Spring has sprung! While spring cleaning is a tradition usually meant for the home, we recommend you expand the tradition to include your workspace, too. Here are four work-related areas that could use some sprucing up at least once a year, and what better time to start than now?
1. Organize Your Emails – Yes, ALL of them!
Email management can feel like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be difficult. Start by clearing out what’s in the back. New emails get the most attention, making it easy to overlook the old, unread emails piling up. Even better, take the time to unsubscribe from email lists that just clog up your inbox and distract from important correspondence. We highly recommend unroll.me to efficiently unsubscribe from any mailing lists. Not only do we recommend this popular office tool, but we also use it ourselves!
Create a filing system using filters and folders. Filters are an easy way to organize your emails into categories such as work, personal, subscriptions, and other services. Google Workspace Learning Center has a wealth of information for all Gmail users. To get started, we recommend their advanced tips article, Automatically Label and Sort Messages, found at https://support.google.com/a/users/answer/9308833. Don’t be daunted by the seemingly many steps Once your system is in place, it’s all smooth sailing. Productivity is only a few automatic filters and labels away!
Look at decluttering your email like running your first marathon, slow and steady wins the race.
2. Declutter Your Workspace
Our workspace can get cluttered by old paperwork, messy drawers, too many sticky notes, and an abundance of dirty coffee mugs. Now is the time to get rid of the junk. Open up that “catch-all” drawer and get to work deciding what you actually need and what can go. Purchase an organizer to give every item its own place.
Is Paper still accumulating on your desk? Gone! If you do need to keep physical documents, create a filing system and store them in a fire and waterproof safe. For other paperwork that’s important, consider taking the necessary time to scan each page and store it as an electronic file on a cloud server. If a printer/scanner isn’t part of your office suite, there are many free smartphone scanner apps that will do the trick.
3. Digital Desktop Organization
Is your desktop covered in icons and screenshots? According to one author (see https://www.desktop.com/article/psychological-effects-of-a-crowded-desktop), an abundance of items on your desktop can increase stress – and can slow down your computer. Here are some quick actions you can take right now to declutter your digital desktop:
- Delete all unnecessary screenshots. Do you remember their importance? No? Gone.
- Right-click and sort icons by type, date, name, or size. For us, organizing by type usually makes the most sense. Then evaluate, delete, and organize into folders.
- Create a daily habit! Before logging off for the day, take a few moments and review your desktop icons.
- As a “last-ditch” method, create a folder called Desktop and dump all the icons and files in there – and save it for later! Just don’t forget it.
Feeling inspired? For those of you who have Windows, we recommend this in-depth article for organizing your desktop into stacks: See https://www.howtogeek.com/355173/how-to-get-macos-mojave-style-desktop-stacks-on-windows/.
4. Logins and Passwords Tools
(Hint: Does not include using sticky notes)
Around 13% of people use the same password for everything, making it easy for hackers to access your entire network. It’s no small feat – creating and remembering unique passwords that are at least eight characters long, contain an uppercase and lowercase letter, at least one number, and a special character that you haven’t used in the last 90 days. That is why VAUSA recommends password managers, such as LastPass (https://www.lastpass.com/), for storing and generating unique passwords.
Spring is a great time to reset and prepare for the busy season ahead. We would love to hear from you about your spring-cleaning experience. Comment below or send us a message!