Are you a digital hoarder?

De-cluttering and going minimalistic is increasingly popular these days, and for good reason: the feeling of peace and contentment one invariably feels when having only the things you actually need and use regularly is life changing. What about your digital world?

The email inbox, photo/ cloud storage is usually not the first area that comes to mind when it comes to de-cluttering. There is nevertheless a strong yet often unnoticed connection between the avid consumption and storage of online content and the amount of exhaustion and frustration we feel in our daily lives.

Until a year, I only used Gmail’s free storage plan for my personal documents/ photos. The problem with digital photos is that because they are no longer limited by existing on film, we snap pic after pic. I once discovered about 30 photos my youngest had taken, of her toe or the sofa. At some point, I had several Gmail addresses for various interests or projects.

I have since started using the business suite from Google, called Google Workspace, that in addition to having 30GB of storage in its GDrive, offers Google Meet and other apps. As part of streamlining my business processes, I also use a CRM and other tools . Read more here.

Here are a few easy tips to bring some order in your digital life:

1.Consolidate your photos in one place, then make a backup. If your only photo storage is the free Google photo, be warned as they are going to remove the free unlimited photo storage at a “good enough resolution.” Make sure you backup your photos before June 2021, and have a second place you store your photos, preferably cloud based. For many of us, photos from long ago are invaluable, even though we do not “use” them nearly enough.

2. Organize your photos and delete duplicates, create folders by year/ theme, and consider setting up a system to look at them more often. You could print some of your favorites, use a digital frame that rotates them, use them as a screensaver on your Apple TV. I know grandparents who live far away love seeing updated stills of their grandkids.

3. Do you collect digital courses? ( Many of us do, but here’s the thing: the courses won’t help you unless you actually use them. ) Consider organizing them in a file, for easier access. Or you could simply create a folder in which to save all the resources related to them, together with a game plan for actually using those courses.

4. Clear your desktop of random files. Do you also save your random downloads or screenshots on your desktop? If you do, you probably have 354 files cluttering your desktop right now. If you use a Mac, that actually takes up space on your ICloud and will eventually slow down your computer. Once a month, take a few minutes to clear your desktop and at the end, remember me and sigh with contentment!

5. Streamline your email.

Do you have thousands of unread emails? I once heard of someone who never read their emails, and once in a while would just open another email altogether. That is not a recommended way to run your business. ( !!!)

Have you heard of Inbox zero? Or you could use Streak. If you use a CRM like Dubsado, you can actually do most of your client emails from there instead. If you lack the time to research the best method or yet another tool, you can at least go to your email, organize the important ones in folders, delete the useless ones, archive the ones that you may need in the future but which have been taken care of.

What will happen once you get rid of digital clutter?

Your mind will feel more at ease. You will get more clarity. And you will be much more efficient in whatever you work on.

So what are you waiting for? Get started streamlining your digital life. And once you finish, tag me on your Instagram @ancagooje and I will send you a surprise resource!

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