Lifestyle: Organization is Everything, Declutter Your Digital Life

Declutter Your Digital Life,

“I know I have it somewhere. But, where is it exactly?”

I’ve probably said this a few times trying to find a paper statement or a digital document I stored on a folder in my hard drive. You probably have your own system of storing documents and keeping track of important paperwork.

Phroogal Organization

A few years ago, I was in a period of transition. I had moved into 3 different apartments in a relatively short period of time.  I carried with me boxes and files of important documents. I had a filing system that worked and in many ways I was attached to the paperwork. Eventually, I realized there was no purpose to lug the clutter with me even though they were stored in neatly designed boxes.

I had a mental way of organizing my life from the pile of papers on my desk to the boxes in the corner and to my icon-filled desktop screen.

Just like the clutter in your home that’s preventing you from moving about freely, the clutter in your digital life can weigh you down as well.  We all have our own way of storing documents. We also have mental systems in place to access that stored information.  Even when you’ve moved from paper to online it’s easy to clutter your life with digital waste.

Here are ways to declutter your digital life.

The best way to lessen clutter is to prevent it from reaching your home.  That means opting in for online when you can.

Organize your email inbox. Our email inbox can easily become cluttered with many useful and some SPAM email. It can be a daunting task trying to clean our inboxes but not all email is top priority.  It’s best to set priority filters to incoming email. I send my family and friends email to my “Read First” folder. For money-related emails, I’ve created a filter that sends them into my “Check this next” folder. This keeps me on top of emails relating to bill payments, changes in terms or specials. Monthly newsletters from known companies are sent to a folder that I check once a month. I also occasionally check my SPAM folder to verify SPAM and approve email that should reach my inbox.

Consolidate your online financial records. When I began opting in for online statements I thought I was on top of my game. I eventually realized that I spent more time visiting each website and trying to remember a bunch of logins. When my credit union started offering online bill payments, my life got better.

However, I believe in the importance of reviewing all statements and financial records when received. I found myself having to log into each website to view my statements. When I discovered Manilla.com, my situation got even better. I was able to view my statements, notices and bill payment reminders in one place. Manilla was my online filing cabinet that I carried everywhere.

Keep track of your hotel, airline and rewards points.  Points and miles equal money. If you aren’t tracking your points then you are losing money. I kept track of my points by logging into each of my accounts and monitoring the point accrual through a spreadsheet.  It was cumbersome until I began tracking my miles and points online using AwardWallet.

Use smartphones and expense tracking apps. My preference is to have receipts mailed to me. I keep track of my expenses for tax purposes and want to make sure I keep a record of large purchases for insurance protection. But, keeping piles of receipts is another form of clutter.  I started scanning receipts and eventually began using my phone to take pictures of them to store online.  Now, there are free apps to help like OneReceipt.

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Jason Vitug

Jason Vitug is founder at phroogal, creator of the award-winning project the Road to Financial Wellness, and author of the bestseller and NY Times reviewed book, You Only Live Once: The Roadmap to Financial Wellness and a Purposeful Life.

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