How To Organise Your Digital Life
Whilst everyone is busy spring cleaning their houses, I’m spending days sat at my Macbook organising my digital life. Truth be told I’ve more digital clutter than I have physical clutter.
I’m a real advocate for minimalism, but it’s not something I practice when it comes to my 12,367 unread emails and my minefield of desktop files haphazardly strewn across the screen. An unorganised digital life can be easy to hide, but just like physical clutter it can make finding the important things a real mission.
So, I decided to invest the time in making my digital life more organised, saving myself time, increasing my productivity and saving me some of my hard earned cash!
It only seemed right that I pass on my words of wisdom in this blog post and teach you how to organise your digital life too, right?
Upgrade & Update
There’s never a good time to update your software and re-start your laptop or computer. So, if like me you’ve been clicking that ‘remind me tomorrow’ button for the past six weeks, take an hour out and upgrade those old software programs and get your computer running faster than ever before.
Not only will this help you increase your productivity, and give you access to new features it’s also a security risk to be running old software on your computer as many updates include things such as security patches to prevent the software from any viruses.
Organise Your Inbox
Most of us have had our email accounts for over a decade now, and in that time what we like, and dislike has changed… Heck, I’ve gone from studying for my GCSE’s to being a company director in that time.
So it’s safe to say the marketing emails we were getting 10 years ago are unlikely to be relevant to who we are today. So instead of just repeatedly hitting the delete button use a free online web service such as unroll.me and remove yourself from those email lists.
Once you’ve done that set up folders for certain emails such as work, online shopping receipts etc. and create mail filters to flag up and in some cases auto-file emails to save yourself time and help you keep on top of things.
Delete! Delete! Delete!
Now let’s talk about the computer application you last opened 4 years ago when you were studying Architecture at University or that friend you’ve got in your mobile contacts that you’ve not spoken to since 2010…
It’s time to let things go…
When it comes to friends on social media, if I’ve not seen them or spoken to them in the past year they get deleted. When it comes to applications if I’ve not used it in the past six months it goes in the trash.
You’ll be surprised how many Facebook friends you’re left with once all that is said and done.
Same goes for your smartphone too, for too long have we left games like Flappy Birds and photos such as that parking ticket so you don’t forget what time you need to get back to your car by. Delete applications you no longer use and need, delete unnecessary photos and text messages.
Take Control Of Your Bookmarks
I’m a huge fan of bookmarks, however unlike files they are easy to have but never notice. Which means that remembering to sort through them on a regular basis can be tricky. Which can often leave you with over 100 sites and pages bookmarked when really you only ever use 10 of them…
Take control of your bookmark manager, if you’ve not visited the website in the last 12 months delete it. Then sort, sort, sort! Use acronyms for websites and folders to minimise the amount of space they take up on your bookmark bar giving you access to more content quicker.
Take Advantage of The Cloud
‘The Cloud’ has to be one of the most annoying phrases of the 21st century right… I mean nobody actually knows what it is, only that in a time of need it’s able to do some pretty amazing things to share our files with friends, or restore them from the unknown.
Here’s a brief explanation of the cloud;
When you take a picture on your smartphone, it is stored on your phone’s internal memory drive. However, when you upload the photos to Instagram, you are uploading it to the cloud.
So, what are the benefits of the cloud, well firstly the ability to be able to access your information on any device with an internet connection. That means viewing photos through the likes of Dropbox and editing documents on the likes of Google Docs. All in real time.
Having files in the cloud not only allows you to access them from anywhere, it also provides a great back-up service. No more corrupt hard drives or missing pen drives.
Better still most digital cloud services provide you with space for free (up to around 2GB)
Turn The Physical to Digital
One of my biggest New Years resolutions for 2017 is to actually take from the physical and move to the digital. Now, I’m not talking about note keeping. No I moved from physical notes and to do lists to digital a long time ago. I’m talking about photographs and family videos.
Lets face it, looking at a photograph as an actual photograph is a thing of the past. Sharing it on Facebook and tagging everyone and anyone is the new. Just like sitting down to watch a family video of you playing in the park with your younger brother is now no longer the done thing (thank goodness) instead let’s protect those important memories, and share them with friends and family around the world by moving them into the digital space.
This may sound scary, expensive and time consuming but it doesn’t have to be…
Luckily, I’m such a fan of a paper free office I already own a Fujitsu ScanSnap which instantly scans in receipts, photos etc. This allowed me to take 1,000 physical photos and move them into the digital space and organise them within 2 hours.
Next, I purchased a USB digital capture card from Amazon for £20 and visited my parents house to take advantage of their old video player (If you don’t have one scourer your local car boot sale and charity shops, you should be able to purchase one for less than £10)
Unlike the photos this will take up more of your time, but the results will be well worth it. I managed to do a video a day, and tried not to get too distracted from the footage and instead focused on doing household chores such as cleaning and ironing.
Take A Back Up
If you’re going to store important life long memories in the digital space then it’s important to have a back-up and even in some cases a back up of the back up.
Whether you decide to use a portable or external hard drive, the cloud or both find a solution that works for you and stick to it. There are many programmes available that can help you do this automatically I use the standard Time Capsule for my Apple Mac as well as having space in the cloud to synchronies files between my mac and my iPhone.
Different solutions will depend based on your circumstances and the amount of digital space you require.
Finally, be sure to repeat these steps on a regular basis. Adapt them and refine them depending on your digital life circumstances. If you organise your digital life it’s going to save you time. Time is my most valuable assett, so saving that is never a bad thing. Be sure to let me know in the comments how you organise your digital life.