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

16 May 2019

The ART of Email Management – Action Items

If you’ve been hanging out with me for any amount of time you’ve probably heard me talk about the A.R.T of Email management. It’s my key to putting out inbox fires. Kind of like stop, drop, and roll is for regular fires! 

The A.R.T. theory can be explained as such: all email is either an Action item, a Reference item, or a Trash item. When you open up your inbox and its full of messages, take a quick moment to decide – what type of message is this? The answer will tell you what to do with it. 

Let’s start with Action Emails. These are the most important emails you receive because they’re the ones that require you to follow up. You have to do something because of that email. Maybe it’s read and respond, maybe it’s forward to someone else, or maybe you have to research a question. Either way, the next step is on you. 

So move those Action emails over to a Take Action folder where you know there are, and where they can’t get lost among the other emails you receive. But don’t forget about them! Out of sight requires you to check the folder regularly to make sure the follow up is not forgotten. You could also send the emails to your task list so they’re front and center.

Next time? Reference emails!

Need one on one help with your email? Ilios Digital Organizing can help!

Prefer video? Check out this info on Facebook!

9 May 2019

Are you ready to find your joy?

I was challenged to ‘find my joy’ the other day. I’ve been struggling with separating my self-worth from my work, trying to find reasons to get excited that weren’t tied to what I do for a living.

My marketing coach asked me what makes me happy, what brings me joy, and for a moment I was stumped. Organizing, obviously. Cats, of course. My family, sure. But what else? When I kept hemming and hawing, she challenged me to come up with 50 things that bring me joy.

So far I’m up to 18.

Work-life balance. Maybe not as great as I want it to be. 

But I’m working on it. 

It’s hard, though, to separate myself from my work. Organizing isn’t just what I do for a living, it’s what I do for fun in my personal time. So I’m having to find other things that also make me happy. And I’m trying to make sure I set aside time every day to do something – other than organizing – that brings me joy.

How about you? Are you taking time for yourself every day? Time to do something that brings you joy? Would getting more organized help you reclaim that time you need to pursue what makes you happy? If the answer is yes, schedule your Discovery Call today to get started.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go pet my cats and stream more Bosch Season 3.

18 April 2019

The Embarrassment of Too Many Photos

Way back in the day, we used to keep photos of our loved ones in our purse. When the time was right (or just when we wanted to brag), we’d pull out the little plastic holder and show off our family. Today we have cell phones with hundreds of photos. Photos of our loved ones, our breakfast, that funny looking cloud we saw last week above the water tower. Photos and photos and photos. 

Now when we want to brag about our loved ones we have to scroll and scroll, and scroll some more, to find that one picture you’re talking about. Meanwhile the other person is waiting, usually with that ‘any day now’ fake smile, for you to locate the photo of little Jimmy with the cat on his head.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had those photos organized so you could show off the photo you wanted, right when you wanted to? Imagine the time you would save, time you could spend reconnecting with your friend instead of scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.

I can make that happen!

When you’re done making excuses for why you can’t find the photo you want, and ready to access your photos ‘on demand’, let me know and we’ll talk about how.

11 April 2019

What are your reasons?

We’ve all been there. Even those of us who are usually organized get to the point where we stare at our jumbled files and computers and think, I need to do something about this.

But the question is why? Why do I need to do something about this?

In order to be more productive with our business, we get organized.
In order to find more time in our day, we get organized. 
In order to lower our stress levels, we get organized. 

And that’s what Ilios means. Ili is a Swahili word that means ‘ in order to’. Os stands for organizing solutions. Together they create Ilios – a company focused on getting you organized so you can have more time, less stress, and greater productivity.

What about you?

Why do you want to get organized? 

Let’s get together and talk about your ‘in order to’.

4 April 2019

App Review – Canva

Purpose: Canva offers individuals a way to design graphics and publish them. Designs range from Instagram post graphics to magazine covers, to desktop wallpaper and more.

Benefits: Canva provides a wide variety of designs you can build on or use as a jumping off point for your own creation. Even the free version has a lot of options to work with. The site also is a great source of design knowledge for beginners.

Cost: There is a free version; Canva for Work is $12.95/mo

Opinion: I’m not great at graphic design, and Canva lets me produce more professional looking graphics and images that I can then use for social media and other marketing material. I’ve used Canva for creating tip sheets, Instagram posts, and a lot of desktop wallpaper : ) So far, I have stuck with the free version, but there are benefits to the paid version, specifically the option to resize one graphic to meet other guidelines – taking an Instagram post and resizing it/optimizing it for Facebook. 

Ready to explore ways to increase your productivity?

28 March 2019

App Review – Dropbox

Dropbox logo

Purpose: Dropbox brings your files together, in one central place, syncing them across devices so you can access them anytime, anywhere. They also provide file sharing.

Benefits: Having a remote file management system like Dropbox is like having your own personal server – you can access your documents regardless of what device you are on. This is great for anyone using multiple devices or anyone who needs access to their documents outside the office. 

Cost: $0, $10, $20/mo

Opinion: Dropbox is great as a file sharing platform. Although they do offer some sharing, they don’t allow document collaboration in the same way Google Drive does. This is okay because it allows Dropbox to be pure file management and sharing.

I use Dropbox as a personal server, and its an immense boost to my productivity to be able to access my documents regardless of which computer or digital device I am on. I prefer Dropbox over Google Drive if you are just using it to store/manage files, although Google Drive does have the collaboration advantage. 

Interested in learning more about how Dropbox can work for you? Contact me!

