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!

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Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

13 January 2021

Do you have a digital storage unit?

For those of us in the digital world, external hard drives and extra USB keys full of old documents equate to a packed storage unit. Many of us use an external drive as a backup drive – utilizing Time Machine or Windows Backup. But what about all those drives that are sitting on our shelf, collecting dust, full of documents we’ve forgotten about? It might be time to review and weed, then purge the files you no longer need.

Don’t worry – you don’t need to sort everything in one day! Just take it one file folder at a time. If you want help, call me up – I love file organizing! Schedule your Discovery Conversation and we’ll take it from there.

Prefer to get these tips via email? Sign up for the list today!

15 December 2020

4 Things to Do Before 2021

It’s that time of the year again – time for lists and recollections. Who made the Billboard charts? What were the most newsworthy events? How many different types of bread can you make now? (I can do banana bread, does that count?) What did you listen to on Spotify? That sort of thing.

But instead of looking back at what you’ve done so far, I’m looking ahead to what you can accomplish before 2021 starts. There’s always a big push to get organized at the beginning of the new year – how many times have you put ‘get organized’ on your resolution list – but why not start now?

Today, I wanted to give you a head start on being organized for the new year. Below are four things you can do now to start 2021 off on the right foot. 

  1. Clear off your desktop. Yes, this means your digital desktop as well as your physical desktop. It’s time to get rid of all those temporary downloads you read then forgot to discard, those early versions of your client retention form, and all the various files that accumulate on your desktop. Find a home for the ones you want to keep and discard the rest. Starting off clean may encourage you to keep it that way in the new year.
  2. Weed and purge your phone photos. We all take throwaway pictures – images of a receipt, or a shelf code at the grocery store, or that accidental picture of your feet. Now is the time to scan thru your photo roll and discard those throwaway images. While you’re doing that, keep an eye out for any duplicates that you can narrow down to a single photo. This is an easy task to take care of when you’re waiting in line at the store or sitting on the couch watching reruns.
  3. Update your device. Is your tech up to date on the latest operating system, upgrades, etc? Many of these updates include important safety patches or features. Even if your device is set to automatically update, that might not be enough. If you haven’t restarted your device recently, do so now. There are some updates and changes that require a restart to implement. 
  4. Start your online backup. If you don’t already have your documents, photos, etc. backed up, now is the time to get that process started. There’s no reason to avoid online backup – and it’s cheap for the peace of mind it brings. Don’t wait till there is a disaster to get prepared. For online backup I recommend either BackBlaze or Carbonite. 

Once you’re done with these four steps, take a moment to relax with a cup of cocoa or other holiday beverage. You’re off to a great start!

Have questions about what to do first? Need help with any of the steps? Let me know and we can work on it together! Would you rather receive this information in your inbox? Sign up for my newsletter!

17 November 2020

4 Things to Know About Protecting Your Documents

If you’ve been hanging around with me for any amount of time, you’ve heard me talk about the importance of backing up your documents. It makes sense – you’ve taken the time to create the document, it probably holds important information, and chances are, there’s only one copy of it.

Disaster can strike anytime in the form of a computer crash or accidental deletion. Not to mention fire, theft, flood, viruses, etc. And I’m not just talking about digital documents here. Our vital records – marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc. – are usually on paper and are just as susceptible to damage. So what can you do to protect yourself? Below are four things to know when it comes to protecting your documents: 

  1. Scan in your vital documents if they are in paper format. Yes, you most often need the actual physical documents when you have to produce it, but sometimes a digital copy works and it helps to have a copy of the original document in case of destruction. If you don’t have a flatbed type scanner, there are apps like Adobe Scan you can use with your phone.
  2. Remember the 3, 2, 1 philosophy. Back up three different copies of your documents, in two different places, at least one of which is off-site. It sounds like a lot, but remember that your original is one copy, back up another copy using online backup  (Carbonite or BackBlaze), then have another copy saved on an external hard drive. I have my working documents on my computer, in Dropbox, and backed up online. My vital documents are on my computer, backed up online using Crashplan, and backed up on an external hard drive. 
  3. Online sync programs like Dropbox and Google Drive are not the same as online backup programs like Carbonite or BackBlaze. Online sync is designed so you have access to your documents regardless of where you are. This is especially helpful if you are moving between computers or if you need to share documents with a spouse or work partner. Yes, some like Dropbox offer limited online backup/storage, but it’s a  max of 30 days which may not be enough time. We had a hiccup in our computers and lost documents and because they weren’t active working documents, it took us almost two months before we realized the documents were missing. 
  4. Finally, make sure you are using descriptive file names. Doc 1 and Doc 3 aren’t going to help you if you need to recover something from online backup. Take some now to purge those documents you no longer need so if you have to recover something, there is less ‘junk’ to sort through. 

