“Step away from the keyboard,” I hear Keith telling me as he walks through the room. A pretty common statement in our household. But this week brought a new twist. Does anyone around here clean up their data, pictures, emails, texts or documents? I mean really clean them up? I mean wipe them off your actual computer, not just the phone? Of course you do! Every day, right? Well so do I, but here’s the kicker. There are always a few emails I need to get back to, and then there are ones that I am not sure where to file (or if I want to file).
And then what about all those MS Word and even MS Excel files sitting around in nice folders waiting for you to pay them attention? Won’t you open me again and show me some love? Well, for those of us old-fashioned types who work from a computer (not a phone), we’ve gone through several migrations, and brought our data along with us. It’s the same with the phones if you’ve been lucky enough not to lose all your data. Sure, all the devices keep getting more memory because the software and applications require more memory. But, could it also be because we just never really clean up our files? And what of all the new companies in the clouds waiting to keep your files going up in a puff of smoke. They’ve made a cottage industry off our cloud clutter.
So, annually, and even semi-annually, I go through files and emails and delete as much as I can. Of course the government and attorneys haves some rules about keeping some work “stuff” for more years than I like. Frankly, I think this is where the problem starts. What problem? The problem of too many emails and files, of course!
A few weeks ago I decided it was time to get serious about going through files and deleting. I started out slowly. Usually when I’m on the phone with friends and family, I’m cooking, dusting, feeding dogs, etc. For the last few weeks, I’ve been deleting files. Don’t worry the dogs are still getting fed, but it’s been a great excuse not to dust!
Before I knew it, I was completely obsessed with deleting files, and my house covered in dust. I just can’t quit hitting the delete button. This is an odd problem, since going through these emails, documents and pictures is completely mind-numbing and incredibly dull work. I’m pretty sure that my delete key soon will be stuck!
The good news is my computer is becoming de-cluttered. The bad news is I still have a bunch of files! Well this should be the worst problem I have. However, the cheap side of me, and dare I say that’s a lot of beef, can’t stand paying for anything I don’t really need. Do I need all this space? Is there some magic wand that will convert disk space to floor space? I really could use some more floor space.
So for those of you out in the world of the internet, here’s a little free advice from a dusty old gal:
- When in doubt, delete. Caveat: remember those silly lawyer and government rules. Forget the thought that as soon as I delete it, I’ll want it. So what? It’s only 0’s and 1’s anyway.
- Know your limits. I don’t mean your hard drive limits. This is one of those pesky warning labels. Be careful not to delete so much at any one time that it becomes more than a habit, and enters your world as an obsession. I must delete. I must delete. Save some obsession (or just time) for something really important like dusting, surfing the internet, or playing tug toy with the dog.
- Make a habit. No need to wait for New Year’s Resolution time to make the habit of cleaning out old files at least weekly.
- Step away from your electronic device of choice. One way to avoid information, files and stuff you really didn’t want to read anyway, is to do something else. For me, it’s walking the dogs and swimming. No electronics allowed. It’s great time just to ponder, dream, develop plots for your next book (oops there’s my obsession again), or declutter your mind.
“If cleanliness is next to Godliness,”
And if deleting is better than dusting,
Then deleting will get us one step closer to G-d?
Wow. There’s a stretch!
I feel the heavy hand of HR telling me to stop right now. But, I’ve never been good with rules. So, I’ll give one more piece of advice.
Keep on deleting as much stuff in the clouds as you can. But stop right before you try to delete G-d from your memory.
And just like that, I’m gone with the press of a button.