesn’t need a name, every file in your computer does. A file name should be descriptive and may need to include: document title, creation date, author, version etc. You should be able to find the digital file you need without having to open it. (For those of you in the advanced course, you can also use metadata to tag your files…more on that later!)
Sometimes the amount of stuff in our digital life can seem overwhelming. But take it one piece at a time and before long you will have computer clutter under control!
Big thanks to Joshua Zerkel, Certified Professional Organizer® and owner of Custom Living Solutions in San Francisco, for writing the original article this newsletter is based off.
**Image by Flickr user psd, used via Creative Commons.