Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

12 May 2013

Digital Hoarding

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.

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Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

23 January 2020

Papers – What to keep and what to toss

I still have my original birth certificate and social security card. They’re both worn with age and tucked away safely until needed. My old pay stubs from working at the bookstore? Those were tossed years ago along with old birthday cards from school friends. Grad school papers on my computer? Yep, still got those. Receipts from four years ago? Those are on my computer as well. 

However, holding on to things only increases the amount of clutter in your office and home. So what are you supposed to do? You can’t, and shouldn’t, keep everything. But how are you to know what stays and what goes?
It can be hard to know what to keep and what to let go of when it comes to your paperwork, especially when you are talking about digital documents. Yes, you could hang on to digital files longer since they appear to take up less space. But the question becomes, do you need to?  

Continue Reading
16 January 2020

First Choice, Last Step

Starting an organizing project? Got your eye on some pretty boxes and bins down at the Container Store? 

Wait!

Buying storage and organizing containers – bins and boxes and more – shouldn’t be your first step when it comes time to get organized. Instead, save that step till last. After all, how do you know what you need (containers) until you know what you have (stuff)?

Interested in more tips on organizing? Make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter! http://eepurl.com/gO8xJz

6 November 2019

Managing Tech/Life Balance

Look up the effect technology is having on our lives and chances are you’ll see this cartoon. It’s decrying how much time we spend on our devices, even when we’re with each other.

But why is that so bad? This picture is me and my husband nearly every night. After supper, we sit down in the living room and play on our computer (him), work (me), and watch TV together (kinda). And even though we spend a lot of time focused on our screens, we still talk…because we’re together, not off in our separate offices staring at our screens alone.

Is that a good example of tech/ life balance? Or is all tech bad when you’re with other people? Does it depend on the activity you’re doing? I’d love to know what you think!

17 October 2019

How To Stay On Top Of Your List

Today was grocery shopping day. I’d made a list of meals we could have during the week, cross-referenced that with a list of things I needed to get at the store, and off I went. Having just moved, I’m in the gradual process of restocking things like baking essentials and condiments. I’m also in the process of testing out several different grocery stores, so it’s hard to remember what I’ve bought from where.

You would think having a grocery list to follow would eliminate any confusion about what I actually had in my cupboards but nope. Just like everyone else, there is the grocery list and then there is all the other things you pick up that you forgot you needed. Do I have the sliced cheese I need for BBQ sliders? Probably not, because I didn’t like the options at Kroger. Cooking oil for the brownies? I remember looking at it, but did I pick any up?

Our brains weren’t designed to hold everything in memory, and it’s easy to forget what you’ve done or didn’t do. Email is like that too. You’ll be in the middle of writing an email to a colleague when you suddenly wonder…did I send a follow-up email to that prospective client last week? Then it’s back to the inbox to search for their email. Or back into your sent items to scan and scan and scan to see if you can find the reply. 

But instead of anxiety about not knowing if you’ve followed up or not, what if you could check your Waiting folder and quickly find out the status of your conversation? What if you had dealt with the prospective client email when it arrived? There’s an easier way to manage your email, and it’s through action folders and follow up folders.

Interested in learning more? Sign up for my newsletter to find out when my Inbox Detox self-study course goes live in November!

 http://eepurl.com/cxQtvr

(For the record, I now have a lot of sliced cheese and still no cooking oil)

10 October 2019

How to handle record-breaking email

It’s fair season here in North Texas and the newsman tonight reported that the Grand Champion steer sold for a record $155,000. It was a good looking cow, objectively speaking, all creamy yellow and doe-eyed.  Was it worth $155,000? Who knows. I couldn’t tell you if that was an impressive number or not – cows aren’t my thing. 

But email is my thing. I’ve seen unread counts of 70, 700, even 70,000. That last one might have been close to record-breaking email – although I’d bet someone can beat it. It seems everywhere I go, someone has a higher unread count than the last person I’ve talked to. When I ask them ‘how do you feel about that?’, most people shrug and say it’s just life, probably won’t ever be any different.

They’re wrong. It doesn’t matter how high your unread email count is, you can get your email under control and keep it that way. Yes, it takes a little work, but it is doable. The first step is accepting that you’re never going to read all those unread messages. Chances are, you’ve read some of them already using your phone or tablet.

Interested in more tips to get your inbox under control? I’m going to be offering an Inbox Detox self-study course starting in November. Make sure you’re on my mailing list to get all the details! (Hint, sign up here: http://eepurl.com/cxQtvr )    

8 August 2019

Organizing to Fight Anxiety

Anti-anxiety meds and organization have more in common than you would think.

I used to be a nervous wreck – stressed out about everything, constantly second-guessing and wondering if I was making the right decisions or saying the right things. Heaven forbid if a major disaster or life change came along and amped everything up to 11. 

But now I take pills to manage my anxiety. Sanity savers, I call them, and they really do help me keep control of my life. Somebody once told me that anti-anxiety pills help us manage the day to day things so that when the major issues come along, we’ve got the bandwidth or energy to deal with them.

Organizing works the same way. Having an organized workspace, an organized life, seems to make things flow smoother. Makes getting things done a little easier. You stress less about missing documents, or too many emails, or getting out of the office on time.

And when everything is humming along as it should, you’ve got the energy for that last-minute client request or that project deadline that just got moved up by two days.

So how is your day going? Could you use a little organization to make it easier? Ilios Digital can help! Schedule your Discovery Call and we can get started today!

