Digital Declutter: Gain Control & Organization That Lasts! | Jonathan Levi | Skillshare

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Digital Declutter: Gain Control & Organization That Lasts!

teacher avatar Jonathan Levi, Entrepreneur, Eclectic, Lifehacker, SuperLearner

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

36 Lessons (3h 46m)
    • 1. About This Course, Your Instructors, & How To Succeed

    • 2. What is Digital Overwhelm?

    • 3. Why Does It Actually Matter?

    • 4. The Alternative: Digital Peace of Mind

    • 5. The Importance of Robust Systems

    • 6. The Power of “The Cloud”

    • 7. Leveraging Automation To Reduce Friction

    • 8. Reestablishing A Healthy Relationship With Your Technology

    • 9. Digital Minimalism: The #1 Strategy To Achieve Order

    • 10. What Intuitive Organizational Type Are You?

    • 11. What To Do When “Life Happens”

    • 12. Wrangling All Of Your Email Accounts

    • 13. Inbox vs. Archive: Achieving Inbox Freedom

    • 14. The Machete: Cutting Down Your Overloaded Inbox

    • 15. The Scalpel: Strategically Cutting Down The Rest Of Your Inbox

    • 16. Get A Grip On Your Subscriptions

    • 17. Starting Fresh: Creating Your Own Structure

    • 18. What Happens Next? Beginner’s Inbox Organization

    • 19. Let’s Get Ninja: Advanced Inbox Organization

    • 20. Enabling Back-Ups

    • 21. Calendar

    • 22. Choosing & Using A “To-Do” List

    • 23. Neat Notes & Snippets

    • 24. Syncing and Organizing Documents

    • 25. Downloads Folder

    • 26. Conquering Your Contacts List

    • 27. Securely & Safely Storing Passwords

    • 28. Managing Legacy File Storage

    • 29. Scan It, Send It

    • 30. Saving Sites

    • 31. Cross-Device Syncing of Photos & Videos

    • 32. Keeping Your Music Organized

    • 33. Books and Reading Materials

    • 34. Self-Assessment & Success Moving Forward

    • 35. Congratulations & What We’ve Learned

    • 36. Bonus: How To Take Your Digital Decluttering To The Next Level

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About This Class


There’s no doubt about it:

We’re addicted to technology.

And not the “lol I’m addicted to tacos” kind of addiction.

I’m talking about a serious, productivity-draining, health-endangering, happiness-stealing addiction.

With every passing day, we are being sucked into a changing digital world that impacts EVERY part of our lives.

The worst part?

Most people just go along for the ride.

And if you’re not careful, you end up with...

  • Documents everywhere

  • Forgotten passwords

  • Lost files

  • Notifications every second

  • A sore thumb

  • Mountains of emails

... you get the point.

Heck, if your room was as messy as your digital life, you wouldn’t be able to see the floor.

But all of that is about to end.

In this course, you’ll learn the fundamentals of creating a robust, foolproof, and orderly digital ecosystem that works for you.

And, not only will we help you clean up your digital life, but we’ll also help you reestablish a healthy relationship with your technology.

The Core Of This Digital Declutter Course Involves a 4-Step Process:

  1. Step 1 → Ideal State: Here, you will learn the ‘Digital Decluttering’ best practice for each area of your digital life, and then customize it to meet your personal needs and preferences.

  2. Step 2 → Declutter: In this step, you will be guided through a process to finally let go of and delete old files, apps, and services that no longer serve your future state.

  3. Step 3 → Systematize: You will set up a new, robust, and cloud-based system to get you to your future state. This system will encourage your desired behaviors and leverage automation when possible.

  4. Step 4 → Implement: This is the technical part of getting your system up and fully functional, transferring any files as needed.

When all is said and done, you will have a proven system that you can use to get your digital life together — and keep it that way.

How This New Course Will Dramatically Increase Your Quality Of Life:

While you probably aren’t fully aware of it, your digital life is a silent chaos that is wreaking havoc on every area of your life.

Think about it for a second:

Unlike having a messy room where YOU’RE the one controlling the mess coming in, your digital mess is an entirely different animal.

Your digital mess will keep accumulating whether you like it or not.


All of that chaos comes at a cost - to your productivity, your health, and your happiness.

Whether you like it or not, the endless flood of digital mess and disorganization is taking a toll on your subconscious (and maybe conscious) mind almost every day.

In fact, research has shown that our digital interactions are not only distracting us and destroying our productivity…

They’re also making us less happy, less healthy, and less grounded.

Plus, with so much digital noise around us, even if you tried “cleaning it up” in one sitting, you know that you’d just be facing the same unruly mess a few weeks later.

