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Are you planning on doing spring cleaning soon? Spring cleaning digital files for your small business, that is. It’s easy for us to neglect this area in our personal life; who cares if my password hasn’t been changed in years and my contact list is so outdated it has my previous career’s coworkers in it? But, in your business, it does matter. It helps with productivity, finding things, and referencing things easier. The bottom line is that it saves you money and time.
Below are spring cleaning digital files tasks to help you and your business: I broke the tasks into four sections.
Four Sections to Review When Spring Cleaning Digital Files
Contact management is the first area to tackle in this spring cleaning. This area may have been ignored in the past. It may be stuffed with clients you don’t interact with any longer. It could also have clients that have retired. Clearing this area out will allow for a fresh look at your current client base and help you determine what your new clients could be. Below are areas to review.
- Clear Old Contacts. Go through your contacts’ digital book and add and remove pertinent contacts. Remove people you haven’t heard from in years or don’t correspond with.
- Clear Old Email Folders. If you save emails or files in folders, go through the folders and delete any folders you haven’t used to streamline your folders. If there are like types, create a main folder and have the individual folders under the main folders as subfolders. For example, if you have individual social media folders because you receive emails from the social media site on your stats/insights, Create a main folder called “Social Media Sites” and then move all the other folders under the “Social Media Sites” folder.
- Create Rules to sort your email automatically. This task will help you automate emails so they go in the appropriate folder to review later.
- Unsubscribe to any newsletters you don’t want. This one should be done more often, but sometimes we forget.
The next section to spring clean is your calendar management app. This could be Microsoft Outlook Calendar, Google Calendar, or any other app you may use for business. Reviewing your appointments will allow for creating new times for more prioritized tasks. See the areas to review below.
- Delete recurring appointments that do not apply anymore. As you may know, but worth repeating, when deleting, you need to make sure you delete the series and not just the current appointment.
- Create new recurring appointments that you haven’t added yet. These could be tasks that are easy to remember but take some time to do, like checking email, writing a weekly newsletter, writing a weekly blog post, etc…
And now, the next section is regarding cloud-based files.
Many small business companies store files in the cloud for convenience purposes. Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud, and Microsoft OneDrive would love for you to store EVERYTHING in the cloud, but is it really necessary? Keeping only the files that are needed on the go works great for most small business owners. With this in mind, go through the following tasks for cloud-based storage.
- Change passwords on your hosted website.
- Modify passwords on your most recent cloud-based storage files.
- Change passwords on social media accounts.
- Review your cloud-based files and delete unused files.
There are many more steps regarding Cloud-based spring cleaning; feel free to check out the cloud-based cleaning tips. The list above will have you busy for a while. =)
And now the computer/server files. As small business owners, we have some files we reference all the time and others we use once and never look at again. Here are the task to-dos for your computer files.
- Delete desktop icons you don’t use. It can be distracting, like a desk filled with papers; clear the area on your desktop and keep only the files you often use on it.
- Go through all folders and file structures on your computer and any files on your shared in-house servers. Check the system and see if where people (or you) are saving the files are still appropriate to help you retrieve the files.
- Clear browser data: these spring cleaning tasks can be done more than once a year. Caution: this may delete your saved cookies from the bank and elsewhere.
- Review photos and delete duplicates: If you have lots of photos, deleting duplicate photo files is an easy way to make space fast.
- Check to make sure you are getting all your antivirus and malware software. These tasks should be set up automatically when it is installed. But, in case it is not, it is good to check.
- After deleting the files, they must be deleted from the recycling bin. But if you delete files on a server, they may or may not be permanently deleted. It depends on the manufacturer. Check your manufacturer to see if you need to take an extra step.
I know there are a lot of tasks to do when cleaning digital files, but it needs to be done to keep your small business healthy and safe. Here are some times throughout the day to knock out this list. Remember: you don’t have to do this list in one sitting to do your spring cleaning tasks effectively. Break it down into smaller chunks – an hour max. Schedule one per day and work your way through the tasks.
Time of day to work on spring cleaning tasks:
There are several times in your day to work on these digital files. Below are just a few suggestions.
- Before you start your day in the morning
- At the end of the day
- While watching TV at night
Here are free printables you can save. Enjoy, and please share this post to remind other small business owners that they, too, should be cleaning digital files.
I also created a digital files calendar to help track and manage all these tasks.
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Well, there you have it. Spring cleaning digital files made easy. I hope you enjoyed this quite lengthy post. Remember to pace yourself, and you can get through all the tasks.
Now it’s your turn; what do you do regularly to spring clean your digital files? Please leave a comment below.