Your Guide to Organize and Declutter Your Digital Life
Are you feeling information overload and ready to get organized and declutter your life?
Do you feel like you’re always doing, doing, doing but never quite achieving your goals?
Was that a BIG YES?!
I’m sharing my personal organizing and decluttering system that will get you organized and go from “Help, I’m so disorganized!” to feeling organized almost every day.
Let's get started...
SUPERCHARGE YOUR PRODUCTIVITY
Know your goals.
To get organized and be productive you first need to know what your goals are. So take 30-60 minutes and write down your big, bold goals. I suggest having 3 big goals for business/career and 3 personal goals.
Get a task management program.
Choose a task management program like Trello, Todoist, or Asana and start using it immediately. This is going to help you remember everything you need so you can stay focused on your goals. Learn why I use Trello for my task management program here.
Do a “Brain Dump” exercise and enter them into a Master Task List.
A big reason why you may feel disorganized is that you've got all these tasks in your head that you know you need to do and it can feel super overwhelming. So get them all entered into a Master Task List that resides inside your task management program. Learn more about doing a Brain Dump here. Every time you think of a new task add it to your Master Task List and each week you will pull from that list to create your tasks for the following week.
Do a weekly review.
Once a week take stock of what you did and didn’t accomplish and the reasons why. See how many tasks you got done, especially those specifically related to your big bold goals. Record any big insights that may help you later.
Plan your coming week.
After your weekly review, you need to decide which tasks you want to get done in the following week and put them on a Weekly To Do List (inside your task management program) for that week. This is where you review your Master Task List and pull from those that need to be done next.
Block out time to work on your goals.
This one is so important but yet so many people forget it. Schedule time to work on your goals. Block out time on the calendar and stay committed to it. If not, you’ll be doing, doing, doing but may never actually accomplish your ultimate goals.
Create regular habits/rituals to help you stay focused and centered.
Create daily, weekly, and monthly habits that will help you to stay focused, balanced, and centered so you’re not feeling stressed and rushed all the time. Enter them as tasks in your task management program so you see them every day and actually do them.
Pat yourself on the back!
Do you know all that you accomplish? Most people are too hard on themselves and forget all that they really do. Set up a list in your task management program, Evernote or even paper and each week add things you accomplished. It’s important to note big and even some things so you stay positive. Right now you can record an accomplishment: “You read this guide on how to get organized and start decluttering and you're going to take action!”
ORGANIZE YOUR CALENDAR AND CONTACTS
Get your calendar up to date.
Add all your appointments, birthdays, anniversaries, car maintenance dates, etc. into your calendar. I recommend Google Calendar. And make sure you calendar syncs to your phone and tablet too. Commit to entering new appointments and other items immediately so your calendar is always up to date.
Get your contacts up to date.
Add all your business and personal contacts to a program like Google Contacts and make sure they sync to all your devices. And commit to entering new contacts as you meet people or collect business cards from people.
DECLUTTER YOUR EMAILS
Set up email labels and rules.
Take some time and create email labels and rules to get your email organized. I suggest Gmail for email as they make this so easy. Creating labels and using colors is an excellent way to make sure you don’t miss important emails.
Get to a zero inbox once a week.
How amazing would it feel to have a zero inbox? Have you ever had a zero inbox if even for a brief second? It’s an amazing feeling! This project could be a big one for you if you've got tons of emails sitting in your inbox. It will go faster if you start using labels and rules though. Just schedule regular time to work on this project and you WILL get there. Want a quicker solution? Archive all your email before a few weeks ago and organize all the rest.
Get all your emails in one place.
If you’ve got more than one email try to put them all in one place to receive and send. You can do this in Gmail very easily. Learn how here.
Unsubscribe, unsubscribe, unsubscribe!