If this is all new information for you, don’t worry! There’s no time like the present to start protecting your documents. My suggestion is to start by signing up with an online backup service. The first backup can take several days and while that is working, you can be scanning in vital documents and cleaning up your files.

Interested in some help with this whole process? Let me know and we can tackle it together! Schedule your Discovery Conversation today!

3 November 2020

Comparing apples to apples

Everyone loves choices. Plain Oreo’s or Double Stuff. Oranges or orange juice. Salad or brownies. (Let’s be honest, that last one isn’t really a choice).

Sometimes instead of an easy yes or no answer, there can be too many options to compare. Then you have to figure out, are you really comparing apples to apples? That’s a common question when looking at the big three online document management services – Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. 

All three offer online document sync, storage, and easy access to items when you need them. Google Drive will give you the most storage for free, true, but that storage is also spread out over your Gmail, Goggle photos and other Goggle services. So is it really such a bargain? OneDrive works seamlessly with Word and Excel documents, but what if you use Pages and Numbers on a Mac? Dropbox offers storage, but not document creation options.

When you’re making decisions about which online document sync service to go with, some questions you want to ask yourself include:

  • How much storage do you really need?
  • Are you willing to pay for storage, or do you only want a free option?
  • Are you planning to collaborate with people? More people use a Goggle account in comparison to either Microsoft or Dropbox.
  • Do you just want to store/access documents?
  • Do you want to create documents?

Figuring out which online document sync option to go with isn’t necessarily an apples to apples choice. For help with asking the right questions, and making a decision with less confusion, let’s talk! Schedule your Discovery Call today!

Prefer receiving this information in your inbox? Sign up for the Ilios Digital Tips and Tricks newsletter!

27 October 2020

Well of Lost Files

A follow up to last week’s question about where your old files are!

20 October 2020

It’s 10 pm, Do You Know Where Your Documents Are?

In the 70’s and 80’s there was a public service announcement (PSA) that would come on each night at 10 pm, right before the news. It would ask, in a serious voice, if you knew where your children were

The goal was to remind parents to keep their kids at home rather than let them wander the streets. I don’t know if it was effective or not, but the phrase has become part of our social history. And it got me thinking…it’s 10 pm, do you know where your documents are?

No, we’re not trying to keep your forms and letters off the street, but one of the first steps in organizing is figuring out where everything lives. For some people, it’s an easy question to answer – all their documents live on their computer. But for others, the question is more complex.

I held on to some old 3.5 ‘floppy’ discs for a long time before I was able to transfer the data. Right now I know there are used external hard drives and USB drives with files on them collecting dust in my closet. And that doesn’t even get into cloud storage. How many different services are you using to store, share, and access your documents?

When you organize your files, documenting where everything is helps you figure out where everything is going. It’s great to want everything in one place, but that only works if there is room there. And what about those documents that need to be shared? Those usually have to stay in cloud storage until the sharing is done (if it ever is!)

If you’re ready to organize your files, take a moment to think about where everything is. When it’s time to move your documents, we often suggest using the same file structure regardless of what platform/computer you are on – same file setup in Dropbox as on your computer. This makes it easier to file things when you’re in a rush.

Don’t forget, once you’ve got everything organized, it’s time to make sure your backup plan is in place to keep all your files safe! I recommend using an online backup system like Carbonite or BackBlaze.

Interested in receiving these tips direct to your inbox? Head over and sign up today!

Ready to get your files organized? I can help with that! Set up a Discovery Conversation call today and we’ll get started! 

