Day 6 of the Digital Declutter Challenge
In Day 5 of the Digital Declutter Challenge, we decluttered our desktop VISUALLY. For Day 6 of the Digital Declutter Challenge, we are going to start the process of decluttering the layers underneath the visual desktop. The challenge for today will only be 15 minutes. Hopefully, this will be the inspiration for a goal of a completely decluttered and organized digital filing system! Remember, for any organizational system to work, it has to work for YOU. The point is that YOU are able to retrieve and find things easily and in less time. So let’s get started with how to declutter and organize your digital files.
Where to Start: Decluttering your Digital Files
Because your digital filing system is much like a physical paper system, this is a BIG task! We have so many files and downloads and documents stored on our computer. So for the 15 minutes challenge, I want you to pick 1 one of your Anchor Folders from Day 5 of the Digital Declutter Challenge. Anchor folders are 3-5 BIG categories on your desktop. I have four anchor folders on my desktop: “Family”, “Work”, “Blog” and “Current Projects.” These Anchor folders help to keep my desktop uncluttered and not overwhelming. They also help me to stay focused on one area of work at a time so I don’t get distracted.
Your First 15 minutes: Pick One Anchor Folder
For the 15 minute challenge today, pick 1 Anchor Folder. If you followed Day 5, this folder is probably going to be a mess! That’s ok. You are going to start creating order. Quickly look over the files and folders in here and start creating “sub-folders.” For example, in my MAIN Anchor Folder of Family, my first sub folders are: “Medical”, “Pets”, “School”, “Army”, “Important Documents”, “Financial”, and “Kids.” I would suggest no more than 10-12 of these categories. You are creating a system of easy retrieval for you AND for someone else if ever anything happens to you! For the remainder of your time, start assigning your files to these created categories and DELETING any unnecessary files.
Continuing After the Challenge
To continue organizing and decluttering your digital files, you would simply keep assigning files to subfolders within your anchor folders. If you have a particular folder that needs even more specific sub-folders, go for it! Make sure that you are labeling these folders in a way that you will remember what is in there. REMEMBER! The whole point is to make it easy to find something, not more complicated. No one is judging you on your “perfect” system. The point is to make it workable for you and your life.
I hope my this challenge can propel you from the macro level of organization to the micro level. To dive deeper into what files you should keep and what files you should delete, I highly recommend the book: In Case You Get Hit by a Bus: How to Organize Your Life Now for When You’re Not Around Later. In this book, the authors Abby Schneiderman and Adam Seifer go into great detail about what paperwork is necessary to keep, how long you need to keep it, and what paperwork is not important. My review of the book is included here.