13 Aug Move From Digital Clutter to Digitally Productive
Yes – actually we now have names for people who keep too much electronic information. But, there is good news! Unlike physical clutter where our space fills up and overflows, our computers can handle massive amounts of data. Bad news is, just like physical clutter, it can negatively affect our quality of life. Is this you?
- You’ve missed an important opportunity because the email invitation was hidden among hundreds of unimportant emails
- You’ve spent hours looking for a document you know you had but couldn’t find
- Your computer is mired in so much muck that it no longer is the wonderful resource it once was.
Client requests tend to be a pretty good indicator of trends and issues. I’ve worked with 5 different clients this summer helping them bring some semblance of order to their email. And, like every other organizing situation there is clearly not a one-size-fits-all solution. However, there are some principles that apply across the board:
- Clear Out – investing the time to move out the trash is a very good place to start. Even better, (and most importantly), changing your habits to immediately delete emails and documents that are trash is the one most important thing you can do to improve your digital productivity.
- Place Based on Frequency of Use – if it’s a folder or file you use often put it where it’s easy to access. I often will add an “a.” in front of the name of the folder so that it falls in at the top of the folder list. In folders it’s helpful to move old unused information into an “old unused information” folder and drop the folders and files into that as sub-folders (this applies to both email and documents).
- Use the Right Tools – learn to use the built in tools that come with your computer. The search function, task bar and favorites bar can save you a lot of time if well utilized. If you’re not sure how to use them Google is a fabulous teacher – try Googling “setting up my task bar” and you’ll get some great tips.
- Take Advantage of the Cloud – getting your smartphone, tablet, laptop and/or desktop to support each other is a tremendous efficiency builder. Evernote is a great place to start crossing platforms. (Want more information about Evernote? Google: how to use Evernote).
Investing the time and energy into getting digitally efficient has massive payoffs. As always start with one area and take it a step at a time. Questions? That’s why I’ve launched my Productivity Blog – ask here!