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Top 5 Tricks To Get Virtually Organized

virtual organization
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We live in a world where virtually everything is virtual and the number of files and emails you can collect in a year is alarming. When you have visions and goals that you plan to see through to fruition, organization is paramount. Though it takes some effort, getting organized isn’t too difficult. The top five tricks for getting organized are simplifying your desktop, enhancing your inbox, e-billing, online management systems, and purchasing the best portable hard drive you can afford.

Simplify, Simplify, Simplify

Saving files to your desktop makes it easy to immediately locate a file. However, it’s not long before you turn on your computer and after waiting a long time, face a cluttered mess. The more files you save on the desktop, the longer it takes your computer to load each of their icons. Now your disorganization isn’t just slowing you down, it’s slowing down your computer too.

The easiest way to fix this is create a few meaningful folders to sort your files into. Some examples include, “Work, Ideas, Research, Photos” etc. Avoid creating meaningless labels like “Miscellaneous” or “Stuff.” Junk folders are just as useless as that junk drawer (or room) in your home. Once you have sorted the documents, create a couple sub-folders to keep your like files together. Don’t be tempted to create too many folders, two or three deep is usually enough to keep things together without losing yourself in the labyrinth of your own organization.

Out With the Messy Inbox – In With Organized E-Bliss

Now that you’ve rediscovered the background on your computer, it’s time to address your email account. Saving emails with helpful information is good; having your inbox loaded with hundreds of emails is not. Most accounts will allow you to create labels that allow you to keep the message active, without clogging up your inbox. Reserve your inbox for items that require action and new emails only. This helps keep you focused without having to scroll through hundreds of messages to find what you’re looking for.

The next step is to fill in some of the blanks in your address book. By building out your contacts (and adding an image from your newly created Photos folder), you’ll be able to add details that you may have otherwise forgotten. Clear out addresses for people you only contacted once along with any name that was added when you synched email account to your phone.

E-Billing – Go Paperless

Making the decision to switch to e-billing is not only better for the environment, it is better for you too. With e-bills, you can sign up for online statements rather than the traditional mail version. This gives you access to your bills faster which means less of a chance of paying the bill late. Now, if you ever need to battle an evil customer service department, all your files are together and you can use ctrl+f to find what you need, rather than a highlighter. You’re most likely to pay the bill online anyway (who carries a checkbook anymore?), so choosing this option will simplify and streamline the bill paying process.

Online Management Systems – Let a Program Do It for You

There are thousands of free sites out there dedicated to keeping you virtually organized. Mint.com is a great site that allows you to sync all of your bank accounts, credit cards, student loans and any other account you put money into. It shows you where you’re spending money, helps you set and achieve savings goals, and alerts you of any unusual spending.

For those of us who do freelance work, there is Freshbooks.com. This site tracks time spent working on specific projects and does all of the invoicing work for you. Another great feature Freshbooks offers is customized invoices that reflect you and your business. Freshbooks is much easier to manage than a bunch of spreadsheets and coffee shop napkins and makes you look more professional too.

While you’re creating those accounts, it might not be a bad idea to check out LastPass.com. These days, we all have multiple logins and passwords and it’s hard to keep track of them all. For security issues, keeping the password the same or stored by your internet browser is never a good idea. Anyone using your computer can access your passwords by clicking on Tools-Security-Saved Passwords. Every password you’ve ever saved will be there for you, or someone else, to see. LastPass offers you a secure way of storing your password, so you don’t forget it or lose your information to an online predator.

Mission Relocation

The fact is that when you add up all of your photos, music files, presentations, manuals, spreadsheets and text documents that you don’t access regularly, you’re wasting space. The best thing to do is purchase an external hard drive that is portable. These devices are reasonably priced, easily fit into laptop bags and brief cases, require no external power and come as large as 1TB. Not only will this allow your computer to run as fast as it now loads, it also functions as a backup in case your computer comes down with a virus or any other unfortunate condition.

Being messy is easy and getting organized takes some effort. Granted, you can use your computer’s search tool to locate the things your eyes can’t seem to find, but it’s best to keep like things together if you want to see your dreams actualized. Knowing where you’ve been and what you’ve done is essential for a successful future. Getting organized doesn’t just make it easier to find files, it makes it easier to get the job done.

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This article was contributed by Katie Campbell, a Computers Expert who enjoys seeing her reflection against the background of her clear desktop. Her friends and colleagues accuse her of having OCD (Organized Computer Disorder). She works as a content writer for Bestcovery.com where she seeks to help discover the best of everything.

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I keep everything on my desk top too. I like your idea about making a separate folder with a meaningful label.

I’ve been going paperless for years, now if i could just stop those pesky newspaper ads that I keep getting.

I like to live minimally as far as “stuff” goes.