Spring is here and there is no better time to get your “Spring Cleaning” done. Here are a few helpful tips to get you going in the right direction. If it helps to keep an inventory of what you do have, then start with making a list of what you want to organize and come up with a plan for how you want to organize that space. Lets start with your computer, sorting files, downloading and uploading photos, and making folders is normally an as you go task, and we don’t all have interns to sort and help keep us organize, so come up with a system and stick to it. Audit your desktop, “remov[ing] everything except the absolute essentials.” It helps to date and be able to sort documents by type, so make sure to include that in the title of the document, and always make folders for your favorite documents and photos. Build a folder system. It helps to keep track of where things are in your computer, and flash drive or external hard drive backup your most important documents and also email them to yourself and keep them on a drive or cloud. According to one tech blogger, “remember that the effort you spend getting your computer organized now will probably make finding important files easier later, saving you both time and energy.”
Your data is apart of you, consider it your identity, and if you are like me attached to things and your information, then you will want all of it to be saved, and neatly organized for review. That’s the best way to manage your work, and your success in whatever you do computer based. Afterall, a sorted life is a happy life, the more organized you are, the better you will feel. How you organize yourself electronically is a direct representation of who you are professionally, and that in turn is reflected in your work product online, consider all of those feelings attached to its source, you! So when organizing your work, do so because you want to feel good, and in feeling good you hope to make others feel good too, that’s just a great work ethic to have when working with others, organization.
Your digital identity is comprised of more than just the metadata that is collected on you on social media networks, monitoring everyone’s online behavior. Like the real world, online your credentials are what grant you access, and credibility among your competitors online, what draws people to your website, and what about you makes you interesting or more favorable by comparison to what another website or blog has to offer. The internet is a “patchwork of networks linked together through gateways,” likewise your identity is attached to groups of individuals past and present, and social, online connected through social media accounts, and work history information stored on resumes. All of that information is important when coming to identity yourself, online, and who identifies with you, or finds you of value.
Decluttering is a big job, but if you’re trying to simply your life, you have to know where things are, and what better way is there to recall everything that you have done so far, other than to going through all of your work, and sort out what you do have in order to make space in the future for new and improved ideas moving forward. The best way to “declutter” is to do it “in stages,” recommends thespruce.com, and like a home, you’ll want to “focus on one room” at a time before “moving on to the next space.”
Eight easy ways to store your documents and files are: Dropbox, Google Drive, OneDrive, pCloud, iCloud, Box, Google Photos, and iCloud Drive. Most of these services are free, and when it comes to editing and sharing documents, if working with others or a group, it’s great way to be able to do so by email attachments and links.
What’s the point of storing our stuff online? The less you have in front of you, the less you have to go through to get to what is important, the more time you will have to enjoy what’s in front of you. It’s okay to be “sentimental” and to keep everything, there is value to being able to go back through your work to see where you have been or what you have gotten done, who doesn’t enjoy a trip back. It’s kind of like admiring our work in a spiral notebook after having taken notes, this is not a new phenomenon, to want to admire our work, so store it for easy viewing, you won’t regret it later, taking trip down memory lane. This is but one of the “benefits for our emotional well-being,” keeping track of what we do have, and staying organized. Think of it this way, your computer is a space like any “physical environment [that] is connected to your mental, emotional, and spiritual space,” so it makes sense to stay organized so that while working at your computer you can avoid “stress and anxiety” associated with keeping track of what you do have, or worse yet losing important documents along the way that you wanted to keep due to any computer malfunction, hacking, or virus, there are many threats these days. Especially while managing your intellectual property, which not everyone will have respect for, in going through your space. So long as you know where everything is, and its backed up, the less you have to fear about your valuable work becoming lost or gone. If its apart of you, you’ll want to keep it.
The more clutter you have in your digital space the more this affects “our productivity, focus, and even our mental health.” Not to mention “slow[ing] down” our electronic devices and computer functionality. Every time you get distracted this “take[s] 20 minutes for your mind to get back to focus and concentration.” If the goal is to be more efficient, then make sure that your electronic spaces are conducive to that, your most used apps up front, a folder for all your important documents, and all your scanned documents you’re willing to keep an electronic copy of or delete for the sake of privacy.
Identity theft is a real problem, so don’t be naïve to think that its not possible to happen for you. Identity theft occurs “when someone steals your personal information and uses it without your permission.” Anytime someone gains unauthorized access to your personal information this puts you at risk of harm. Such as with spam or unsolicited emails, people trying to gain access to you and large amounts of personal data, by contacting you and establishing a line of communication. Why it’s important not to share personal identifying information with anyone, other than a job, government office, or for medical or billing purposes a company you are doing business with.
Security breaches can become a very stressful and aggravating event for you in your life. Such as when people gain access to private photos stored in your phone or in your online accounts. So store less in your phone, and be sure to upload photos to free up space in your phone. Also, be mindful of where you keep your valuables and be careful not to subject yourself to harsh scrutiny in the event that you become exposed or your private information is exposed, including all your writings, and details from your life saved, along your journey in life. We all like to keep track. Being you is a privilege, and online getting to be yourself is what social media is all about: what and who is attracted to you. Why would you want anyone else to be you in life or misuse your identity to attract people to them. That is how you can get hurt when your identity is used to coordinate attentions to someone away from you, in place of what they have to say about you, if negative, change an otherwise likeable opinion of you to distrust. There’s a lot of room for error, so stay organized, if it’s easy for you to see, then chances are it will be easy for someone else to see, and that’s the basic standard of managing your digital content, what is pleasing to the eye, and what helps you to feel good about yourself, worth viewing a second time. Based upon their misinterpretation of your data, writing, or photos, not put on public display for viewing and analysis, you can get hurt in the privacy of your own digital archives, so be clear about your intentions for the use and purpose of your data, add headings, titles, and be accurate purposeful. It’s your job to analyze and fix your own life, its not the job of others to inquire or pry. So be prepared for questioning, and be ready to prove you are who you are online, and deserve to be you! Your privacy is your peace.
Digital Decluttering Checklist:
- Declutter your Email
- Clean up your Desktop and Downloads.
- Move Data and Photos to the Cloud.
- Scan for Viruses and Malware.
- Removed Unused Apps
- Deactivate Unused Online Accounts
- Unsubscribe to Mailing Lists
- Change Your Passwords
A digital declutter, helps to “simplify your virtual life and shrink your digital footprint.” When you have less to manage, this can help with stress and feeling overwhelmed. Only manage what you are mentally capable of keeping track of, and if you can’t manage more than one account then choose one, or if you can’t manage more than one email, pick a main account to forward to. You don’t always have to start over, and sometimes that’s the case with Instagram and Email, if you can’t freshen up what accounts you do have currently, filtering and archiving what you don’t want online or for viewing. Cleaning your digital space is “for your sanity and well being,” trust me, if I had not gone through my own pitfalls and dilemmas as a blogger and law student, I would not know enough about the experience of data loss, misuse, and identity theft, to inform you of what it feels like and how it occurs, to help you watch out for such intrusions into your life, be smart. Its been said that, “a clear mind is the most valuable asset you can have during these chaotic times.” Notice that while many things can happen that we don’t want to happen, usually things we know less about, and not yet in our memory banks, but had you known what the signs were, would have been able to identify and stop something bad from occurring before it occurs to you. So this is what sharing my information on the blog is all about, informing one another, so that we can all be stronger as individuals, so that no one feels alone in this. Good luck!