With this course, you’ll say “goodbye” to your digital mess for GOOD. You’ll have everything securely backed up and organized, and you can finally be more present without the constant distraction.

So join us today to learn how you, too, can achieve Digital Zen.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Jonathan Levi

Entrepreneur, Eclectic, Lifehacker, SuperLearner


Jonathan Levi is an experienced entrepreneur, angel investor, and lifehacker from Silicon Valley. Since 2014, Jonathan has been one of the top-performing instructors on Udemy.  

After successfully selling his Inc 5,000 rated startup in April of 2011, Levi packed up for Israel to gain experience in the Venture Capital industry. While in Israel, Levi enlisted the help of speed-reading expert and university professor Anna Goldentouch and Machine Learning expert Dr. Lev Gold, who tutored him in speed-reading, advanced memorization, and more. Levi saw incredible results while earning his MBA from INSEAD, and was overwhelmed with the amount of interest his classmates expressed in acquiring the same skill set. Since acquiring this superlearning skill, he has become a proficient lif... See full profile

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1. About This Course, Your Instructors, & How To Succeed: Hi there, My name is Jonathan Levy and I'm my Isozaki. Welcome to the Digital de-clutter course, where we will teach you how to declutter every part of your digital life, from your e-mail to passwords, to social media accounts we have you covered and will be guiding you on how to quickly sort through your digital clutter and get your digital life in order. I'm especially excited about this course because I know chest how urgently the knowledge we present in it is needed. The digital revolution has taken our lives by storm. And if you're living in the modern world, you're battling hundreds or even thousands of incoming emails, texts, notifications and more every day. Not to mention handling other sensitive data files like passwords, photos, and professional documents. If you're here with us, you probably feel like your technology is running your life. We want to get you running your technology over the years through building my first seven figure business to my current seven figure media empire, my own digital world has become increasingly unmanageable. If you've taken my other courses, you know that I live and breathe productivity. And so from an early age, I became determined to conquer the seemingly impossible digital organization frontier. I kept asking myself, how can I get a grip on the digital aspects of my work and personal life? How can I make this technology work for me? I knew I needed to manage my digital spaces more effectively, but I just couldn't stop the flood of notifications and files and communications. But I also knew that there had to be a better way. So I began testing different techniques and hacks to digitally de-clutter effectively and automate parts of my business and my life. It wasn't until years later when speaking with a psychiatrist that I actually realized this was an adaptation common to many people like me. People who have struggled for years with attention deficit disorder. People who need to keep their environments organized and manageable so that it can keep their thoughts and minds organized and manageable. Along the way, I often brainstormed productivity tricks with my dear friend Mya, one of my oldest college friends, and a mindful living coach, an expert. Jonathan. To be honest, I've always been naturally organized, which came in handy when I started a career in international management consulting. As a global strategy consultant, I worked with Fortune 100 companies, World-class organizations, and up and coming startups. Project teams were often stopped globally with team members based in ten different countries and everyone running around the clock trying to me impossible deadlines, time and time again, I kept seeing digital noise get in the way of hitting company targets. And more importantly, get in the way of people's peace of mind. At all levels in every profession, it's become apparent that we are digitally over loaded and distracted. Our digital lives have become so overwhelming that deep focused work is nearly impossible. Like Jonathan, I began testing out different techniques to manage my own digital life. But as I was fielding 400 plus emails a day, juggling files on all different kinds of servers and missing messages from friends. I kept thinking there has to be a better way to do this. I began learning everything I could about productivity, digital mindfulness, and Humane Technology Design. I eventually developed a digital decluttering methodology that has transformed my own relationship with how and when I use technology, my clients would look over at my screen and be floored by my digital organization. As a result, I began coaching them in digital decluttering, helping them go from digital overwhelm to digital peace of mind. And now it's your turn. Digital de-cluttering has transformed how we both live and work. And we're so excited to combine and share our knowledge with you. After seeing the sheer volume of requests from other entrepreneurs, consultants and even our friends and family all asking for help. We decided to come together and build this course, giving you step-by-step instructions to digitally de-clutter. In this course, we'll show you how to quickly and efficiently declutter your digital life. Turned down the digital noise with digital minimalism, setup, automatic systems, and yes, finally, tame your inbox using simple and effective tools, we will show you how to regain control of your technology and organize your digital world. We're going to take you through every area of your digital life with a fine tooth comb step-by-step, and show you how to finally clean house. Ultimately, our goal is for you to regain control of your digital life, clearing time and energy so that you can spend your time on the things that really matter. To you. So let's get to it. In every course I create, I like to offer students and easy to use PDF syllabus. This gives you easy and fast access to all of the resources we'll be discussing in the course so that you don't have to go back through