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

23 January 2020

Papers – What to keep and what to toss

I still have my original birth certificate and social security card. They’re both worn with age and tucked away safely until needed. My old pay stubs from working at the bookstore? Those were tossed years ago along with old birthday cards from school friends. Grad school papers on my computer? Yep, still got those. Receipts from four years ago? Those are on my computer as well. 

However, holding on to things only increases the amount of clutter in your office and home. So what are you supposed to do? You can’t, and shouldn’t, keep everything. But how are you to know what stays and what goes?
It can be hard to know what to keep and what to let go of when it comes to your paperwork, especially when you are talking about digital documents. Yes, you could hang on to digital files longer since they appear to take up less space. But the question becomes, do you need to?  

Read More

16 January 2020

First Choice, Last Step

Starting an organizing project? Got your eye on some pretty boxes and bins down at the Container Store? 

Wait!

Buying storage and organizing containers – bins and boxes and more – shouldn’t be your first step when it comes time to get organized. Instead, save that step till last. After all, how do you know what you need (containers) until you know what you have (stuff)?

Interested in more tips on organizing? Make sure you’re signed up for my newsletter! http://eepurl.com/gO8xJz

6 November 2019

Managing Tech/Life Balance

Look up the effect technology is having on our lives and chances are you’ll see this cartoon. It’s decrying how much time we spend on our devices, even when we’re with each other.

But why is that so bad? This picture is me and my husband nearly every night. After supper, we sit down in the living room and play on our computer (him), work (me), and watch TV together (kinda). And even though we spend a lot of time focused on our screens, we still talk…because we’re together, not off in our separate offices staring at our screens alone.

Is that a good example of tech/ life balance? Or is all tech bad when you’re with other people? Does it depend on the activity you’re doing? I’d love to know what you think!

17 October 2019

How To Stay On Top Of Your List

Today was grocery shopping day. I’d made a list of meals we could have during the week, cross-referenced that with a list of things I needed to get at the store, and off I went. Having just moved, I’m in the gradual process of restocking things like baking essentials and condiments. I’m also in the process of testing out several different grocery stores, so it’s hard to remember what I’ve bought from where.

You would think having a grocery list to follow would eliminate any confusion about what I actually had in my cupboards but nope. Just like everyone else, there is the grocery list and then there is all the other things you pick up that you forgot you needed. Do I have the sliced cheese I need for BBQ sliders? Probably not, because I didn’t like the options at Kroger. Cooking oil for the brownies? I remember looking at it, but did I pick any up?

Our brains weren’t designed to hold everything in memory, and it’s easy to forget what you’ve done or didn’t do. Email is like that too. You’ll be in the middle of writing an email to a colleague when you suddenly wonder…did I send a follow-up email to that prospective client last week? Then it’s back to the inbox to search for their email. Or back into your sent items to scan and scan and scan to see if you can find the reply. 

But instead of anxiety about not knowing if you’ve followed up or not, what if you could check your Waiting folder and quickly find out the status of your conversation? What if you had dealt with the prospective client email when it arrived? There’s an easier way to manage your email, and it’s through action folders and follow up folders.

Interested in learning more? Sign up for my newsletter to find out when my Inbox Detox self-study course goes live in November!

 http://eepurl.com/cxQtvr

(For the record, I now have a lot of sliced cheese and still no cooking oil)

10 October 2019

How to handle record-breaking email

It’s fair season here in North Texas and the newsman tonight reported that the Grand Champion steer sold for a record $155,000. It was a good looking cow, objectively speaking, all creamy yellow and doe-eyed.  Was it worth $155,000? Who knows. I couldn’t tell you if that was an impressive number or not – cows aren’t my thing. 

But email is my thing. I’ve seen unread counts of 70, 700, even 70,000. That last one might have been close to record-breaking email – although I’d bet someone can beat it. It seems everywhere I go, someone has a higher unread count than the last person I’ve talked to. When I ask them ‘how do you feel about that?’, most people shrug and say it’s just life, probably won’t ever be any different.

They’re wrong. It doesn’t matter how high your unread email count is, you can get your email under control and keep it that way. Yes, it takes a little work, but it is doable. The first step is accepting that you’re never going to read all those unread messages. Chances are, you’ve read some of them already using your phone or tablet.

Interested in more tips to get your inbox under control? I’m going to be offering an Inbox Detox self-study course starting in November. Make sure you’re on my mailing list to get all the details! (Hint, sign up here: http://eepurl.com/cxQtvr )    

8 August 2019

Organizing to Fight Anxiety

Anti-anxiety meds and organization have more in common than you would think.

I used to be a nervous wreck – stressed out about everything, constantly second-guessing and wondering if I was making the right decisions or saying the right things. Heaven forbid if a major disaster or life change came along and amped everything up to 11. 

But now I take pills to manage my anxiety. Sanity savers, I call them, and they really do help me keep control of my life. Somebody once told me that anti-anxiety pills help us manage the day to day things so that when the major issues come along, we’ve got the bandwidth or energy to deal with them.

Organizing works the same way. Having an organized workspace, an organized life, seems to make things flow smoother. Makes getting things done a little easier. You stress less about missing documents, or too many emails, or getting out of the office on time.

And when everything is humming along as it should, you’ve got the energy for that last-minute client request or that project deadline that just got moved up by two days.

So how is your day going? Could you use a little organization to make it easier? Ilios Digital can help! Schedule your Discovery Call and we can get started today!