Around this time of year, everyone gets in spring cleaning mode in their homes, changing up the linens, putting away the sweaters, and tidying up the garage and yard. (If you need some tips from Professional Organizers and Cleaners, click here to read 15 great ideas you can implement now) However, there are other ways to clean up your life and get ready for the upcoming good weather without getting dirty. Let’s do some digital spring cleaning!
Organizing all of your digital clutter is one of those areas that people tend to forget all about. They think there will always be space for all of those photos, files, duplicate contacts, emails, and everything else they put out into the cyber universe and on their computer. However regularly scheduled cleaning of your digital life is important if you want to stay organized in all aspects of your home, work, and life.
Think of it just like your taxes – a little bit of work each month towards organizing your paperwork now = a lot less hassle when it’s tax time. Think of it like your wardrobe – a little bit of folding and hanging the clothes in your closet now = easily being able to get dressed each morning. Think of it like your playroom – a little bit of cleanup each day consistently = being able to find the toys your kids want to play with instantly.
So how do you go about getting yourself digitally cleaned up? Start putting processes in place now for each one of your major digital issues. Tackle one project at a time and schedule regular checkups, just like at the dentist, to keep the digital clutter at bay and yourself cavity free.
Aim to clear out your inbox every night. Look through your contacts, deleting old ones and combining duplicates, and color code or group them if that's what will keep them neat and clean. Set up folders and subfolders so that you can file away important emails that you need to keep to reference later. Move junk into your junk folders to be more easily dealt with in one fell swoop. Also consider signing up for a service like Unroll Me that makes it much easier to combine your favorite email subscriptions into one email and unsubscribe very easily from anything you no longer wish to receive.
Begin by downloading all the photos off of your phone and camera and uploading them to a service like Shutterfly. Name all of your existing and new folders with the date and a topic so you can easily find photos in the future. If you are into sharing with friends and family, consider using Flickr or Dropbox. A private share site on Shutterfly is also fun for grandparents looking to see photos, milestones, and journal entries about your kids. It’ll automatically send updates when you add anything to the site and can be used for sports teams and weddings as well.
A lot of people still use paper calendars, but more and more workplaces are requiring you to keep a digital calendar for work meetings and events. Why not simplify your life by creating a personal online calendar and then sync it to your work one so you can see your schedule anywhere at any time? Experiment with Google, Cozi, or even your Outlook calendar. Start writing down everything you do so you don’t overbook yourself. Leave gaps for last minute tasks. Schedule in multiple parts of a project – when a birthday party is - but also schedule time to buy a gift and time to wrap the gift.
To Do List Apps
There are so many To Do list apps for your smartphone out there, that we can’t list them all. But we can tell you how important it is to have your To Dos on you at all times (because you always carry your phone) and not have them stuck in a notebook or taped to your fridge when you are out and needing to reference them. Organize your To Dos into separate lists on these apps for Projects, Gift Ideas, or anything you like and marvel at how easy it is to add a To Do before you forget no matter where you are – on your phone or at the computer.
LeanKit is our new lifesaver when we have a project to work on, which is always. Imagine a bunch of digital sticky notes that you can move around your screen on various boards that will tell you what stage of your project you are on. This FREE project management program is a huge help if you are trying to manage a wedding, a house remodel project, or run a small business. It’s easy to collaborate with others, update progress on tasks, and even color code everything. It’s so much more satisfying than a bunch of notes on the back of receipts in your pocket.
If you are overwhelmed at the idea of tackling so many things and implementing all of these ideas at once, just remember to start small. You wouldn’t try to clean your entire house all in one hour, so try to take these ideas slow, one at a time. Trust us, once you are able to find those photos or emails you want instantly, it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s one you’ll want to keep having, so get your digital life in order and schedule regular maintenance sessions to keep it that way. Hopefully, this will be the last big digital spring cleaning you’ll have to do, which will leave you plenty of time in the future to get outside and enjoy that beautiful weather away from your electronics.