Trustworthy guide: Organize Your Digital Space for 2023
In this era of technology, your digital space is your second home. Although your virtual home does not require dusting and vacuuming, its organization and maintenance is just as important.
Digital space commonly refers to anything that is displayed on a screen. Therefore, materials in your digital products, like a phone, computer, tablet, or laptop make up your digital space. To put it simply, your devices are like the closet, storage room, garage, and pantry. The files, photos, emails, movie downloads, and apps are the items in your closet you are trying to declutter and organize.
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Benefits of Organizing Your Digital Space
Some of you may be thinking “why should I waste time decluttering my digital space when no one can physically see the mess?” The benefits include:
1. Free Digital Real Estate
Deleting unnecessary files will free up more storage space for things you actually need. It might even save you money on cloud storage fees.
2. Fewer Distractions
Having your items in the right place reduces the chances of you stumbling upon irrelevant information that may distract you when searching for something specific.
3. More Time
Spending less time finding the things you need helps you get your work done faster and frees up more of your day.
4. Increase Productivity and Efficiency
An organized digital space allows less information to catch your eye throughout the day, keeping you focused and on track.
5. Decrease Stress
Searching for things you can’t find can be stressful, especially when in a time crunch. Organizing your digital space can reduce stress along with search time.
6. Improve Device Performance
As cleaning your home can make the space feel bigger, decluttering your devices can also make them feel like they are performing faster.
7. Feeling Accomplished
After organizing your digital space, you will feel refreshed and in control of another aspect of your life.
Before we dive into organizing each part of your digital space, here are some general tips to keep in mind:
Back up your devices. Gather your laptop, computer, phone, tablets, and other devices and back up their current state. That way, you will have copies of your information in case you delete something important.
Set aside some time. This process may be overwhelming and time consuming, therefore it’s best to break it up and take it step-by-step.
Pick one process and stick with it. Whatever organization or label method you choose, stick with it. Combining multiple methods may end up being more confusing.
Disconnect unnecessary services. Take a glance at everything and unsubscribe from newsletters and subscription services or delete accounts and apps that are no longer in use.
Now let’s get started on Marie Kondo-ing your digital space!
Emails are often a key source of stress. They can flood your inbox faster than you can open and read them.
1. Separate Your Accounts
It is best to have a few different email addresses with specific uses, like one for professional or work use, another for personal use, and then a leisure account for things like shopping. Separating your accounts will minimize the pressure of opening every single email while helping you prioritize urgent or work-related ones.
2. Consolidate Your Accounts
If you have more than three or four email accounts already, take a look at all of them to see where you can consolidate the accounts and delete ones that are unnecessary. Eliminating non-active accounts can reduce the risk of hackers exploiting your information. You can also use disposable or temporary email accounts for non-important tasks to avoid clogging your inbox in the future while also reducing your risk of being hacked.
3. Create Labels and Folders
Every email provider offers different tools to help you organize your inbox. Generally speaking, most providers offer a folder system that filters the emails for you and files it into a label of your choice whether that be “urgent,” “bills,” or “wedding.” For example, in Gmail you can go to settings -> labels -> ‘create new label’ and start organizing your inbox!
4. FAST System
To keep your inbox clean moving forward, try and instill the habit of FAST:
Assign and forward it to someone else
Store it or archive it for future use
5. Schedule a Time
Your inbox will have a continuous flow of incoming emails. Therefore, it is important to review your emails regularly to ensure messages don't build up and stress you out. Set aside 10 minutes a day or maybe 30 minutes a week to do a general review and cleanup of your inbox.
Seeing a million different files on your desktop can be an unpleasant sight. Logging into your computer each morning and spending another 30 minutes digging through them each time you’re looking for important information is another frustrating experience.
The time you spend now to organize your files will be well worth your investment.
1. Understand the Purpose and Goal
Before you jump in and organize your files, ask yourself:
Who will have access to these files?
Who needs to understand the filing system?
How can you determine the success of the filing system?
2. Establish a Filing System
Everyone’s brain and logic flows differently. It is important to establish a system that makes sense to your life and organizational preferences.
Common systems include:
Past, Current, and Future files further broken down to annual or monthly.
Personal and Professional files further broken down to projects and topics.
3. Consistent Filing Naming
Now that you have a filing system in place, having a file naming system is equally important.
Make sure that the names are coherent, descriptive, and consistent. It’s important to keep the names short and simple but to provide enough relevant context that you don’t have to open each file to make sure it is the one you’re looking for. Including dates, version numbers, or even emojis can be great ways to sort and name the files.
4. Minimize File Storage
Delete duplicates or old versions of files that are no longer necessary. Oftentimes, we have an in-process file like a word document but export a PDF version. Prioritize storing the in-process files and deleting the exported final one, if it is not commonly used.
It is important to protect your digital assets while keeping them accessible in case of emergency. Trustworthy is the perfect place to store this information as we encrypt your data and protect it from breaches and threats.
The next step is organizing your cloud or external storage site. Having a backup storage location is always a good idea as things can get deleted or devices can be missing or damaged.
1. Determine a Backup Option
Cloud or external storage options each have their pros and cons; you can decide which one may be the best for you or you may even choose to use both.
2. Centralize Your Backups
With so many different cloud storage providers like Google Drive, Dropbox, and iCloud, you may have random bits of information stored here and there. It’s best to condense and centralize your information so you don’t have to look through each one to find something. Choose one that is easy to use and universally accessible or compatible with others to reduce friction when transferring or sharing files with others.
