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Clean Out Your Computer Files

Clean Out Your Computer Files

Your computer files need the same regular maintenance as your paper files. Set a time quarterly or twice a year to go through your hard drive and delete unnecessary files and “file” other files you need to keep. Delete that chicken casserole recipe that your family hated and the files from a client you haven't worked with in 10 years and free up precious space on your computer.

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Cleanup the Computer: Organize Your Files

Cleanup the Computer: Organize Your Files

You’ve heard about how important it is to have a good filing system (one that works for you) for your paperwork. Did you know that it is equally important to organize your digital files? Yep, it is! And storing a lot of your files on the desktop of your computer is not always the most efficient way.

 

Cleanup the Computer: Empty the Trash

Cleanup the Computer: Empty the Trash

When was the last time you emptied your computer’s trash can or your email junk mail file? If you are like most people, it’s probably been awhile. Don’t let these unwanted files and messages clog up your valuable harddrive space. Take a minute and get those trash cans empty! (Bonus points if you clean out old texts on your phone)

Now you will have more room on  your computer for the things that are really important like the digital copy of the latest Hunger Games movie.

Protect Your Email With a Junk Email Account

Protect Your Email With a Junk Email Account

Set up a junk email account (think Gmail or Yahoo) for online mailing lists, coupons and shopping. This will protect your primary email account in case your email falls into the hands of a spammer.

 

Organize Your Email With Folders

Organize Your Email With Folders

Now that you’ve deleted all of those unneeded emails what should you do with the rest. How about filing them just like you would a piece of paper or a Word document? Most email programs will allow you to create folders. Different mail providers call them different things - Gmail calls them labels, Mac Mail calls them Mailboxes and Outlook calls them folders. You can create a folder for all the emails from your boss or one for all the emails about your son’s Boy Scout troop. Folders are one way to easily find that email you need when you need it. And if you know me, you know that is my definition of organized!

 

Managing Email Overload

Managing Email Overload

Let’s talk email. How many emails are in your inbox right now? 100, 500, 1000? Or is your email box so full you need to get a new gmail account just to function.

 

If you’re inbox is full of emails you’ll never need again (and let’s be honest, that’s most emails), I am going to challenge you to spend 10 minutes every day this week deleting as many emails as possible. Start with the emails you’ve received and work backwards. Another way to do this quickly is to sort your emails by the From field. Then you can quickly bulk delete all of those advertising emails from Sam’s Club or Amazon.

 

Another way to keep the size of your inbox under the control is to unsubscribe from all those junk emails and e-newsletters you know longer care about. All of these types of emails should have an unsubscribe button usually at the top or bottom of the email. Take a little time as you are deleting those emails and unsubscribe.

 

Organizing Your Digital Life: Have a Backup Plan

Organizing Your Digital Life: Have a Backup Plan

No matter how organized or unorganized your digital life is, you need to have a backup plan. What would happen if your laptop was stolen at the airport or you dropped your phone in the toilet? Would your files and pictures be lost forever? It’s possible and this is why it is so important to have a plan to backup your digital files.

There are a couple of ways you can back up your laptop files:

1. To the cloud - whether you use iCloud, Carbonite or Dropbox - backing up your files to the cloud allows you to access your files in case of computer failure or loss. Trust me, I once had a major corruption on one of my laptops and I was instantly able to restore everything by using the restore feature on Carbonite. It was the best money I had ever spent on technology. Most of these programs will save changed files automatically so once you’ve done the backup the first time, you don’t have to think about it again.

2. A hard copy - You can also backup your computer using an external hard drive or even CDs or USB drives. These are great if your laptop becomes corrupted; however what if your home is broken into and the computer and the attached hard drive are stolen. Then you are out of luck. One way to deal with this is to have multiple back up options (meaning several hard drives or sets of CDs). Keep one copy off site (say at your mom’s or the office) at all times. It may not be the most recent version of your files but something is better than nothing.

I am a multiple backup kind of girl. I use Carbonite to backup everything on my laptop, my photos (and my husband’s) are instantly uploaded to Dropbox whenever we are connected to our home wi-fi. I also copy my pictures annually onto a CD for an extra step of safekeeping.

So many people I talk to don’t back up any of their files on a regular basis. This really makes me sad because it is very cheap, very easy and will save you a great deal of headache and frustration in the future. Please make your backup plan today!

How do you backup your important files?