The time of year is upon us when individuals and families alike come together to clean every nook and cranny of their homes and go through their belongings with a fine-tooth comb – otherwise known as spring cleaning.
Spring cleaning is a phenomenon that has been passed down through the generations, although its origin is unclear. There are theories circling the internet that attribute it to religion and culture, or simply just human nature.
For instance, according to the Washington Post, “Because homes used to be lit with whale oil or kerosene and heated with wood or coal, the winter months left a layer of soot and grime in every room. With the arrival of spring, women would throw open windows and doors, and take rugs and bedding outside and beat dust out of them and start scrubbing floors and windows until sparkling.”
Or, according to HowStuffWorks, “Ultimately, spring cleaning may have more to do with simple biology. During winter, we’re exposed to less sunlight due to shorter, often dreary days. With a lack of exposure to light, the pineal gland produces melatonin – a hormone that produces sleepiness in humans. Conversely, when we’re exposed to sunlight, our bodies produce much less melatonin. It’s possible that we spring clean simply because we wake up from a winter long melatonin-induced stupor and find more energy as the days grow longer when spring arrives.”
Whichever theory you believe to be true, spring cleaning can apply to more than just your home – it can be applied to your devices as well. After all, over time we accumulate an overwhelming number of emails and files.
So, to save the time it would take to read through all of your old emails and look through all of your saved files, iWorks has a few recommendations to help avoid clutter in the future.
To combat a disorganized email, we recommend the following:
Create folders or labels to manage incoming emails or archive old emails, such as a To-Do folder, Follow-Up folder, or Future folder. For top-notch efficiency, use rules or filters so you do not have to manually move each email to its folder destination – it will do it for you automatically.
Create categories or labels to color-code emails to rank email priority, distinguish meeting invites, or highlight specific senders. To take it one step further, use flags or stars to set an extra reminder for high priority items.
To combat a disorganized file manager, we recommend the following:
Create a folder for all employment-related materials, such as your job application and/or resume, offer letter, signed acknowledgments of company policies (e.g., employee handbook, employee benefits, code of conduct and ethics, etc.), and certificates of completion for required trainings.
Create a folder for all project-specific materials. Depending on the scope of the project, you may want to create sub-folders if there is more than one initiative that will occur over the course of the contract. It may also be beneficial to create a sub-folder for important paperwork related to your onboarding (e.g., non-disclosure agreement).
Create a folder for all voluntary activities, such as mentoring an intern. This enables you to store documentation for future use, so you will not have to start from scratch (e.g., intern welcome guide, project overview slide decks, list of assigned tasks, etc.).
Taking the time now to properly organize your devices will save you the stress and energy it would take to track down a communication that has been buried by the influx of emails every day or to find a file saved to an unknown location.
We encourage you to test out the options listed above and find what works best for you – or do your own research and explore what else is out there.