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

16 May 2019

The ART of Email Management – Action Items

If you’ve been hanging out with me for any amount of time you’ve probably heard me talk about the A.R.T of Email management. It’s my key to putting out inbox fires. Kind of like stop, drop, and roll is for regular fires! 

The A.R.T. theory can be explained as such: all email is either an Action item, a Reference item, or a Trash item. When you open up your inbox and its full of messages, take a quick moment to decide – what type of message is this? The answer will tell you what to do with it. 

Let’s start with Action Emails. These are the most important emails you receive because they’re the ones that require you to follow up. You have to do something because of that email. Maybe it’s read and respond, maybe it’s forward to someone else, or maybe you have to research a question. Either way, the next step is on you. 

So move those Action emails over to a Take Action folder where you know there are, and where they can’t get lost among the other emails you receive. But don’t forget about them! Out of sight requires you to check the folder regularly to make sure the follow up is not forgotten. You could also send the emails to your task list so they’re front and center.

Next time? Reference emails!

Need one on one help with your email? Ilios Digital Organizing can help!

Prefer video? Check out this info on Facebook!

9 May 2019

Are you ready to find your joy?

I was challenged to ‘find my joy’ the other day. I’ve been struggling with separating my self-worth from my work, trying to find reasons to get excited that weren’t tied to what I do for a living.

My marketing coach asked me what makes me happy, what brings me joy, and for a moment I was stumped. Organizing, obviously. Cats, of course. My family, sure. But what else? When I kept hemming and hawing, she challenged me to come up with 50 things that bring me joy.

So far I’m up to 18.

Work-life balance. Maybe not as great as I want it to be. 

But I’m working on it. 

It’s hard, though, to separate myself from my work. Organizing isn’t just what I do for a living, it’s what I do for fun in my personal time. So I’m having to find other things that also make me happy. And I’m trying to make sure I set aside time every day to do something – other than organizing – that brings me joy.

How about you? Are you taking time for yourself every day? Time to do something that brings you joy? Would getting more organized help you reclaim that time you need to pursue what makes you happy? If the answer is yes, schedule your Discovery Call today to get started.

Meanwhile, I’m going to go pet my cats and stream more Bosch Season 3.

18 April 2019

The Embarrassment of Too Many Photos

Way back in the day, we used to keep photos of our loved ones in our purse. When the time was right (or just when we wanted to brag), we’d pull out the little plastic holder and show off our family. Today we have cell phones with hundreds of photos. Photos of our loved ones, our breakfast, that funny looking cloud we saw last week above the water tower. Photos and photos and photos. 

Now when we want to brag about our loved ones we have to scroll and scroll, and scroll some more, to find that one picture you’re talking about. Meanwhile the other person is waiting, usually with that ‘any day now’ fake smile, for you to locate the photo of little Jimmy with the cat on his head.

Wouldn’t it be great if you had those photos organized so you could show off the photo you wanted, right when you wanted to? Imagine the time you would save, time you could spend reconnecting with your friend instead of scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.

I can make that happen!

When you’re done making excuses for why you can’t find the photo you want, and ready to access your photos ‘on demand’, let me know and we’ll talk about how.

11 April 2019

What are your reasons?

We’ve all been there. Even those of us who are usually organized get to the point where we stare at our jumbled files and computers and think, I need to do something about this.

But the question is why? Why do I need to do something about this?

In order to be more productive with our business, we get organized.
In order to find more time in our day, we get organized. 
In order to lower our stress levels, we get organized. 

And that’s what Ilios means. Ili is a Swahili word that means ‘ in order to’. Os stands for organizing solutions. Together they create Ilios – a company focused on getting you organized so you can have more time, less stress, and greater productivity.

What about you?

Why do you want to get organized? 

Let’s get together and talk about your ‘in order to’.

4 April 2019

App Review – Canva

Purpose: Canva offers individuals a way to design graphics and publish them. Designs range from Instagram post graphics to magazine covers, to desktop wallpaper and more.

Benefits: Canva provides a wide variety of designs you can build on or use as a jumping off point for your own creation. Even the free version has a lot of options to work with. The site also is a great source of design knowledge for beginners.

Cost: There is a free version; Canva for Work is $12.95/mo

Opinion: I’m not great at graphic design, and Canva lets me produce more professional looking graphics and images that I can then use for social media and other marketing material. I’ve used Canva for creating tip sheets, Instagram posts, and a lot of desktop wallpaper : ) So far, I have stuck with the free version, but there are benefits to the paid version, specifically the option to resize one graphic to meet other guidelines – taking an Instagram post and resizing it/optimizing it for Facebook. 

Ready to explore ways to increase your productivity?

28 March 2019

App Review – Dropbox

Dropbox logo

Purpose: Dropbox brings your files together, in one central place, syncing them across devices so you can access them anytime, anywhere. They also provide file sharing.

Benefits: Having a remote file management system like Dropbox is like having your own personal server – you can access your documents regardless of what device you are on. This is great for anyone using multiple devices or anyone who needs access to their documents outside the office. 

Cost: $0, $10, $20/mo

Opinion: Dropbox is great as a file sharing platform. Although they do offer some sharing, they don’t allow document collaboration in the same way Google Drive does. This is okay because it allows Dropbox to be pure file management and sharing.

I use Dropbox as a personal server, and its an immense boost to my productivity to be able to access my documents regardless of which computer or digital device I am on. I prefer Dropbox over Google Drive if you are just using it to store/manage files, although Google Drive does have the collaboration advantage. 

Interested in learning more about how Dropbox can work for you? Contact me!