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.

Categories

Archives

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

13 June 2019

Why Inbox Zero Worries is better than Inbox Zero

You’ve heard of Inbox Zero, right?

It’s the philosophy of getting your email inbox all cleaned out, zero emails. It’s a great goal, one that a lot of people strive for. Strive and then are disappointed when they can’t reach it. Because to be honest, I think Inbox Zero isn’t realistic for the majority of us.

Picture this. You work and work and work and finally achieve the holy grail of Inbox Zero. You step away from the computer to get a celebratory drink of something tasty and when you return…you have four new emails.

So much for Inbox Zero.

What if instead of trying to get down to zero emails in your inbox, you got to a place where you spent zero time worrying about email? 

Imagine this – you go to your inbox and find a handful of new emails. 
Two minutes later you’ve got them sorted, filed, and ready to be followed up with. You check your Waiting folder to see who is still outstanding, then continue on with your workday. No more worrying about emails getting lost below the fold. No more stressing, wondering if you actually followed up with someone.

Zero worries. Carefree as a child.

It can happen!

If you’re ready to stop worrying about your email and start enjoying the time you’ve reclaimed, Ilios Digital can get you there. Schedule your Discovery Call today and let’s take you to Inbox Zero Worries!

6 June 2019

Delayed Decisions Lead to Clutter

My husband takes off his socks at night when we’re sitting in the living room playing on our computers and pretending to watch TV.  No big deal, right? Except for the next three days, both of us will walk past those lonely white socks four or five times a day and still, the socks stay where they fell.

Email is like this too. We get a new action email, read it – and decide it would only take a few minutes to complete – then leave it in our inbox while we wander off to do something else. We come back to our email how many times a day, re-read that action message, but still leave it undone until ‘later’. Well, later comes with twenty other action emails waiting for your attention. 

What would have happened if you had taken 2 minutes to respond to the email instead of putting it off till later? Probably the same thing that would have happened if my husband had taken 2 minutes to pick up his socks and put them away.

Less clutter.

Our delayed decisions lead to clutter – both in your inbox and in your living room. David Allen of Getting Things Done says if you have a task that will only take a couple of minutes, you should complete the task then, don’t put it off till ‘later’. Doing those two-minute tasks right away is another way to keep your inbox under control. Sure, some action emails require more effort but don’t ignore those two-minute tasks. 

Too many emails to tackle on your own? Let me know! Ilios Digital Organizing offers an Inbox Detox program that can get you back on track.

30 May 2019

The ART of Email Management – Next Steps

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. 

Trash emails are just what you’d expect – spam, coupons and ads, and those networking newsletters. You know the ones. You can’t unsubscribe because you might hurt someone’s feelings, but you have no interest in the contents. Hit the delete button the first time you encounter these trash emails. Don’t waste time going back and re-reading them a second time. 

The best way to stay on top of your inbox? Be diligent about making a choice the first time you read an email. Decide right away, action email or not? If not an action email, then reference email or trash? Move the email to the correct folder and go to the next email on the list. Clutter is delayed decisions, and the more times you delay acting, the more your email is going to pile up. 

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

23 May 2019

The ART of Email Management – Reference

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. 

Reference emails are full of interesting information, but nothing that requires you to take action. These are your newsletters, pictures of your sister’s dog, and the bylaws of your professional organization. Read these the first time you open them, then move the keepers over to a reference folder. 

These are great emails to set on a filter. Have them skip the inbox and go directly to their reference folder. Then, you can read them when you have time. By skipping the inbox, you avoid distractions from those important action items.

Next time? Trash emails and next steps!

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

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.

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

13 June 2019

Why Inbox Zero Worries is better than Inbox Zero

You’ve heard of Inbox Zero, right?

It’s the philosophy of getting your email inbox all cleaned out, zero emails. It’s a great goal, one that a lot of people strive for. Strive and then are disappointed when they can’t reach it. Because to be honest, I think Inbox Zero isn’t realistic for the majority of us.

Picture this. You work and work and work and finally achieve the holy grail of Inbox Zero. You step away from the computer to get a celebratory drink of something tasty and when you return…you have four new emails.

So much for Inbox Zero.

What if instead of trying to get down to zero emails in your inbox, you got to a place where you spent zero time worrying about email? 

Imagine this – you go to your inbox and find a handful of new emails. 
Two minutes later you’ve got them sorted, filed, and ready to be followed up with. You check your Waiting folder to see who is still outstanding, then continue on with your workday. No more worrying about emails getting lost below the fold. No more stressing, wondering if you actually followed up with someone.

Zero worries. Carefree as a child.

It can happen!

If you’re ready to stop worrying about your email and start enjoying the time you’ve reclaimed, Ilios Digital can get you there. Schedule your Discovery Call today and let’s take you to Inbox Zero Worries!

6 June 2019

Delayed Decisions Lead to Clutter

My husband takes off his socks at night when we’re sitting in the living room playing on our computers and pretending to watch TV.  No big deal, right? Except for the next three days, both of us will walk past those lonely white socks four or five times a day and still, the socks stay where they fell.

Email is like this too. We get a new action email, read it – and decide it would only take a few minutes to complete – then leave it in our inbox while we wander off to do something else. We come back to our email how many times a day, re-read that action message, but still leave it undone until ‘later’. Well, later comes with twenty other action emails waiting for your attention. 

What would have happened if you had taken 2 minutes to respond to the email instead of putting it off till later? Probably the same thing that would have happened if my husband had taken 2 minutes to pick up his socks and put them away.

Less clutter.

Our delayed decisions lead to clutter – both in your inbox and in your living room. David Allen of Getting Things Done says if you have a task that will only take a couple of minutes, you should complete the task then, don’t put it off till ‘later’. Doing those two-minute tasks right away is another way to keep your inbox under control. Sure, some action emails require more effort but don’t ignore those two-minute tasks. 

Too many emails to tackle on your own? Let me know! Ilios Digital Organizing offers an Inbox Detox program that can get you back on track.

30 May 2019

The ART of Email Management – Next Steps

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. 

Trash emails are just what you’d expect – spam, coupons and ads, and those networking newsletters. You know the ones. You can’t unsubscribe because you might hurt someone’s feelings, but you have no interest in the contents. Hit the delete button the first time you encounter these trash emails. Don’t waste time going back and re-reading them a second time. 

The best way to stay on top of your inbox? Be diligent about making a choice the first time you read an email. Decide right away, action email or not? If not an action email, then reference email or trash? Move the email to the correct folder and go to the next email on the list. Clutter is delayed decisions, and the more times you delay acting, the more your email is going to pile up. 

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

23 May 2019

The ART of Email Management – Reference

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. 

Reference emails are full of interesting information, but nothing that requires you to take action. These are your newsletters, pictures of your sister’s dog, and the bylaws of your professional organization. Read these the first time you open them, then move the keepers over to a reference folder. 

These are great emails to set on a filter. Have them skip the inbox and go directly to their reference folder. Then, you can read them when you have time. By skipping the inbox, you avoid distractions from those important action items.

Next time? Trash emails and next steps!

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

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.