the lectures to find the supplemental resources. Before we move forward with the course, please pause the video to download the syllabus will refer to the PDF syllabus in nearly every lecture. So please don't skip this step. Before we dive into the nitty-gritty, I just wanna take a few minutes to explain to you how we're going to break apart the course and structure it in, in the next section, the fundamentals to digital peace of mind. We're going to learn about how to re-establish a healthy relationship with your technology. This section contains the core principles of digital minimalism, systems thinking, and automation that will guide our implementation work in future sections. As a bonus, we're going to help you figure out your intuitive organizational type, which will help us 0 in on the most specific key issue areas most relevant for you and orient us towards your best implementation solutions. There's definitely a lot to cover, but we've streamlined everything to bring you a truly comprehensive decluttering guide. Together, we're going to look at taming your inbox. The basics of digital order, including your to-do list and Calendar, Notes, downloads, contacts, passwords, and managing your media. And if you're in the extended version of the course, you'll also be learning how to change your interaction with technology organized across teams and become a power user of automation. We're going to tackle each of these different digital disaster areas using our four-step digital decluttering methodology, ideal state declutter system and implement in step one, ideal state, you will learn the digital de-cluttering best-practice for each area of your digital life, and then customize it to meet your personal needs and preferences. This is where digital mindfulness comes in, deciding upfront the where, when and how of your technology use. For step to de-clutter. You will delete old files, apps, and services that no longer serve your future state. Next step, step three, system. You will set up a new Cloud-based system to get you to your future state. This system should encourage your desired behaviors and leverage automation when possible. Finally, step 4, implement This is the technical part of getting your system up and fully functional, transferring any files as needed. We'll also cover refining your system's long-term maintenance and how to restore order when life happens and things have gotten a little out of control. We're going to help you conquer each digital disaster zone. And it will even cover how to handle all of your legacy files from old hardware. And while things can get a bit technical at times, we've designed this process to be as painless as possible. We will be giving you quizzes and worksheets throughout, which will help reinforce the material you're learning and customize your implementation steps. We know that everyone has different devices, different pain points, and different priorities. So take the time to fill out each worksheet. This way, you can get exactly what you need out of this course. Like most of my courses, this course has a fair share of homework. This is because as an expert in accelerated learning, I know that the only way you're going to learn what's being taught is by actually doing it yourself. In each lesson, after we explained the best practice for a digital area and walk you through the de-cluttering steps, you will need to finish actually decluttering that area. For the more significant sections, this may take a few hours. We recommend that you pause between lessons and finished de-cluttering each disaster area before proceeding to the next one. By the way, we always welcome your requests and suggestions for other sections that we can add and improve upon as time goes on. During my first digital de-cluttering session with a new client, the most common questions I hear our lie ever get this all organized and how do I make time to get this done? While they're worried at first, most people realize the digital decluttering is really just about an initial upfront time investment of a few dedicated days, or an hour or two per day for a few weeks. After an initial upfront time investment, your new streamlined digital processes will pay off and you'll be way more mindful of digital noise. This will pay off big time saving you a ton of time and giving you a new sense of ease and focus. In terms of equipment, we've designed this course to be universal for all users. Whether you have an iPhone or an Android device, Mac or Windows, or even a mix of all of the above. This course has been designed to help you de-clutter any device. By the end of this course, you're going to have mastered our four-step digital decluttering method. And if something is missing or you have a better recommendation, please submit a question and we will address it. Last but not least, I want to say that not every lesson is relevant for every person. Some people already have an inbox management system that works for them or are already happy with how they manage their passwords. We understand that and that's why we always provide you with the best practice approach. It's up to you to pick and choose what is helpful to you and what isn't. And decide if you want to tweak or super boost any of your existing digital systems. And so without any further ado n, thanks for your patients. Let's dive in to our first section, which deals with the overall principles of what is digital overwhelm and why we want to shift to an alternative model of digital living. This section will give us the right mental frameworks and understandings to help us power through the implementation work later on. 2. What is Digital Overwhelm?: So what is digital overwhelm? We can understand digital overwhelmed as the combination of two ideas. One, our new digital reality, the unprecedented rise of technological advancement and digital device usage and to the accompanying sensation of anxiety that it creates in us. First things first, since the 19 seventies, our world has undergone a massive digital revolution. This is the information age with digital devices serving as our touch points for so many things. These days. If you want to get something done, you probably are using your phone, your computer, and the Internet to make it happen. Our