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20 Jun

Clean up a mess when you stumble upon it anyway


Datum: 2017-06-20 19:43

Our stor­age spaces and the amount of mate­ri­als we save there can get out of hand so eas­i­ly. Sud­den­ly there is more of every­thing every­where — dig­i­tal doc­u­ments is just one exam­ple. We save away and save some more, cre­ate new ones and add to the rest. What­ev­er loca­tion we save them in gets more doc­u­ments added to it by the day — new and old, some tem­porar­i­ly prac­ti­cal and some cru­cial in the long-run.

Even if we usu­al­ly search for the doc­u­ments we need to find (and there­fore don’t often poke around in the fold­ers or loca­tions they are saved in), we some­times have to stop for a minute to fig­ure out which one of the sev­en almost iden­ti­cal­ly named files that the search locat­ed for us or that are in the same fold­er, that is the right one. We hes­i­tate, guess and open one of them. Nope, that wasn’t the one. Per­haps it is the one next to the first? Yes, that was it.

Come to a sud­den halt
We are held up in our progress and even if we do not have to be mov­ing at full speed all day long, we can get frus­trat­ed by hav­ing to stop in the mid­dle of our task and look for the mate­r­i­al we need. I would per­son­al­ly rather take a break when I choose to, than be made to stop the flow I was in due to this small glitch.

A lit­tle and often, instead of a lot and never
It will always ben­e­fit you if you remove the files that are no longer rel­e­vant and up-do-date since you will find those that are faster, but how often can we make time for clean­ing out the old? When does sort­ing and clean­ing amongst our files and fold­ers ever get high­ly pri­or­i­tized? Prob­a­bly not until the sit­u­a­tion becomes unbear­able, when the mess becomes so immense that it reduce our pos­si­bil­i­ties to do our job and accom­plish the goals we are respon­si­ble for. I’m guess­ing that is when the task Clean out old files” becomes both urgent and important.

And it’s about time. Until this moment, before the mess in our dig­i­tal stor­age sys­tem got to the brink of com­plete melt­down, we have suf­fered and been frus­trat­ed regard­ing the tedious and annoy­ing steeple­chase we have been run­ning try­ing to find the right file amongst all the wrong ones.

But if we do a quick-clean” in the fold­er we are open­ing some­thing from when we are there any­way, we will improve our sit­u­a­tion ever so slight­ly, but still lit­tle by lit­tle make our fold­er struc­ture tidi­er with­out exert­ing much effort.

Do this
If you want to find the doc­u­ments you are look­ing for a lit­tle faster from now on, do this:

  1. Decide to do a quick sweep when you are brows­ing through fold­ers while search­ing for doc­u­ments dur­ing the next week ahead. So, when you are in” a fold­er on your own com­put­er, on a com­mon file serv­er, in OneDrive, in Drop­box, in GoogleDrive or some oth­er loca­tion in which you keep files and doc­u­ments — before you leave the fold­er after hav­ing found what you were look­ing for, take a quick look around and see if there is any (if only one) file that you could remove. When you ini­tial­ly saved the file, you thought that it would be use­ful to you. But as time has passed and things have changed, you know that it is no longer relevant.

  2. Remove the document.

  3. Take anoth­er quick look. Are there any more you could get rid of while you are at it?

  4. When a week has passed from now, reflect for a minute if you have got­ten rid of more doc­u­ments than you oth­er­wise would have. If this new habit of micro-clean­ing made a dif­fer­ence, sim­ply con­tin­ue doing it.

Find it with ease
If you do a quick sweep for files you can remove in any loca­tions you pass through when look­ing for files, you will even­tu­al­ly have few­er irrel­e­vant and out­dat­ed doc­u­ments obscur­ing your view of rel­e­vant mate­r­i­al. You might not get around to going through every place and fold­er where you store infor­ma­tion and doc­u­ments, but you will get to have a look at the places you vis­it most fre­quent­ly. And even if the effort may be small, the effect will be sig­nif­i­cant. If you take this tip to heart, you do not have to set aside time for clean­ing out your fold­ers, and you will get the great feel­ing derived from throw­ing away the obso­lete, which is rea­son enough to get right to it if you ask me.

What is your method?
How do you grad­u­al­ly get rid of dig­i­tal items block­ing the view of the rel­e­vant doc­u­ments? Share your tip and expe­ri­ence if you want in a com­ment below. 

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