Spring Clean Your Digital Life

May has started off very mildly here in the West. The weather has been warm and the flowers are in bloom and so are my seasonal allergies! I normally start my spring cleaning at the end of March or beginning of April. This year with the Coronavirus stay at home orders, I got most of my Spring cleaning done during the first week of the stay at home orders. The weather is definitely nicer now than it was a month ago and I’m excited to get outside to start planting beautiful flowers and herbs to use all summer and fall this year. I love Spring. Spring is one of my favorite seasons. It’s a time of rebirth in so many ways. It’s a great time to do some Spring Cleaning in the traditional sense but also Spring clean other things, like your personal/business contacts or old allergy meds!

Many people use the start of the spring season to do the dreaded “Spring Cleaning” of their homes or garages. This normally means cleaning out closets & cabinets, scrubbing blinds, baseboards, floors, and cleaning up the garage or outside areas so they are ready for outdoor activities that are just around the corner. Most of the time, this is hard work and not all that enjoyable. I participate in the dreaded practice of “Spring Cleaning”, but this year instead of the dreaded cleaning ritual, why not mix it up a bit?

I think Spring is a great time to get your digital life in order but it’s also a great time to get your business or work digitial life in order. When was the last time you updated your contacts and made sure the email addresses, mailing addresses, phone numbers, and names (who in your network has gotten married or divorced and changed their names recently?) were all correct? No one loves updating their contacts, but if you just sit down and do it, it won’t take as long as you think. Or tackle say… ten a day, to keep it more manageable. Then when it’s time to send out your annual holiday card or yearly update on life letter, you won’t have to reach out to all of your nearest and dearest to make sure you have the correct address to either email or snail mail it to. You’ll be one step ahead and save yourself a ton of time during what is normally the busiest time of year for all of us.

Spring is also a great time to clean up your computer’s bookmarks, digital photos (you probably have multiples on different devices), and purge old files on your computer/filing cabinet. If you don’t already have a cloud service to back your files up, this is a great time to get one. You can use Google if you are an Android user or iCloud if you are an Apple user. They both provide great storage limits that for most people are more than enough. If you take a ton of photos or videos, you may need more storage space than is offered for free. In that case, you can purchase additional storage to meet your needs.

Next up, clean up all of your digital profiles on pages like LinkedIn, Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, etc… Any of the sites that you use regularly. Maybe your profile photos are really old or don’t represent you in your best light? Maybe you just typed up any old profile description not really thinking it through when you set your account up years ago and haven’t thought much about it since? Now may be a great time to clean up all of your profile descriptions, work history (if you use LinkedIn or Indeed for work networking) and any important life changes or additions that you want to share with your online network.

It’s also a great time to clean out your desk drawers, dust, and shine up your work areas (don’t forget the shelves and any work tables or credenza’s). You may be surprised by what you find in your drawers when you clean them out. Plus working in a tidy and clean space may get your creative juices going more and you may find the zip and the zeal to start writing that book you’ve always wanted to write or code that website, app, or game that you’ve been dreaming about.

If you don’t have a shredder, there are companies that will come to your home or office and pick up or shred your files onsite for a fee. Many counties have an annual shred day in late Spring or early Summer. If it’s not relevant or needed information, get rid of it. I believe you should keep any important files such as tax returns and any mortgage information for seven years. In our time of digital signing and cloud storage, if you need something that you shredded (after the seven-year waiting time) you can most likely get it from the provider as they more than likely have saved it.

Less paper is better these days, just be sure that you shred anything that may contain any personal information such as your social security number and other personal information that a thief could use to steal your identity. That is one thing we don’t want to happen from you cleaning out all of your old paper files.

I am in the process of cleaning up all of my digital sites, photos, descriptions, and contacts. I have so many people saved on my phone and computer (they are synced) and some of them I don’t even know who they are or why I saved their contact information. I’m working on cleaning up all of my contacts first, then I plan to move on to all of the other sites that I use that have photos of me and description on them. After that, I plan to start saving my photos and files that are on my computer in the cloud. It will probably take me a few days or longer to get this all done, but I’m excited to finally cross this off of my list. I’ve been meaning to get started on this for some time now.

Since Spring is a time of rebirth and flowers starting to bloom, I like to spruce up my work station and add a vase of flowers or a green flowering plant to my desk or filing cabinet. It makes me happy to work in a space that is neat, tidy and decorated. I like to work in a space with flowers and other inspirational things that bring a smile to my face as I’m tolling away day in and day out. My current view from my new amazing mini office space that I created in our living room, is of my dining room table and out to the back yard. I will keep fresh flowers in view as I’m sure I’ll be sitting here for a few hours each day as I tackle my Digital Spring Cleaning project.

I keep a vase of fresh flowers on my dining room table when we can get fresh flowers easily and I plan to plant a cutting flower garden in my new yard. Once I have beautiful flowers to cut, I will keep fresh flowers in many rooms, but especially the dining room and my bedroom. I plan to publish more posts about building the cutting and vegetable garden once we get that started. I don’t currently have a great green thumb, but I plan to learn as I go and make it as beautiful as I can. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, right?! 🙂

If you live in an area where the winter is harsh and you hunkered down, Spring is a great time to reconnect with people that maybe you haven’t seen all winter personally and professionally. While we are all continuing to social distance and stay safer at home, set up some virtual get-togethers or social distance driveway happy hours, or 6 feet apart get-togethers in very small groups. Of course, if you have a compromised immune system, this may not be a good option for you, but you can always pick up the phone or schedule a Zoom call (they have a FREE version) with your friends and family to feel connected right now.

We have taken part in a couple of driveby birthday celebrations and I actually love them. You still get to share in the celebration and show the person who is being celebrated that you care and are happy to see them (from a distance). It’s not the same as truly getting together, but it’s better than not seeing your friends and loved ones at all during this crazy time in our lives.

I personally can’t wait until we either have herd immunity or there is a vaccine for the Coronavirus and we can all once again hug friends and family safely. I’m a very social person and this time of social distancing and isolation has been really hard, emotionally, on me. I do have a great support system and have stayed in contact with my friends and family with video calls (Zoom and Facetime). Seeing their faces on the screen is great but I really would prefer to see them in person. Video chats are great at keeping us connected but I miss the hugs for sure!

I hope after being home for however long you’ve been required to be home, you’ve made good progress on cleaning your house, garage, digital files, and more. After all of the cleaning out of the old and dusty spaces in your home, office, and mind, I hope that Spring fills you with fresh new ideas that will translate into abundance and joy for the rest of the year!

I’d love to hear about your progress in whatever your Spring Cleaning project may be. If you have before and after photos, please post them in the comments. I love to hear from my readers and I love to see the projects other people are tackling.