To get hyper focused on business goals and life goals, I’m in de-clutter mode. This mode is impacted greatly because I also work from home. A kitchen with dirty dishes and a floor lined with dirty clothes hangs over my head. Sometimes it’s easy to sit in my modest 40 sq ft office space (in my living room) and just FOCUS. But more times than not it’s incredibly hard when you know this needs to be done and that needs to be done.
As a side note, aside from “getting out” every so often, it’s invaluable to work with “mastermind partners” so you can hold each other accountable to your designated task. I have a mastermind blog-writing partner and a mastermind business-minded partner.
Why I unsubscribed from every email list except those directly aligned with my business goals
I think the biggest culprit to digital clutter is email. To UNclutter I just UNsubscribed from about 30 emails—five of which I hated to do but know I need to in order to allow my eyes time to read the most important emails that will be the most influential and guide me on a path of learning to support my business goals. Today another two popped in that I unsubscribed from.
There are only so many hours in a day and each distraction keeps you from fulfilling your current task, ultimately delaying achieving your goals. I decided to tackle email first. I unsubscribed from any and every email that I don’t love or doesn’t fit in direct alignment with what I want to achieve. I categorized the remaining emails by professional interest/goals: design, branding, training, web development, business, professional services I use, and clients.
I’ll continue subscribing to
- Design/Web Development/Branding
- Lynda.com (highly recommend if you’re looking to learn ANY type of software!)
- Professional Services I Use
- And client email of course!!
Interestingly what question this raises, as a marketing person, is how do you become a business that people won’t unsubscribe from? From the example I’m working with, I think it’s being very niche so that you speak directly to your core audience and they love you. This means of course, that you won’t appeal to the masses and you should be okay with that so that you can focus on what you do superbly and grow your hardcore fan base knowing you’re providing insanely valuable content.
I currently have one external hard drive that does an entire backup of my computer via Time Machine, Apple’s backup software. You have to use it cautiously though because eventually it will delete the oldest file to make room for the newest. I’m planning to purchase another external hard drive to synchronize with my client folders on a frequent schedule and handy software to keep this streamlined is Qdea’s Synchronize! Pro X recommended by my boyfriend. You could also partition one external hard drive to serve both purposes but I decided I’ll easily go through one, even at 1 TB.
Social Media & Photos
Facebook and other social media are more “cloud” clutter than digital clutter but nonetheless suck you in and prevent you from focusing. You know what I mean—you go to one of these sites with a specific goal—read the FB email, locate a phone number, etc. and then before you get to that, someone’s post piques your interest and 30 minutes later you forgot why you went there in the first place.
The best way is to avoid the “suck in” is to designate x-minutes a day so you can freely peruse, eavesdrop, or “engage” and when you need to drop in to locate a name or email you can stay focused and get out of there quickly.
Photos should be cataloged into folders that make sense to you. You can start with year > month, and then keyword subfolder so you know what’s inside. Relying solely on Dropbox or other cloud storage is risky and should not be your only copy of photos (if you hope to have them forever).
Digital Clutter that Binds Us
The only solution to keeping clutter at bay is to be disciplined to maintain whatever “system” works for you before it has a chance to collect digital dust. This is easy to conceptualize and hard to maintain. Aiming to stick to a monthly or bi-monthly schedule is ideal. Good luck!