Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

13 May 2020

Paper Vs. Digital – Which is easier to organize?

Paper documents and digital documents. You’ll find organizers who specialize in one or the other, but is organizing paper really that different from organizing digital files? When it comes down to it, many of the same principles apply to both formats. After all, you are organizing information, regardless of the form it is in. So what is the same? 

Organizing Method: How you organize – by topic, alphabetical, chronological – depends on the type of information you are working with as well as your personal preferences. I have one client that organizes information about her car under the heading ‘Acura’ and ‘Acura maintenance’. Another client uses ‘Car’ and ‘Car Maintenance’. Both are valid choices. 

Naming Conventions: The name you use on your file can make a huge difference in how easy it is to find again. I have lots of information about organizing in Evernote (as you would expect). To make sure it all sorts together I’ve used specific names for each notebook – Organizing – Photos, Organizing – Workflow, Organizing – Basics, etc. I’ve done this same type of setup for a client’s physical files – Labs 2010-2015, Labs 2005-2009

Records Retention: All documents have a ‘shelf life’ for how long you need to keep them in your system. Those house documents need to stay until you’ve sold the house, if not for several years after. Your pay stubs can be shredded after your correct W-2 comes through at tax time. These retention guidelines apply regardless of the form of information. 

So what’s different when you are working with paper rather than digital information? 

Searching: I’ve had many frustrating moments searching through a client’s physical files for a particular document that I could have located quickly using the search function in Evernote or on my computer.  Why retirement documents ended up in financial statements is beyond me when there was a folder specifically for retirement papers.

With physical files, in particular, I recommend clients always go with their first instinct when filing something. If your first thought is that the car insurance receipt goes under Insurance, we’ll go with that because when it comes time to search, chances are that is the first place you’ll look. With digital search it is easier because many programs these days will search within a document as well as looking at the file name. Although having good naming conventions is always a good first step!

Filing location: A physical file can only exist in one location. If you have a reservation form for the car rental place you can either put it in receipts or in vacation 2019, but not both. In a digital system, you can apply tags or metadata that allow us to find all vacation 2019 documents, regardless of where you had originally filed them. 

Organizing your paper and digital files require most of the same principles, with a few notable exceptions. How about your files? Are they in order? Can you find what you need when you need it? I can help with that! 

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Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

25 June 2020

Time for a clean sweep!

It’s time for a clean sweep! (anyone else remember that show on TLC?)

Grab your phone, set aside ten minutes, and go through your apps. Find those keeper apps, the ones you can’t live without, then start eliminating the ‘maybe’ apps or the ‘why did I download this in the first place?’ apps. You’d be surprised at how many of those are cluttering up your phone!

Create new folders if necessary to corral your apps. Once you’ve done your clean sweep, take just one more moment to clean off your phone and case.

Now you’re clean, organized, and ready to go!

11 June 2020

Download and delete

Have you checked your downloads folder lately?

This is where your computer usually saves items downloaded from the Internet such as installs for programs, images, documents, etc. Anything you click on to download usually ends up here.

A regular cleaning of this folder will help free up space on your computer, but it will also make it easier to find new things you download – saving you time!

Is there junk in your folder that can go away?

22 May 2020

My ‘Can’t Live Without It’ Software List

It’s a digital world out there. To survive and thrive, we need to utilize software. Today, I want to take you behind the scenes of my business to show you the software I rely on every day.

Evernote – my second brain. Everything I need to know about anything, and what I think about it, lives here.

Dropbox – all my documents live in Dropbox – both personal and professional. The best part of Dropbox is I can access my documents regardless of what device I am on.

Insightly – my CRM. This is where I keep all my client information so I know who to contact when.

Chrome – usually my first choice for a browser. When it’s not, then I turn to Firefox.

GSuite – essential for email, calendar, and contact management. I recommend this to anyone who wants a professional email with the ease of a Google interface.

QuickBooks Online – this is where I manage my business finances.

MailChimp – my email marketing software, what I use to send my newsletters and mailings. 

All of this software is web based, although Evernote and Dropbox also live on my computer. I have a paid account for everything on the list except for MailChimp – their free version is robust enough for my current needs. 

How about you? What software is on your ‘can’t live without’ list? Let me know! I’m always looking for new software solutions to explore!

13 May 2020

Paper Vs. Digital – Which is easier to organize?

Paper documents and digital documents. You’ll find organizers who specialize in one or the other, but is organizing paper really that different from organizing digital files? When it comes down to it, many of the same principles apply to both formats. After all, you are organizing information, regardless of the form it is in. So what is the same? 

Continue Reading
6 May 2020

App Review – Airtable

Purpose: Airtable has been called a spreadsheet on steroids. It is a hybrid spreadsheet and database tool that provides you a place to store and organize your data. Airtable allows you to make relational databases – pulling information from one database into another without having to open the first. It’s a powerful way to manage your information. People are using Airtable for everything from CRMs to project management to content calendars and more. 

Benefits: Entering data in Airtable is as simple as using a spreadsheet, but you can organize your data in a variety of ways – grid, Kanban, form, gallery view, etc. This means you can sort and view your data in a way that works for you. Airtable also integrates with a wide variety of apps, including Zapier. Although you can use Airtable for both numerical data and other information, doing calculations and ‘math stuff’ is more straightforward in a traditional spreadsheet like Excel.

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

Opinion: I love Airtable, but don’t actually use it right now! Because I wanted to review it for you, I asked my colleague Kate Bosch of katebosch.org her opinion on the software. She’s a regular user of Airtable and was gracious enough to let us know what she thinks.