Trustworthy is the perfect personal backup option for your day-to-day life. If you use Trustworthy, you can add your partner to your Trustworthy account to collaborate on specific sections like property and finances. You can also invite additional collaborators, like financial advisors and accountants, and give them permission to update and organize important documents.
1. Set Up Different Profiles
Some browsers like Google Chrome, Microsoft Edge, and Mozilla Firefox offer a feature to let users create different profiles when using a web browser. The browser functions as normal, but it allows you to keep your browsing history, bookmarks, favorites, and passwords etc separate.
These profiles are especially useful if multiple people share a computer or you do all of your personal and professional work on the same device. You no longer need to worry about your personal information being exposed while sharing your screen during a meeting.
2. Use Browser Bookmarks
If you haven’t already, start bookmarking sites you visit frequently for easy access. If you only have a few bookmarks, they can be beautifully displayed and accessible at the top of your browser. However, if you start to notice that you have a lot of bookmarks, start creating folders for different categories like news, design inspiration, business, and blogs.
Don’t forget to go through your bookmarks periodically to delete the ones that you no longer visit frequently.
For many people, their phone is their personal sanctuary and an essential part of their day-to-day lives, both personally and professionally. Therefore, having a decluttered phone can be beneficial to one's mood and overall mental state.
1. Delete Apps
Go ahead and delete the apps that you don’t use, especially if you have limited phone storage. For example, if you only use YouTube once a week, it may be better to visit it via mobile browser instead of occupying storage space.
If you’re not sure whether or not to delete an app, put the app in a folder and give yourself a set time of a few weeks or months to determine whether it is useful or not. If you do not use it at that time, you can delete it without worrying about whether you will need it.
2. Create Folders for Apps
For someone with more than 3 or 4 pages of apps, it may be difficult to search and locate the one you want. Creating folders with labels like Work, Social Media, Games Health, Finances, and Travel may be a good way to sort them.
3. Text Threads, Contacts, and Voicemails
Delete old text threads like confirmation codes, SMS marketing, and unknown numbers. It is particularly helpful to remove ones that occupy a lot of storage space, like ones containing images and videos
Similarly delete old or unknown contacts and voicemail messages that are irrelevant.
4. Push Notifications
One of the main distractors of our phones are the notifications. Although there is usually a Do Not Disturb option, sometimes you still need the important messages to come through. Therefore, go through your settings and disable all of the non-essential notifications from apps that you don’t prioritize.
Calendars are excellent tools to help keep you organized. However, with the wrong organization method, your calendar can end up being confusing and overwhelming to use.
1. Category System
Depending on what your current calendar use looks like, you may want to have different calendars for different aspects of your life. For example, if your manager or co-worker requires you to sync your work calendar with them to find an appropriate meeting time, you may not want them to see your personal events as well.
2. Color Coordinating
If syncing your calendar is not a concern and you prefer having one calendar for everything, consider color coordinating the events for different aspects of your life. For example, work related events are blue, family events are red, and friends are green. You can also apply the color system differently, like using different colors for urgent tasks, birthdays/ anniversaries, and to dos.
3. Delete Events
Go through your calendars to delete any irrelevant or old recurring events, like the birthday of an ex or monthly meetings from a previous job.
4. Important Reminders
This is also a great time to include any important reminders that you haven’t had the chance to include yet, like car inspection, renewing your passport, and changing the water filter.
If you use Trustworthy, you don’t need to set a calendar reminder for these logistics. Once you upload your passport and driver’s license, Trustworthy will add an automated reminder for you to renew them. You can also add additional reminders – like changing the water filter, updating the car insurance, or scheduling a vet appointment – to your dashboard.
Photos may require a lot of time and energy to organize, but the process will be much more enjoyable as you scroll down memory lane.
Take these steps to organize your photos:
Delete duplicates of photos, random screenshots, or old irrelevant photos.
After deleting photos, go through your recently deleted and delete those to free up storage space.
Archive photos you don’t look at often but still want to keep in a cloud. This keeps them safe in case anything happens to your phone and reduces the risk of personal photos falling into the wrong hands
Create albums to sort your photos. This can be through date, theme, location, or people.
Do you have old pictures of documents? Like a picture of your wifi router’s username and password, the business card of a landscaping service, or one of your water filters to remind you what day to change it?
Keeping pictures of your important documents like driver’s license and passport in your phone may be convenient in case of emergencies, but it is risky in case your device is lost or stolen. Trustworthy can help. Store a digital copy of these assets in Trustworthy, where your data is tokenized, protected by two-factor authentication, and encrypted to ensure your information is safe but still easily accessible by you and your loved ones.
You are almost finished organizing your digital life!
Decreasing social media use is often a popular New Year’s resolution. If you’re going to limit your time on the apps, you should optimize that time to make sure that only the type of content you are interested in is your feed.
Unfollow accounts you no longer want to see and remove followers that you deem irrelevant.
If you don’t want to unfollow an account but you also don’t care about the content, you can mute their stories and posts.
Archive and delete posts, and untag yourself from posts that you no longer want.
Limit or turn off notifications that can be distracting.
Delete or create a new account if you find this process too overwhelming.
Social media can be very toxic. By organizing your accounts to set more boundaries, you can create a healthier relationship with social media without having to cut off use of it completely.
Trustworthy can help
Trustworthy protects your personal documents, manages your passwords, organizes your assets, and reminds you of important dates so you don’t have to. Use Trustworthy to invite collaborators, send secure links to view your important documents, and manage your household with the Family Operating SystemⓇ. Start your free trial today!