– Get your inbox under control
I take my inbox super seriously. For me, and I think a lot of people are like this, an inbox is more than just emails. It’s invitations to meetings/events, important follow ups, questions that need to be answered, and even a way to stay in touch with friends. My inbox even serves as a sort of to-do list.
I think maintaining your inbox is one of the first things you can do to send a (digital) professional first impression. Of course, every email has it’s own priority so there’s no one size fits all when it comes to response time… but I think you should set some personal guidelines when it comes to responding. I like to read emails as they come and “star” the emails I need to respond to. I personally try to get back to those emails by the end of the day if they’re super important, within three days if they’re not time sensitive, and definitely within a week no matter what.
Last year, I discovered and absolutely fell in love with an app called Carousel. It backed up my camera roll to my Dropbox account. Well, they’re shutting down Carousel. (I’ve received at least fifteen emails from panicked readers about what to do that it’s shutting down!) The good– actually great– news is that now it’s just under one app: Dropbox. It’s the exact same thing but now it’s just part of the Dropbox app. And it actually seems to work a lot faster from what I can see, which is a huge bonus. Having a backup in “the cloud” is a huge relief. I can access those photos from wherever– my computer, my phone, and really any device with an internet connection.
Now, deleting photos off my phone… this is somewhere where I still need a lot of work. I have a habit of taking hundreds of photos on my phone and then forgetting to delete them, even if they’re backed up on Dropbox. I try to go through my phone when I have down time, like riding on the subway. But I still forget and then weeks go by and my phone is lagging with thousands of photos. I need to go through and organize the photos I want to keep in folders on my phone… and I need to go through and delete the ones that are backed up and I don’t need! Consistently.
(Hold me to it!)
Last year I had serious laptop issues. I ended up buying a new laptop, but the process of trying to make my old laptop work gave me great strategies for keeping my digital files organized. It makes a HUGE difference in how I work. Now I’m not worried about losing files due to computer failure (it happens!) or being without a file that I really need.
The process is pretty simple, but at the very top level… I don’t save any files to my computer. Everything is saved to an external hard drive and then the files I think I may need (photos for a blog post in the future, a PDF I want to keep on hand to email) are then backed up to Dropbox.
It sounds cumbersome, but it really made a huge difference in my work flow. I no longer need to be by my laptop to send a file. I don’t even have to bring my laptop to have all my files with me. I do have to travel with my hard drive, but the little guy is tiny and takes up as much room as the laptop charger itself.
– Organize your apps
This is a quick challenge. I always like to start organizing with something small. So if the thought of going through files and photos to backup is giving you anxiety…. this is the best thing to start with! I tend to download apps thinking they’re great and I end up never using them. Going through and deleting the ones you don’t need will free up so much space on your phone. I also recommend creating folders on your home screen. It makes everything so much cleaner and you only have to scroll through one or two pages on your phone to quickly find what you need!