Todays technology has the ability to make our lives so much more efficient, but unfortunately for most of us it has become a real drain on the time we have each day. Whether at work or your own personal time, how much time each day do we spend searching for that document or photo we know we have somewhere?
I know in my profession that I can receive between 50 and 100 emails a day. Trying to find certain emails from a client used to be a daunting task until I organized my whole email system. I found the easiest way for myself was to make up a mailbox for each one, now instead of searching through endless emails I can just go directly to their folder and only see the ones that pertain to them. The other thing that I found that really saves me a lot of time is to only check my email three or times a day, if I stopped what I was doing every time an email came in then I would never get any work done. I found the best practice for myself was to go through all the incoming emails first thing in the morning and deleting all the junk mail and responding to all the necessary ones right away then filing them where they belong, then at the end of my day I take five to ten minutes and clear it out again. The other important thing to do is to unsubscribe to all of those emails that you get from stores or old clubs that keep sending you specials that you have no interest in anymore, if it doesn't bring value to your life then its just clutter.
For myself these steps have saved me so much time and headaches trying to find what I need, hopefully it will work for you too.
As we all know our digital devices come with all kinds of apps downloaded on them when we buy them, most of which we never will use. Why not just get rid of all the useless apps? When I got my new IPhone it came with three screens worth of apps on it, by getting rid of all the apps that I would never use, I was able to get it down to one screen, now all of the ones that I use are available to me when I open my phone. The same goes for my laptop, I now only have six folders on the side of my desktop and the programs that I use frequently at the bottom. Now I can actually see the nice picture that I have displayed as my background.
Photos and Music:
Where did I get all of these photos? Its unbelievable how many photos my wife and I have taken on our cameras and our phones. We had probably 3000 pictures from trips and family events that we had taken. Once we started going through them we were able to get it down to about 600, only keeping the pictures that brought joy to our lives, made a couple of backup copies just in case and then went and purchased a couple of digital frames, so now we can actually see them instead of them being hidden on our computer.
The same goes for our phones, its unbelievable how many pictures you can take because its is so convenient now, and the quality of pictures that the new phones have is pretty amazing. But once you start going through them you find out just how many of them just weren't what you expected. I just ended up putting them in folders so that now when I want to show someone a picture it doesn't all that time trying to find it.
Music can be another source of clutter and distraction. Over the years I have downloaded thousands of songs, but as time goes bye my tastes in music have changed. I ended up discarding all of those songs that I usually skip over or ones I didn't like because they were just part of the album I had purchased. Then I made up several playlists, so depending on my mood or situation I could just pick one. (Nothing worse than having a client with you and having a heavy metal song come on).
When it comes to digital clutter this is just the tip of the iceberg. There is so much more information online if you want to delve deeper into it, I have found that since I have decluttered all my digital devices that I have saved so much time and anxiety trying to find what I am looking for.
The only other thing I could recommend is to take a digital sabbatical, if even for an hour a day. It is so nice not to have to worry about checking for updates or returning that text if even for a little while. So shut that phone off and go and do something you enjoy.
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