Electronic Spring Cleaning
It’s that time of year again! Even if the weather is still lousy out there, we’re feeling the impetus to Do Things.
Along with the regular spring cleaning around the house, our desks, filing, taxes, etc., it’s a good time to do an electronic spring clean. I try to do this both spring and fall, to streamline my electronic and physical work environments.
—Update your resume. Too often, we don’t do this regularly, and then have to do so in a rush and leave off important information.
—Update your 50, 100, and 200 word bios that you regularly use in pitches, queries, LOIs, marketing materials, grant applications, speaking engagements, etc.
—Clean out your inboxes. Even if you stay (mostly) on top of it on a daily or weekly basis, digging through will find things you missed, meant to look at “later” and other such things.
—Look at your website(s). Freshen them, check links, delete what’s no longer necessary, update things that have been missed. Read each site, page by page, to fix typos. We often update our sites in a hurry and miss typos. Re-reading it after time away will help you catch things with fresh eyes. Since I have multiple websites, I try not to work on more than one site a day, or I get tired and miss things. I often still miss things, and friends give it an extra proof.
—Move files you don’t need off your computer onto a USB or external hard drive (don’t delete them completely; that will guarantee you need them again). MARK THE DRIVE, or create a file printout and wrap it around the drive with a rubber band.
–Clean out your Google Drive/Google Photos/cloud anything else. Again, save it somewhere. You will need it.
—Physically clean all your devices with the appropriate dusters, screen cleaners, etc. Go through apps and other materials on the various devices. I have a laptop, a Kindle, a tablet, and a phone that need attention.
—If appropriate, run a defrag on the computer and free up space.
–Reassess your social media accounts. What platforms are serving you well? Which platforms are you serving (and shouldn’t be)? What aren’t worth your time? Because of the issues with Twitter, I’ve spent the last few months experimenting with various platforms. I’ve dropped three of them this month as part of my electronic spring cleaning.
—Update your contacts. I keep most of my contacts on Rolodex rather than in my computer, so that’s more of a physical clean than an electronic one, but I check the contacts in my computer, too.
—Clean up your bookmarks. Save what you want; see what’s no longer live. Delete what you don’t want/need/like anymore.
—Review your memberships in various organizations, associations, online events, etc. Decide where it makes sense to stay, to spend more time, or step away. We grow and change, and our participation needs change, especially if an organization is more about stability than growth. Leave with kindness and respect wherever possible.
I usually spread this out over several weeks (while I’m doing the big physical spring clean, too). For me, it’s too overwhelming to do it all at once, so setting aside a block of time every day dedicated to electronic spring cleaning works better for me. You might prefer to put aside an entire day or two and get it all done.
What do you include in your electronic spring clean? Do you do this regularly? Is there something not on the list that you find useful? Drop a comment; I’d love to hear from you.