In the March edition of "Your Simply Organized Life" I shared a bit more about my New Year's Resolution to keep my e-mail in-boxes near zero.
Electronic clutter, particularly e-mail, is very much like paper in that it just keeps coming at us.
Here are some super simple tips to organize your electronic files:
1) Automate Backups
Let's face it...stuff happens. Backing up your electronic files is the first step in getting organized electronically. Most people are not very good about backing up their files regularly, so buy lunch for your favorite techie (or hire a computer service company, such as on Main Street in Dexter) and have them set up automated backup. This can be done with an external hard drive or a cloud solution such as CrashPlan or Carbonite.
2) Set Up Electronic File Folders
Although search features have come a long way, I still recommend setting up electronic file folders that mirror your paper file folders (assuming those are in good order, if not, I can help). The vast majority of us need file folders in our e-mail program as well as on the drive where we keep other electronic files. For digital photos, set up file folders based on how the photos will be used (i.e. by subject or time).
3) Delete Early and Often
While a ton of files on your computer is not exactly like a cluttered desk, the key issue in both cases is retrievability. The only reason to keep anything (electronic or otherwise) is to be able to somehow use it or refer to it in the future. The more you let go of, the easier it will be to find what you really need.
Carolyn Anderson-Fermann is a public speaker, organizing expert and founder of Simply Organized Life. For more organizing tips and Carolyn's free "Secrets of a Simply Organized Life" report, sign up for the April 2012 edition of "Your Simply Organized Life".