a few colleagues and myself were talking about our winter break and someone mentioned an idea they heard regarding decluttering your life. the plan was to throw away 50 things each month. i live a fairly spartan existence when it comes to those types of things, but i wondered if that also applied to the desktop. another colleague quickly called this ‘digital hoarding’ and it happens all the time. it got me thinking about some of the first signs of digital hoarders and i’ve come up with two sure signs that organization may have broken down:
- the desktop that is tiled with files and folders – i am of the belief (perhaps wrongly so) that the idea of putting items on your desktop is that you can quickly put your fingers on them when you need them. when the desktop becomes so cluttered, it ceases to fulfill this function. much like the conventional ‘desk’ top, it falls in to a state where it is unusable.
- the inbox that has hundreds of old emails – i had issues with this one for a while, i wanted to keep certain emails to remind me to get tasks done, but when the email list is so long, the reminders were lost, hence no longer reminding me. i made some hard decisions about using folders and archiving and things are much better now 🙂
there must be other examples as well. it’s too easy to add, add, add to your computer and lack a consistent organizational strategy. when i think about my tech saavy friends, they have no trouble negotiating this clutter and making sense and order out of it. much like cleaning out a desk drawer, these friends can easily manipulate and sort through what is on their computer. conversely, my friends and colleagues that aren’t as tech saavy aren’t able to cope with the clutter and the lack of organization often contributes to their resentment of ‘technology’. i think they are unable to see how smoothly and efficiently it can be with some digital organizational strategies. there’s a book idea in there somewhere.