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If you are overwhelmed by organizing your digital data, no worries, this has been one of my greatest challenges as well.
As someone who was born long before there was anything such as digital data to worry about, it has been a huge learning curve for me. I would also say that I find digital data storage to be annoying, even to this day.
However, it is something that must be tackled, much like other clutter causing headaches. When I do put forth the time and effort to clear some of the digital data clutter, it is something I am always so glad that I have done.
Here are the things I’ve found to help declutter my digital data.
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Use more than one email
Once upon a time it was difficult for me to keep everything straight with email. Then I got smart, grabbed a couple more email addresses, and now designate each email for a specific purpose. For instance, I have one “junk” email address where all my coupons and money saving related things go. When I sign up for store credit cards, store promotions, and things like this, they all go to this email.
Use folders within each email account
Even within those emails, I sort emails further. I was so hesitant to do this, but I really have no idea why. This had made my life so much easier.
Star important emails that need to be responded to
I star only the emails that need to be responded to. When it comes to my time to do something with emails, I go right to those first so I can get at least those responses handled if that is all I can get done at that sitting.
Do not check email more than once a day, but don’t let it go more than once every other day
Of course there are those few times when I might be waiting for something urgent, but for the most part it has been a huge time saver for me to only check my email once a day. Waiting any longer than 48 hours to pass between email checks will most likely just bury you in a mountain of email that feels completely overwhelming.
Use labeled and organized folders on your computer for anything that you download
This includes anything digital that you store on your computer…photos, work documents, bank statements, and the like. Only keep what you need and will use. As with anything else, if you are keeping more than that you are only creating clutter in the digital form.
Delete unwanted items before downloading
This is perfectly illustrated in terms of pictures. Before uploading any pictures from my camera or my phone, I delete the ones that I don’t want. In the case of my phone, I can do this anywhere so it becomes a great opportunity to multi-task.
Consider using an external hard drive
This allows you to keep your actual computer clutter free. It also makes it much less stressful if your computer crashes. Backing up and storing things on an external hard drive is just a smart thing to do all the way around.
Make decluttering your digital data a priority
It’s easy to forget about it or to procrastinate when it comes to decluttering your digital data, but making a commitment to work on it every week, twice a month, or something else that is appropriate for you to keep a handle on it is necessary if you are to keep your digital clutter free.
This post is based on a chapter in Ruth Soukup’s book, 31 Days to a Clutter Free Life. Grab a copy and join in as we work through it together, or, grab a copy and work through it at your own pace in your own time.
Either way, you will have a clutter free life by the time you work through all 31 days!