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

6 July 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World -pt. 3 Staying Organized

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!

25 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – pt. 2 Getting Organized

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!
13 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – Getting Started

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…
Continue Reading
21 May 2018

Tech to Go

What’s in Your Bag?

We carry all sorts of things in our purses. Gum, chapstick, wallet, Matchbox cars, old receipts, Tylenol, you get the picture. Your phone is another essential item, but do you keep any other tech gadgets in your bag?  Any items you consider a ‘must have’? As a tech type of girl, I tend to carry a few essentials with me that the average person might not consider, especially in my work bag or when I’m using my computer. So what do I consider essential? Let’s start small.
Continue Reading
4 May 2018

Creating a minimalist workspace

 

In a recent post on Unclutterer Leo Babauta of Zen Habits  has some great advice for minimalism for those of us with a stationary office.  But what about those of us with a mobile office? Or those who regularly use a co-working space to conduct business? You can still apply these principles, with just a little tweaking.
So how do you maintain a minimalist workspace?
Continue Reading
9 April 2018

Keeping your contacts safe

Everyone knows I’m all about backing up your data. But have you backed up your contacts lately?
Your contact list is a highly valued item for an entrepreneur. The first step to being organized is to make sure that all of your contacts are in one place – or attached to one ‘account’. This step includes making sure that contacts, especially new contacts, aren’t being saved to your phone but rather that cloud based account.

 

Once you are organized, you can back up your contacts. If you are using Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook.com,  or Apple Contacts, there should be a menu option that says ‘export’ or ‘export contacts’. Choose to export them in a CSV file.

 

Now that you’ve got the CSV file exported to a safe place (the cloud or as part of your online backup), it’s time to rename it. Most files come as contacts.csv which means nothing when you’re looking for a specific backup. Instead, rename the file with the date and ‘Contacts Backup’. Finally, make sure the file is included in your online backup. Depending on how often you add contacts to your list, backing them up doesn’t need to be more than a quarterly or twice a year task.

 

Having a CSV file of your contacts can come in handy when it’s time to import contacts to a new CRM, mailing service, or other software!

 

Need help organizing or backing up your contacts? Call me and we’ll do it together!

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

6 July 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World -pt. 3 Staying Organized

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!

25 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – pt. 2 Getting Organized

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!

13 June 2018

S.P.A.C.E Organizing in a Digital World – Getting Started

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…
Read More

21 May 2018

Tech to Go

What’s in Your Bag?

We carry all sorts of things in our purses. Gum, chapstick, wallet, Matchbox cars, old receipts, Tylenol, you get the picture. Your phone is another essential item, but do you keep any other tech gadgets in your bag?  Any items you consider a ‘must have’? As a tech type of girl, I tend to carry a few essentials with me that the average person might not consider, especially in my work bag or when I’m using my computer. So what do I consider essential? Let’s start small.
Read More

4 May 2018

Creating a minimalist workspace

 

In a recent post on Unclutterer Leo Babauta of Zen Habits  has some great advice for minimalism for those of us with a stationary office.  But what about those of us with a mobile office? Or those who regularly use a co-working space to conduct business? You can still apply these principles, with just a little tweaking.
So how do you maintain a minimalist workspace?
Read More

9 April 2018

Keeping your contacts safe

Everyone knows I’m all about backing up your data. But have you backed up your contacts lately?
Your contact list is a highly valued item for an entrepreneur. The first step to being organized is to make sure that all of your contacts are in one place – or attached to one ‘account’. This step includes making sure that contacts, especially new contacts, aren’t being saved to your phone but rather that cloud based account.

 

Once you are organized, you can back up your contacts. If you are using Gmail, Hotmail/Outlook.com,  or Apple Contacts, there should be a menu option that says ‘export’ or ‘export contacts’. Choose to export them in a CSV file.

 

Now that you’ve got the CSV file exported to a safe place (the cloud or as part of your online backup), it’s time to rename it. Most files come as contacts.csv which means nothing when you’re looking for a specific backup. Instead, rename the file with the date and ‘Contacts Backup’. Finally, make sure the file is included in your online backup. Depending on how often you add contacts to your list, backing them up doesn’t need to be more than a quarterly or twice a year task.

 

Having a CSV file of your contacts can come in handy when it’s time to import contacts to a new CRM, mailing service, or other software!

 

Need help organizing or backing up your contacts? Call me and we’ll do it together!