Ilios Digital Organizing Blog

13 January 2021

Do you have a digital storage unit?

For those of us in the digital world, external hard drives and extra USB keys full of old documents equate to a packed storage unit. Many of us use an external drive as a backup drive – utilizing Time Machine or Windows Backup. But what about all those drives that are sitting on our shelf, collecting dust, full of documents we’ve forgotten about? It might be time to review and weed, then purge the files you no longer need.

Don’t worry – you don’t need to sort everything in one day! Just take it one file folder at a time. If you want help, call me up – I love file organizing! Schedule your Discovery Conversation and we’ll take it from there.

Prefer to get these tips via email? Sign up for the list today!

15 December 2020

4 Things to Do Before 2021

It’s that time of the year again – time for lists and recollections. Who made the Billboard charts? What were the most newsworthy events? How many different types of bread can you make now? (I can do banana bread, does that count?) What did you listen to on Spotify? That sort of thing.

But instead of looking back at what you’ve done so far, I’m looking ahead to what you can accomplish before 2021 starts. There’s always a big push to get organized at the beginning of the new year – how many times have you put ‘get organized’ on your resolution list – but why not start now?

Today, I wanted to give you a head start on being organized for the new year. Below are four things you can do now to start 2021 off on the right foot. 

  1. Clear off your desktop. Yes, this means your digital desktop as well as your physical desktop. It’s time to get rid of all those temporary downloads you read then forgot to discard, those early versions of your client retention form, and all the various files that accumulate on your desktop. Find a home for the ones you want to keep and discard the rest. Starting off clean may encourage you to keep it that way in the new year.
  2. Weed and purge your phone photos. We all take throwaway pictures – images of a receipt, or a shelf code at the grocery store, or that accidental picture of your feet. Now is the time to scan thru your photo roll and discard those throwaway images. While you’re doing that, keep an eye out for any duplicates that you can narrow down to a single photo. This is an easy task to take care of when you’re waiting in line at the store or sitting on the couch watching reruns.
  3. Update your device. Is your tech up to date on the latest operating system, upgrades, etc? Many of these updates include important safety patches or features. Even if your device is set to automatically update, that might not be enough. If you haven’t restarted your device recently, do so now. There are some updates and changes that require a restart to implement. 
  4. Start your online backup. If you don’t already have your documents, photos, etc. backed up, now is the time to get that process started. There’s no reason to avoid online backup – and it’s cheap for the peace of mind it brings. Don’t wait till there is a disaster to get prepared. For online backup I recommend either BackBlaze or Carbonite. 

Once you’re done with these four steps, take a moment to relax with a cup of cocoa or other holiday beverage. You’re off to a great start!

Have questions about what to do first? Need help with any of the steps? Let me know and we can work on it together! Would you rather receive this information in your inbox? Sign up for my newsletter!

17 November 2020

4 Things to Know About Protecting Your Documents

If you’ve been hanging around with me for any amount of time, you’ve heard me talk about the importance of backing up your documents. It makes sense – you’ve taken the time to create the document, it probably holds important information, and chances are, there’s only one copy of it.

Disaster can strike anytime in the form of a computer crash or accidental deletion. Not to mention fire, theft, flood, viruses, etc. And I’m not just talking about digital documents here. Our vital records – marriage certificate, birth certificate, etc. – are usually on paper and are just as susceptible to damage. So what can you do to protect yourself? Below are four things to know when it comes to protecting your documents: 

  1. Scan in your vital documents if they are in paper format. Yes, you most often need the actual physical documents when you have to produce it, but sometimes a digital copy works and it helps to have a copy of the original document in case of destruction. If you don’t have a flatbed type scanner, there are apps like Adobe Scan you can use with your phone.
  2. Remember the 3, 2, 1 philosophy. Back up three different copies of your documents, in two different places, at least one of which is off-site. It sounds like a lot, but remember that your original is one copy, back up another copy using online backup  (Carbonite or BackBlaze), then have another copy saved on an external hard drive. I have my working documents on my computer, in Dropbox, and backed up online. My vital documents are on my computer, backed up online using Crashplan, and backed up on an external hard drive. 
  3. Online sync programs like Dropbox and Google Drive are not the same as online backup programs like Carbonite or BackBlaze. Online sync is designed so you have access to your documents regardless of where you are. This is especially helpful if you are moving between computers or if you need to share documents with a spouse or work partner. Yes, some like Dropbox offer limited online backup/storage, but it’s a  max of 30 days which may not be enough time. We had a hiccup in our computers and lost documents and because they weren’t active working documents, it took us almost two months before we realized the documents were missing. 
  4. Finally, make sure you are using descriptive file names. Doc 1 and Doc 3 aren’t going to help you if you need to recover something from online backup. Take some now to purge those documents you no longer need so if you have to recover something, there is less ‘junk’ to sort through. 

