End of Year Clean up for Your Digital World

How to organize Microsoft Outlook messages by Category
July 13, 2020

How do you organize your folders on your computer?
I keep a folder for each year (Office2021) within that folder I create sub-folders for top line categories such as 1.Staff, 1.Management, 1.Clients, Clients, Presentations, etc. You will notice a few of my examples have 1. In front of them. At the end of each year, I move those 1. folders to the Office2022 folder and leave everything else in the Office2021 folder as an archive. I then go into the Office2022 folder and create my new annual top-level folders like Presentations, Clients, etc.. This process makes it very easy to keep the bulk of your documents organized by year instead of having years and years of data stored all in one set of folders.

Email Cleanup
The same goes for my email, I use my Control Your Day system (www.ControlYourDay.net) to keep all my email organized in just two folders, my Inbox, and my Sent Items. At the end of the year, I create an archive folder and then move all my processed and completed email message to that archive. It usually takes me a few months to get everything cleared out from the prior year before. I explain all of this in both my book and Udemy course. I also go through and clean up my categories and sort by inbox and sent box by size and delete all those massive files I sent through the year if I know I won’t need them anymore. You will be amazed at some of the content you have sent over the year that has no value to keep. If you are still using hundreds of physical folders in outlook to stay organized, this process won’t be as easy to do.

Setting Goals for the new year
I have one Goal Journal that I have been using for the past 20 years. Two pages for each year, one page to list my goals, a second page to document my accomplishments, results, and big moments. The great thing about keeping a simple journal like this is you can go back over the years and see what was important to you in the past and how you are changing through the years.  Ideally you break those goals down into actionable items and plan them through the year, I will admit I don’t do a great job at getting into the detail. I guess my goal journal is more of a vision journal.

Smart Phone
Go through your smart phone and tablet and delete any unused applications. Each application on your device increases risk and could be sharing your personal data with other parties. If you are not using it, get rid of it. Suggest the same to your family members.

IOT devices
Update firmware on everything that is plugged into the internet in your house. That could include thermostats, smart tvs, web cams, routers, etc.. If the device is connected to your WIFI to get out to the internet it could be a risk.

Departing the Planet
Never fun to think about this one, but what would happen if you checked out tomorrow? Would a significant other know how to take control of your digital life? Does someone know how to access critical accounts for banking, insurance, and other important things?  I have a written letter to my son in our estate file that gives him the information he needs. That said do you have a will, and have you given thought to estate planning? For those of you that aren’t as old as me, it’s still important to have a plan for a tragic event.

Security Clean Up
Social media and other sites with your personal information are continually changing their security controls. Now is a great time to review each site and minimize the amount of personal data you share. For example, on Facebook, do you really need other people to have access to your phone number, email address and other personal information? Is it valuable for others to know who you are married to, who your kids are, where you went to school, etc.? This is all information that helps hackers to attack. Limit your personal data to friends across your social media platforms.

Finally, a book recommendation to get you off to a good start next year.

I have been following this formula since the start of Covid and it has really made a difference for me in how I approach each day and my ability to deliver on what is most important to me, personally and professionally.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please reach out to me, Jim@controlyourday.net

Wishing you a Merry Christmas (to those that celebrate it) and a happy, healthy, and prosperous new year!!

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