In some cultures, New Year's Day is a time to clean. I'm a believer that cleaning is essential to being organized. You have to declutter, get rid of junk, otherwise you're left trying to organize it, which is fruitless.
The more stuff you have, the more it weighs on your mind. While many people get this concept in the physical world, they don't always see how it works in the digital world. Think of it the same way you might think of emotional baggage. It can weigh on you even if you it has no mass.
If you have a day or two, or even a few hours, off this week, I highly recommend taking a little time to re-organize something in your digital life that could use a little decluttering, or tackle a clean-up or organization project that you've procrastinated doing.
In my weekly Get Organized column on PCMag.com, I recommended these 10 digital clean-up projects to do before January 1. I'll list them here, but see the full article for more detail and instruction.
- Get a backup service and back up your computers and other devices.
- Run a tuneup utility to make your computer fast again.
- Get a password manager and let it fix your reused passwords, essential for fraud prevention.
- Sweep your inbox by moving old messages to a new folder. You don't have to delete anything. Just move it to a new folder. I bet by March you'll be convinced you don't need any of those old messages and can throw them out.
- Take control of your personal finances; I recommend using the free app and website Mint.com.
- Clean up your phone, and make sure you add emergency contact information to your lock screen.
- Consolidate your digital photos to one service; Flickr has some really good tools for this job.
- Update your LinkedIn profile and resume.
- Run a quick security checkup on your Facebook and Google accounts.
- Clean up your music and podcast playlists.