“I love a good spreadsheet! When I started my professional organizing business, I set up my information using spreadsheets because that’s the way I’ve always done it throughout my varied careers. I have spreadsheets to track accounting, education, client sessions, social media, and more. I was recently introduced to Airtable and have started to use it to organize my information, both by creating new bases (That’s Airtable’s shorthand for “database.”) and converting some of my old-fashioned spreadsheets to Airtable bases.

What I love about Airtable is that it combines the familiar spreadsheet format with the robust features of a database. I can easily connect information between sheets, add attachments, create fillable forms, and view the information in a variety of formats. There’s a small learning curve and I have yet to explore all the features Airtable has to offer, but it’s easy to set up a base and start using it and then add to it as you learn more.”  ~Kate

Interested in learning more about organizing your digital information? Make sure you’re susbscribed to the Ilios Digital newsletter!

Sign up now!

23 April 2020

Check and go!

Trying to Get Things Done but don’t know where to start? Check over your to-do list for those 2-minute tasks. If you can get it done in two minutes or less, do it now! Then check it off and move on to the next task.

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

25 June 2020

Time for a clean sweep!

It’s time for a clean sweep! (anyone else remember that show on TLC?)

Grab your phone, set aside ten minutes, and go through your apps. Find those keeper apps, the ones you can’t live without, then start eliminating the ‘maybe’ apps or the ‘why did I download this in the first place?’ apps. You’d be surprised at how many of those are cluttering up your phone!

Create new folders if necessary to corral your apps. Once you’ve done your clean sweep, take just one more moment to clean off your phone and case.

Now you’re clean, organized, and ready to go!

11 June 2020

Download and delete

Have you checked your downloads folder lately?

This is where your computer usually saves items downloaded from the Internet such as installs for programs, images, documents, etc. Anything you click on to download usually ends up here.

A regular cleaning of this folder will help free up space on your computer, but it will also make it easier to find new things you download – saving you time!

Is there junk in your folder that can go away?

22 May 2020

My ‘Can’t Live Without It’ Software List

It’s a digital world out there. To survive and thrive, we need to utilize software. Today, I want to take you behind the scenes of my business to show you the software I rely on every day.

Evernote – my second brain. Everything I need to know about anything, and what I think about it, lives here.

Dropbox – all my documents live in Dropbox – both personal and professional. The best part of Dropbox is I can access my documents regardless of what device I am on.

Insightly – my CRM. This is where I keep all my client information so I know who to contact when.

Chrome – usually my first choice for a browser. When it’s not, then I turn to Firefox.

GSuite – essential for email, calendar, and contact management. I recommend this to anyone who wants a professional email with the ease of a Google interface.

QuickBooks Online – this is where I manage my business finances.

MailChimp – my email marketing software, what I use to send my newsletters and mailings. 

All of this software is web based, although Evernote and Dropbox also live on my computer. I have a paid account for everything on the list except for MailChimp – their free version is robust enough for my current needs. 

How about you? What software is on your ‘can’t live without’ list? Let me know! I’m always looking for new software solutions to explore!

13 May 2020

Paper Vs. Digital – Which is easier to organize?

Paper documents and digital documents. You’ll find organizers who specialize in one or the other, but is organizing paper really that different from organizing digital files? When it comes down to it, many of the same principles apply to both formats. After all, you are organizing information, regardless of the form it is in. So what is the same? 

Read More

6 May 2020

App Review – Airtable

Purpose: Airtable has been called a spreadsheet on steroids. It is a hybrid spreadsheet and database tool that provides you a place to store and organize your data. Airtable allows you to make relational databases – pulling information from one database into another without having to open the first. It’s a powerful way to manage your information. People are using Airtable for everything from CRMs to project management to content calendars and more. 

Benefits: Entering data in Airtable is as simple as using a spreadsheet, but you can organize your data in a variety of ways – grid, Kanban, form, gallery view, etc. This means you can sort and view your data in a way that works for you. Airtable also integrates with a wide variety of apps, including Zapier. Although you can use Airtable for both numerical data and other information, doing calculations and ‘math stuff’ is more straightforward in a traditional spreadsheet like Excel.

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

Opinion: I love Airtable, but don’t actually use it right now! Because I wanted to review it for you, I asked my colleague Kate Bosch of katebosch.org her opinion on the software. She’s a regular user of Airtable and was gracious enough to let us know what she thinks.

“I love a good spreadsheet! When I started my professional organizing business, I set up my information using spreadsheets because that’s the way I’ve always done it throughout my varied careers. I have spreadsheets to track accounting, education, client sessions, social media, and more. I was recently introduced to Airtable and have started to use it to organize my information, both by creating new bases (That’s Airtable’s shorthand for “database.”) and converting some of my old-fashioned spreadsheets to Airtable bases.

What I love about Airtable is that it combines the familiar spreadsheet format with the robust features of a database. I can easily connect information between sheets, add attachments, create fillable forms, and view the information in a variety of formats. There’s a small learning curve and I have yet to explore all the features Airtable has to offer, but it’s easy to set up a base and start using it and then add to it as you learn more.”  ~Kate

Interested in learning more about organizing your digital information? Make sure you’re susbscribed to the Ilios Digital newsletter!

Sign up now!

23 April 2020

Check and go!

Trying to Get Things Done but don’t know where to start? Check over your to-do list for those 2-minute tasks. If you can get it done in two minutes or less, do it now! Then check it off and move on to the next task.