Hit that unsubscribe button – a lot! Unsubscribe from all those unwanted emails you’re getting. I suggest using the free Unroll app to not only unsubscribe quickly and easily but to receive one Daily Rollup that gives you an overview of all the subscriptions you receive each day. Other emails will still go to your inbox so you don’t miss them but think how wonderful it would be to get one email a day with newsletters and other free things you signed up for. (Unroll is not available in all countries.)
DECLUTTER YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Downsize your social media.
How much time do you spend on social media every day? Do you enjoy it? Is it fun? Is it productive? Review your relationship with social media and decide what networks you want to use. And consider putting a time limit that you spend on social each day if you find you’re wasting time on it.
Configure your social media notifications.
Configure your social media notifications on all your devices to avoid unnecessary interruptions when possible. I never get notifications on my phone or computer pop-ups. I want to see the notifications when I choose so I can be most productive. Depending on your business this may or may not work for you but review it and see what you can do to cut down on distractions.
ORGANIZE YOUR DATA
If you’ve read any of my blogs or taken any of my courses you probably know how much I love Evernote. Evernote is an app designed for note taking, organizing, tasks lists, and archiving. Simply put: if you have Evernote you WILL be able to find your information quickly and easily and save hours of time each week. Learn more here.
Automatically backup your data.
If you’ve got a computer you need to back it up. The easiest way to do this is to use a program like BackBlaze or Carbonite. For around $70 a year you can set up automatic backups in case anything happens to your computer or you accidentally delete a file you need. Trust me, you NEED a backup.
Backup your mobile phone.
And speaking of backups you need to back up your phone/tablets. You wouldn’t want to lose all those cool photos you took, would you? Make sure you’re backing up at least weekly.
Declutter your apps.
How many apps do you have on your phone? It’s so easy to forget what it was like before we had cool timesaving tools like apps. But you can also get into “app overwhelm” with so many apps on your phone taking up space and cluttering up your mind. Get my guide to decluttering your apps here.
Organize your computer files.
If you’re using Evernote you can find a lot of your files quickly and easily there. For the files on your computer, they need to be organized so you don’t’ waste time searching for things. Be sure and use file names that mean something so you can find files easily. And use folders and subfolders. For example, I have a folder called Personal and Business. Inside my Business folder are other folders like Clients, Blogs, Website, Templates, etc.
Have a clean, pleasant desktop.
Is your computer desktop so cluttered you can’t even see the image or color of the desktop background?! Declutter it! Move your files into your documents area or if you want to use the desktop set up 1 to 3 folders that store those files so it’s decluttered. And pick an image you love for the background of your desktop. I love Unsplash free images for finding great photos.
Organize your receipts.
If you’ve got a business or a career where you need to save your receipts, get them organized. Evernote is great for this. You can scan or email your receipt right into your Evernote account Receipts folder and always be up to date with your receipt. No more scrambling at tax time to find all the missing receipts.
Have a secure password program.
It’s a fact that in today’s world we have A LOT of passwords. Isn’t it funny how every program seems to have a different password format so you can’t just use one password everywhere? I use 1Password. 1Password is an app for your desktop, tablet, and phone that stores various passwords, software licenses, and other sensitive information in a virtual vault that is locked with a very secure master password. So all you have to remember is 1 password! Learn more here. If you'd like a free password program check out LastPass here.
Have lists of important data for easy access.
Set up lists in Evernote or another program of your choice to store items such as previous job info, previous addresses, medical info, and other reference information. This saves a lot of time when completing applications and whenever you need to access the information. If you'd like inspiration for some helpful lists to create click here for personal lists and here for business lists.
File important documents.
Make sure you file important legal documents in a safe easy-to-access place and I suggest putting copies in Evernote for easy access.
Use bookmarks in your internet browser.
Bookmark all your regularly used (and not so regularly used!) websites in folders in Google Chrome or other Internet browsers so you can easily find websites you need to visit.
Whew! That was a lot of tips for you!
Are you ready to dig in, take action, and declutter?
Get started today and I promise taking these steps will make a HUGE improvement in your digital life.