Monday, February 14, 2011
In past blog posts, we've discussed overflowing paper files and overwhelming email inboxes, but what about your computer's electronic files? Whether you use a PC or Mac, does your computer's electronic clutter make it difficult to quickly find what you need when you need it? Do you waste valuable time searching for documents and / or replacing those documents you cannot locate? In honor of today's Clean Out Your Computer Day, here are some practical organizing tips to start tackling this project:
1. Automate your computer updates and virus scans. Then, schedule time weekly on your calendar to delete any temporary files that have not been touched in more than that week. Particularly for PC users, run a disk cleanup weekly and a disk defragment every-other-week.
2. Be vigilant in removing documents that are not used or can be easily found online. With what remains, remove visual clutter by funneling desktop icons into just two folders: Documents and Software.
3. Mirror the names of your paper file folders when creating or maintaining your electronic files. To easily find filed items, start the name with the general category and follow that with the specifics. For example, file names could include INSURANCE - AUTO, INSURANCE - HEALTH and INSURANCE - HOME / OFFICE.
4. Be certain to back-up data regularly... If you have a system for remembering to back-up regularly via flash drive, disk or external hard-drive, those are viable options; however, I highly recommend a cloud solution that will automatically back-up your data in a "set it and forget it" manner. I prefer Mozy, but Carbonite is an excellent alternative, too.
5. Speaking of "the cloud", remember that you don't have to keep all electronic information saved on your computer's hard drive... Evernote is an absolutely fabulous way to capture anything (ideas, articles, to-do lists, shopping suggestions, photos, business cards and so much more) in an organized manner to be accessed anywhere. There are Evernote tools for your computer, smart phone or web browser, and they all enable finding whatever you need very quickly, whether that be through keywords, tags, printed text or, even, handwritten text inside uploaded images. For details, visit http://www.evernote.com today.
What will you do today to clean out your computer? What are your current processes for keeping your computer cleaned out? With which portions of your computer do you struggle most to keep clutter-free?