Information Overload Technology Solutions

De-cluttering: top 10 tips for creating digital space

Today’s IORG Guest Post is from Ingrid Pope, executive coach and professional mind de-clutterer.  Ingrid’s mission is to de-clutter the world of everything that gets in the way of our effectiveness, our focus, and our life  by creating space to think, to work, to live.

These days, we all spend a large amount of time engaging with technology on our various devices, so much so that it can feel like tech has taken over our lives. Here are my top tips for becoming aware of our digital clutter and taking some simple steps to de-clutter the tech.

De-cluttering: top 10 tips for creating digital space

  1. Organize your digital data. A good digital filing system is just as important as the good old filing cabinet and it’ll help you feel assured that you will find your documents, photos, videos  quickly when you need them rather (than dreading to ever need to look for anything and spending hours searching).
  2. Have only one single copy of each file. If you need it to be available in different locations, use shortcuts rather than duplicating the file and creating unnecessary clutter.
  3. Remove all old files you don’t need anymore. If you don’t want to delete them, move them into an archive folder so that they are out of your way and you don’t have to look at them all the time.
  4. Remove all shortcuts from your desktop/phone/tablet screen that you don’t use all the time. These icons create a cognitive load and require filtering out every time you look at your screen, so reduce their number to the minimum and don’t let them distract you.
  5. Be sure to have a back-up system. This is very easy to do nowadays with various cloud solutions and it will give you peace of mind, also avoiding disasters when the hardware fails.
  6. Keep an eye on your e-mails. Be ruthless and unsubscribe from anything you don’t want to receive.
  7. The golden rule with e-mails is: the more e-mails you send, the more you receive. So you know what to do to keep the number down!
  8. Be intentional with the time you spend on digital platforms. Apps and websites are designed to keep us engaged through various little tricks (endless scrolling, attention-grabbing headlines, notifications using the color red to attract us, etc…). Don’t let the tech rule you and take back control of your attention.
  9. Leave your phone/tablet/computer in a different room for a while. Pay attention to the discomfort in doing this, this is information as to your behavior patterns.
  10. Buy an alarm clock. This will get rid of the excuse of needing your phone in the bedroom every night!

Do share your tips with the community too by commenting below. And in the meantime, happy de-cluttering!


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De-cluttering the Noise for Decision-Making

Today’s IORG Guest Post is from Ingrid Pope, Mind De-Clutterer and Executive Coach.  Ingrid’s mission is to de-clutter the world of everything that gets in the way of our effectiveness, our focus, and our life  by creating space to think, to work, to live.

One of our biggest challenges today is the overload of data and information, especially when we find ourselves with a decision to make. The expression “analysis paralysis” comes to mind, and it will probably feel quite familiar to many of us!

When I found out that the police (in the UK) had developed a model to address just that, I became curious and interviewed retired Metropolitan Police Chief Superintendent Craig Haslam to ask him about it. Effectively, this model has 5 steps:

  1. Gather the information and intelligence available (and this will be very fluid and likely to change all the time)
  2. Assess the threat/risk and develop a working strategy
  3. Consider the powers and policy frameworks
  4. Identify the options and contingencies
  5. Take action and review what happened

And at the heart of all these steps is the code of ethics, which guides every single decision and action that is taken.

We can apply this model to decisions that we need to take too, going through the steps and ensuring that our chosen path always reflects our values at all times.

What are you noticing in your decision-making? How aligned are you to your values? And how often do you take the time to review what happened and learn from it for next time

Watch the full interview here:

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RTFM… it’s a good investment of your time!

A student of mine once did a little research project to check what features of Gmail people were using. Her findings: he great majority of users were only using it to read, compose, forward, reply and delete. All the wonderful advanced features that could make them a great deal more productive were unused and unknown to them. They never bothered to investigate them… or to “read the manual”.

This shameful ignorance is of course common in all computer tools. When I was computing productivity manager at Intel I analyzed the email overload situation and one root cause I found was precisely this lack of knowledge of the productivity features of our email client (Outlook). I subsequently developed a Web Based Training module that all employees were required to take, which showed them how to use the tool – effectively.

I strongly recommend you do this: take 30 minutes to acquaint yourself with all the options and controls of your email client. You’ll save hours and hours every month, forever.

Read the f****** manual!

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