25 August 2020

Computer Cleanup Challenge – Bookmarks




Week 4: Digital Bookmarks

I’m as guilty as anyone else of bookmarking more than I need to. But it’s just so easy to click the little save button when you find something interesting. Browser bookmarks are a convenient way to keep track of those things you don’t have time to review now but don’t want to leave as an open tab.

(Hint, open tabs are too easily lost if you accidentally shut down your browser or your computer. )

But how many of us have a ginormous list of bookmarks, many of which we don’t even remember saving?

There’s an easy way to remedy that. Take 5 – 10 minute a day to go through your bookmark list. First, check to make sure the link is still valid. Then, determine if you are still interested in the information. As David Allen says, if you can read it through/review the site in two minutes or less, do it! Don’t forget to remove the bookmark once you’re done with the site. 

Need to save the bookmark for future reference? Find a way to store those ‘permanent’ bookmarks separate from the ‘still need to review this info’ bookmarks. Most browsers will allow you to organize your bookmarks into folders as a way of keeping things sorted out.  You could also use Evernote or OneNote as a bookmark reference tool.

You made it to the end of the challenge! Great job on sticking with it! If you joined us for the entire challenge this month I hope your computer is a bit more organized and things are easier to find. Has the increased organization led to greater productivity for you? More free time that you were spending looking for things?

If you want to take a more in-depth look at organizing your computer, you can let me know by signing up for a Discovery Conversation today! I’d love to chat about your organizing goals.

And as always, if you’d rather receive your udpates via email, then don’t forget to Sign up for the Ilios Digital Tips and Tricks newsletter!

18 August 2020

Computer Cleanup Challenge – Desktop/Downloads




Is your computer bogged down with too many icons and too many bookmarks? Are there files and documents everywhere but where you need them? Is all that junk getting in your way and slowing down your productivity? Maybe it’s time for a computer cleanup!

Join me this month as we clear away the clutter and streamline our computers!

Week 3: Desktop files and downloads folder

Congrats! You’ve made it halfway through the challenge! How has it been so far? Have you found it challenging to get your contacts organized or your email straightened out? How’s your productivity going with the increased organization?

Did you know that a cluttered desktop can lead to a slower performing computer? In addition, files that live on the desktop may not be syncing with iCloud or Dropbox or your backup software. Finally, without an organization plan, your desktop can get so cluttered that it is hard to find what you need.

This week, take 10 minutes a day to go through the files littering your computer desktop. Then, move the files to their more appropriate home. Once you’ve cleaned it off, make sure that you save new documents to a documents folder instead of on the desktop.

The downloads folder is an easy place to put things you may only need temporarily. But don’t forget to go through the folder once a week or so and clean out those documents you no longer need, or move the ones you want to keep to their permanent home.

Join us next week to talk about digital bookmarks!

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11 August 2020

Computer Cleanup Challenge – Email




Is your computer bogged down with too many icons and too many bookmarks? Are there files and documents everywhere but where you need them? Is all that junk getting in your way and slowing down your productivity? Maybe it’s time for a computer cleanup!

Join me this month as we clear away the clutter and streamline our computers!

Week 2: Email

If you have over 100 emails unread – you’re not alone!

To start the cleanup process, go through your inbox and mark all the emails as read. Then scan each email starting with the most recent.

Read the email once and decide right away – action item, reference item, trash item. Need details on how that all works? Check out the series I posted here about email management –

When cleaning up, tackle your email in 5 or 10 minute chunks – don’t allow email cleanup to monopolize your whole day. Remember, if an email is more than a month old, there’s probably no urgency with it.

Once you’ve got your email cleaned up, remember to tackle incoming email with the same question – action, reference, or trash. Asking the question, and acting on it, will help you stay on top of email clutter. 

Join us next week when we talk about maintaining a clean desktop. 

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9 May 2014

Digital excuses




Excuses and excuses for digital clutter

 

Do any of these excuses sound familiar?

  •  “I might need that someday!”
  •  “I could use that again if I started doing such-and-such.”
  •  “It’s worth so much money, I can’t just get rid of it.”
  •  “But so-and-so gave that to me, and I don’t want to hurt their feelings.”
  •  “That’s what I have to remember so-and-so by!”
  •  “I like it, I just don’t have a place to put it yet. But when I move…”

digital disorganization

We often use the same excuses in the digital world that we do in the “physical stuff” realm.

What other excuses do you have for hanging on to digital items you might no longer need?

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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