Time for a Hard Drive Cleanse and a Digital Diet

Do You Need a Digital Diet? Ok, I’ve HAD It… Time to Simplify! I seem to spend much of my time looking for the stuff that I recorded so I’d have it when I needed it.

I may simplify my physical life — constantly — but my virtual life is cluttered all to hell. There. I said it. I admit it. I’m a virtual packrat.

Since 1 gig of stuff is stored in the same physical space as 750 gigs, I’ve “reasoned” that I’m still simplifed. I’m just lying to myself. And I’ve been looking at buying more HD space because 1.5 terabytes isn’t enough.

How sad.

The fact is, I’ve had an epiphany. (Unlike some creative types, I still believe in that concept). Granted, the epiphany came as the result of personal frustration and total exhaustion, but it came all at once so, I’m sticking with the “epiphany” term.

It’s a horrible realization. It’s also joined by dozens of other, more specific realizations that I now have to confront and solve. For instance…

I get dozens (sometimes hundreds) of emails a day. I have email archives from 1999. That’s CRAZY!

I have the “just in case I need it someday” mindset with my digital information that makes me fuss at others (when it relates to their physical “stuff”).

It seems that rather than deleting anything (other than spam), I categorize and file it in my email program. How sloppy! How absurd! Heck, I have folders with headers such as “To review later” and “clean out weekly” and “coupons and sales” and “blog fodder” and “accounts” more nested beneath my inbox.

I’ve finally admitted to myself that the “to review later” is only a way to feel good about the fact that I’m NOT reviewing them. Once every couple of months, I get disgusted and go in and delete these items — usually without reviewing them since I never have the time.

The “accounts” folder has all the original information from every site where I’ve registered, all the username/passwords for my accounts and a slew of other loosely related contacts from “accounts.” I store all the essential information in an organized, easy-to-search and password protected program. Not only is this a duplication, it’s a security risk. It’s gone! Today. Right now…. hold while I go make it happen…

Ok, done!

I’ve decided the following:

  • My search for an open source (linux and windows OS) alternative to OneNote is going to go into high gear
  • I’m going to use tags as a way to organize more than just my blog
  • I’m going to get rid of my emails after I read them and come up with a way to organize the ones that I actually need to keep
  • I’m going to use a section in my notes alternative (whatever it may be) to store my blog ideas and “blog fodder” rather than having that stuff scattered on paper notes, in a web-based program on my iPhone, in my Thunderbird email program, in OneNote and in the “drafts” folder of the actual blog itself (How did I get this scattered?)
  • I will never quit collecting quotes. I love them. So I need a quick and easy way to record them in my own quotes database and make them searchable/useful to myself and others. I need to update the quote cauldron I started several years ago and abandoned during the multiple site “upgrades” on WickedWordCraft.com.

It’s not just a matter of “Getting Things Done” for me, it’s recognition of the fact that I’m a data packrat and an information glutton. It’s time to put my digital backside on a diet. NOW!

I’ll let you know how it goes!

(Note: Image taken from Morguefile.com courtesy of photographer jfelias.)