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With all things Kon-Mari taking center stage lately, it’s no better time to take a look your digital life and organize the digital “stuff” all around you. Here are a few things I make sure to do in order to declutter electronically and help the time I spend on the computer or on my phone as simple as possible.
Are you the type of person who has multiple red alerts on your iPhone apps including an astronomical amount of unread email? Or are you the type who has to immediately check it to clear the notification? I like to be the second type but sometimes life and an influx of retail or sales emails get the best of me.
I discovered this easy tool and it helped me cut the clutter with email. You can easily and automatically unsubscribe from any or all of your email subscriptions using Unroll.me, which checks your inbox and gives you a checklist of newsletters you’re enrolled in so you can easily uncheck the ones you no longer want to delete.
Use the search tool to find all emails of the same sender or subject and delete in bulk. Is there a retailer you want to remove at once? An old project or social media notifications? Search and trash them altogether.
If you’re using Gmail (regular or with your own domain), you can also turn on the Filters feature to help organize emails as they come in. You can create filters that contain certain words, come from certain senders or almost anything you can think of. Just click the gear icon then click Settings > Filters and Blocked Addresses > Create a New Filter. Add your parameters and click “Create Filter” then choose what you want that filter to do: Skip the Inbox (Archive it) / Mark as read / Star it / Apply a label / Forward it / Delete it / Never send it to Spam / Always mark it as important / Never mark it as important / Categorize as… / etc
Whether you have a desktop full of odds and ends or random files in one big folder, take a minute to create a system and place things accordingly.
Move any files that you absolutely need and may have forgotten about, but send the rest of this pile of clutter to the trash. Chances are, if you haven’t used it and haven’t thought about it, you don’t need to hang on to it.
I love to use Google Drive and Dropbox instead of my main hard disk so that everything is automatically backed up and I keep files pretty organized with a designated place for every topic and within that, more detailed sub folders.
For instance, my blog folder for 30A Mama has subfolders like Admin (web backend/backups etc), Content, Financials, Logo / Brand, Media Kit, Newsletters, Podcast, Presets and Press. From there, I break down even further within each folder. For example, Content includes sub-subfolders for each of my main and secondary blog topics (30A, Style, Beauty, Mom Life, Travel, Home / Lifestyle, Entrepreneur Life) and Brand Collabs. Within those folders, I name each item with the year, the month and the title so they auto organize when sorted alphabetically. For example: NYFW photos, schedule, appointments, inspiration, etc goes in a folder under 30A Mama > Content > Travel > NYFW > 2017 09 NYFW.
I also like to sort files by size and get rid of any big files I no longer need. Sometimes these are temporary files, installers or zipped files that are old news. Trash them. It’s the fastest way to free space and keep your computer “clean” and decluttered.
This applies to both your computer and smart phones. We all have those random apps we downloaded and used once, am I right? Browse your phone and hold down the app to delete it from your phone or if you’re on your computer, go to Applications and move any irrelevant items to trash.
Put similar apps into one folder and see if you can get all of your frequently used apps to fit on one page. I’ll be honest, mine is more like 2 pages plus a random 3rd page, but I like my system and know where most apps are when I need them. On my home page, I have my very frequently used apps alone outside of folders, then the folder magic begins. I put Business apps in one (Drive, Dropbox, Analytics, Financial apps in one, Social Media in one, Photo Editing in one, Graphic/Word apps in one, Utilities (alarm, level, voice recorder, etc) and TV/Music/Entertainment in one,
Use Dropbox, iCloud or a similar service to automatically upload your camera roll to the cloud for safekeeping.
If you’ve ever taken a photo, you know what I mean. Not every snapshot is Instagram worthy, so if it’s not a sentimental moment you’ll want to look back on and isn’t needed for record keeping or to file away, be honest about its future and hit the trash button. If you take pics of receipts for bookkeeping, upload them to their proper folder or place within your app and delete from your camera roll. DdI you take 100 photos to try to get that magic shot? Keep the best 3-5 and move along.
Mac users can add tags within Finder to add a further search and organization for files. This works amazingly well on photos where you can tag kids names, places, dates or occasions for quick searching later.
Do a quick review of friends on Facebook, people you follow on Instagram and accounts you follow on Twitter or Pinterest. I don’t know about you, but I’ve changed and grown as a person since I first created these accounts and I can vouch, it’s 100% healthy to let your lists and those you follow evolve along with you. Maybe there’s a brand or business that’s no longer relevant to your life or a person who triggers not-so-positive feelings. Time to clean. it. up. If you’re not ready to fully disconnect, simply use the unfollow feature on Facebook or the mute feature on Instagram to keep them out of sight, out of mind. You can always restore later or go ahead and cut ties. Sorry to all my 2010 wedding inspiration accounts, I’m moving on!
Maybe the last time you actually looked at your written full profile, interests and personal information was 2 kids and 3 jobs back. Who the heck is that person? Time to bring that profile into the new year! Upload a recent photo, delete or unlike any music, movies, groups etc that don’t represent you today and double check your security and privacy settings.
Make sure to add these small tasks to your to-do list whether its monthly, quarterly or whatever works for you. A little effort along the way means you won’t have a huge job and a mess later.
I absolutely love using Asana project management software for my clients and projects. Having multiple boards for each of my overarching task areas is super helpful and I can easily replicate for the next time. It’s great to share a board with new team members or an intern to help onboard. For example, I have a full checklist for creating a blog post that details everything from an SEO check and optimizing the headline to adding alt text to images, incorporating related links and promoting the post on social media after its live. I even have a household board with bills, things to do around the house and family tasks I need to handle. The app and desktop are both great but I really love the way it syncs to Google calendar. That may need to be an entirely separate post detailing how I use it, but for now give it a test run and let me know what you think.
Do you have any favorite tips for organizing your digital life? Leave them in the comments so we can all learn something new! 🙂