If this is all new information for you, don’t worry! There’s no time like the present to start protecting your documents. My suggestion is to start by signing up with an online backup service. The first backup can take several days and while that is working, you can be scanning in vital documents and cleaning up your files.

Interested in some help with this whole process? Let me know and we can tackle it together! Schedule your Discovery Conversation today!

3 November 2020

Comparing apples to apples

Everyone loves choices. Plain Oreo’s or Double Stuff. Oranges or orange juice. Salad or brownies. (Let’s be honest, that last one isn’t really a choice).

Sometimes instead of an easy yes or no answer, there can be too many options to compare. Then you have to figure out, are you really comparing apples to apples? That’s a common question when looking at the big three online document management services – Dropbox, Google Drive, and OneDrive. 

All three offer online document sync, storage, and easy access to items when you need them. Google Drive will give you the most storage for free, true, but that storage is also spread out over your Gmail, Goggle photos and other Goggle services. So is it really such a bargain? OneDrive works seamlessly with Word and Excel documents, but what if you use Pages and Numbers on a Mac? Dropbox offers storage, but not document creation options.

When you’re making decisions about which online document sync service to go with, some questions you want to ask yourself include:

  • How much storage do you really need?
  • Are you willing to pay for storage, or do you only want a free option?
  • Are you planning to collaborate with people? More people use a Goggle account in comparison to either Microsoft or Dropbox.
  • Do you just want to store/access documents?
  • Do you want to create documents?

Figuring out which online document sync option to go with isn’t necessarily an apples to apples choice. For help with asking the right questions, and making a decision with less confusion, let’s talk! Schedule your Discovery Call today!

Prefer receiving this information in your inbox? Sign up for the Ilios Digital Tips and Tricks newsletter!

27 October 2020

Well of Lost Files

A follow up to last week’s question about where your old files are!

20 October 2020

It’s 10 pm, Do You Know Where Your Documents Are?

In the 70’s and 80’s there was a public service announcement (PSA) that would come on each night at 10 pm, right before the news. It would ask, in a serious voice, if you knew where your children were

The goal was to remind parents to keep their kids at home rather than let them wander the streets. I don’t know if it was effective or not, but the phrase has become part of our social history. And it got me thinking…it’s 10 pm, do you know where your documents are?

No, we’re not trying to keep your forms and letters off the street, but one of the first steps in organizing is figuring out where everything lives. For some people, it’s an easy question to answer – all their documents live on their computer. But for others, the question is more complex.

I held on to some old 3.5 ‘floppy’ discs for a long time before I was able to transfer the data. Right now I know there are used external hard drives and USB drives with files on them collecting dust in my closet. And that doesn’t even get into cloud storage. How many different services are you using to store, share, and access your documents?

When you organize your files, documenting where everything is helps you figure out where everything is going. It’s great to want everything in one place, but that only works if there is room there. And what about those documents that need to be shared? Those usually have to stay in cloud storage until the sharing is done (if it ever is!)

If you’re ready to organize your files, take a moment to think about where everything is. When it’s time to move your documents, we often suggest using the same file structure regardless of what platform/computer you are on – same file setup in Dropbox as on your computer. This makes it easier to file things when you’re in a rush.

Don’t forget, once you’ve got everything organized, it’s time to make sure your backup plan is in place to keep all your files safe! I recommend using an online backup system like Carbonite or BackBlaze.

Interested in receiving these tips direct to your inbox? Head over and sign up today!

Ready to get your files organized? I can help with that! Set up a Discovery Conversation call today and we’ll get started!