The week between Christmas and New Years has become a week in which many businesses shut their doors. Employees are asked to take vacation or personal time off. This practice evolved during the last 10-15 years because regular work often became impossible or impractical. If half of your co-workers are taking time off and many of your vendors and suppliers are also operating at half-staff or not at all … how much work can be accomplished? So rather than open the corporate doors at all, many companies have made the decision to just close for the holidays.
A useful activity that could still be performed during this week is File It or Throw it Away. As a sole-proprietor, I’ll be using the quiet time of the Holidays to continue cleaning up ‘stuff’ from the past year and preparing to start 2010 fresh. That includes thinning file drawers, cleaning my office desk, and very important in our electronic age — cleaning the computer desktop and files. By accident, I discovered an easy way to find files on my computer that should be Re-Filed or Thrown Away!
The way I discovered this trick is really testament to the necessity of regularly cleaning out your computer files. During this past year, I’ve created many different files that are slightly different versions of previous documents. As they became more numerous, my creativity for giving them memorable and distinguishable names diminished. After awhile, I had so many files with similar sounding names that I couldn’t remember which file was which. (Does this sound familiar to you?) To remedy this problem, one day I sorted my files in the finder window by Date Modified. In sorting this way, I was instantly able to see which files I modified yesterday or last week and which files hadn’t been accessed for months. Problem Solved!
Well, problem sort of solved. I still have way too many files in my computer that were created long ago and haven’t been opened in months or even years.
In the bigger picture, this creates the problem of clutter and distraction. If you regularly have many files present and in view but not being used, then you run the risk of being distracted and less effective. Eliminating clutter would most likely improve your daily performance. Old computer files should be either Re-Filed or Thrown Away. And the week between Christmas and New Years is an excellent time for this task. Especially since half of your co-workers or suppliers or vendors are not available for business as usual.
So how do you go about this task? It’s Simple! Open your files in finder window, sort by Date Modified and starting with the oldest files first — fill your computer trash can and eliminate the clutter. My guess is that if you spent 10 to 20 minutes each of the last four days of 2009, 2010 will be more productive and focused from this simple exercise. And your computer desktop will feel lighter and more manageable.
When cleaning clothing from your closet, there is the axiom that says, if you haven’t worn it in a year, remove it from the closet and give it to Goodwill.
How about a new computer file and computer desktop rule that goes something like this: If you haven’t opened a document in year, then re-file it in a single folder called 1-year-old-files or throw it in the computer trash. Then next year, do the same thing and throw away everything in the 1-year-old-file or rename it the 2-year-old-file. Your life will be less cluttered and you may not have to purchase a 2nd (or 3rd) disc drive.
Next Blog Title: 2009! The Year of Transformation
Next Blog Date: Thursday, December 31, 2010