May 24, 2018

How to clean up digital clutter when you have no extra time


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How to clean up digital clutter when you have no extra time?

Are you struggling to find your digital files to work on in your existing filing system (or non-existing filing system) but you also don’t seem to find the time to declutter and restructure your digital filing system?

If yes, then this short video might be for you.

Because there is a way to get at least your most important files organized and to clean up digital clutter without using any extra time.

You think that’s not possible? Well listen in – or continue reading below – and then let me know in the comments what you think.

While in Switzerland I met with one of my clients and she was complaining, well not complaining, but she was talking to me about her digital clutter. How she’s overwhelmed, what a big chaos it is, and that she has to go through it all, clean it up, and organize it but that she never finds the time…

Can you relate?

She asked me for advice and I suggested: Rather than trying to organize and declutter her huge digital jumble bumble, why not think first how she could organize it. How would she want to have it organized in the future, like what categories she would want to have, for example, organized by client, organized by year, organized by month, etc.

So I have talked about this before mainly with decluttering paper. It’s the concept of setting up a structure and/or filing system first, and only then, as a second step, starting to go through the files, decluttering them and filing the ones to keep into the new structure.

Same concept here, I suggested she sets up her new structure first, a few new digital folders and then every time she is working on one of her projects, and she has to go into her jumble of digital files, once she finds the file, to then move it over into her new structure right away.

This does not really need any extra time and then this file is where it belongs, in the new structure. If she does that for a little while she will also figure out if she likes her new structure or if she needs to make changes to it.

If changes are necessary it’s not a big deal also because there are not that many files in the new structure yet. But over time, she

  • a) has her new structure exactly how she wants it and
  • b) her most important and most used files are saved there too without any extra effort.

This way she actually does not have to find extra time to go through her files and declutter them, she’s doing it in the process of her daily work that she does anyway.

Then after a while, it might be a few weeks it might be a few months, she has extracted and moved over all the important files and at that point, she can make a more informed decision whether she really needs and wants to go through all the old files and declutter and restructure them.

It might very well be that she then decides to just simply backing up all these old files and keep them in a safe place for a little while longer. (–> read here about how to back up important documents). 

Eventually, she might find that she has never looked at any of these files again for months or years and that she can delete them.

What do you think? Could this strategy help you clean up digital clutter, organize and restructure your  files without the usual overwhelm? Let me know in the comments below.

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