whole lives from our bank accounts to our files and even our cherished photos and media. They're all in our digital devices. Or devices have made us more connected than ever before. Before I digitally D cluttered, I used to feel like I was always reachable and that everyone in my professional and personal life, not to mention advertisers and news outlets could reach me. 247. That means that more people than ever have a direct line to our attention. Which brings us to the second, the resulting anxiety from being expected to keep up with our digital lives. We get tens, if not hundreds of emails per day, dozens of texts, Facebook messages, news, and app notifications. Some of these inputs are helpful and necessary, but a ton of these are just digital clutter that we end up supporting. This feeling of digital overwhelm manifests itself in different ways for different people. Some people feel perfectly calm having 20 thousand emails in their inbox, and others freak out when they have 12. And even if you finally catch up on all of your texts and answer all of your emails, when you start thinking about your documents, photos, and backup system, you may feel like you never really get a hold of things. So how do you know if you are suffering from digital overwhelm? Here a few indicators. You have tens of thousands of emails in your inbox or inboxes. You have no idea what is backed up where or you think you may have things backed up, but you're not sure what would happen if your phone or laptop got Solon tomorrow. Your phone is the first thing you entrapped within them learning and the last thing you interact with at night, you're always reachable, answering emails, texts, and work messages at all hours of the night. At any given time, you have tons of browser windows open and lots of apps on your phone, but they're actually getting in the way of your productivity. You view yourself as an active or busy person. But somehow it feels like there is never enough time in the day, especially when it comes to the most critical initiatives. You're not sure you're using the right apps and plug-ins for the right things, especially when it comes to getting stuff done. You have most app, social media and news notifications enabled and are getting them like all the time. You feel a constant need to check your phone, even during in-person interactions with friends or family. You feel a tightening in your chest or back when you think about these things or any aspect of your digital life, you're reluctant to get rid of digital clutter and often end up digitally hoarding photos, documents, and emails. If any of this sounds familiar, don't worry, you are not alone. What all suffers of digital overwhelm have in common is this, the sensation that their digital life has gotten out of control? We have your back and we also want you to know that this has unfortunately become the new norm. In fact, pretty much everyone I know is suffering from some kind of digital overwhelm. But just because everyone is dealing with the same issue doesn't mean it should be this way. Which brings us to our next lecture, which will help you understand the negative consequences of digital overwhelm on your mind, body, and attention. 3. Why Does It Actually Matter? : Now that we know a digital overwhelm is, let's look at why it matters. After all, for many of you, this may, like we said, be normal. You may not know any other way, and therefore, you may not realize the impact that it's having on your life. Oh my gosh, You are so right, Maya, you know, one of the things I realized when I looked at some of the digitally D organized people in my life. For them, digital de-clutter is very different from regular clutter. Whereas for me, having a messy inbox or desktop on my computer is the same as having a disaster in my bedroom. For them, it's something totally different. They don't see the fact that this type of clutter is no different or that it has the same negative effects as any other type of clutter. In fact, in today's digital world, where most of us actually spend more time on our computers than we do sitting around the house. This is more true than ever before. Digital clutter can impact us just as negatively as physical or material clutter. In this lecture, we're going to bring some of those negative effects to light. You might be thinking that clutter is nothing more than a mild inconvenience. It makes it a little trickier to get to your stuff. It slows you down a little and it's visually unappealing. But it's actually so much more. And her international bestseller, the life-changing magic of tidying up. Tidying wizard Marie Kondo explains the clutter can facilitate and enable stress, anxiety, depression and more. By creating order and calm outside. She explains, we can encourage and even catalyze order and calm inside for condo. The question of what you want to own is actually the question of how you want to live your life. Many people don't believe this at first, but when they experience the difference, it truly is life-changing. In fact, Netflix recently released a whole television series with Marie Kondo, where she completely transforms the lives of everyday people through organization and decluttering, spoiler alert things get pretty emotional and lives gets seriously transformed. On that note, let's take a moment to shift back to our digital lives. Like material clutter, hoarding digital clutter can be just as if not more so damaging and hindering. For me and Jonathan, the question of what you digitally interact with is also a question of how you live your life. Ask yourself, do my digital interactions fundamentally make me feel better or worse? The best way to really take note of this is to try this challenge for the next 24 hours each time you handle a digital device. Take note of how you feel before you reach to touch your phone or computer, and then how you feel after you've used the device or app. You'll probably realize that well, some of your digital interactions improve your sense of well-being or your sense of productivity. Many don't. Now, don't get us wrong. We are not against technology. Technology is amazing. Technological advancements save lives, save time, and save energy with mobile technology in the palm of our hands. It has never been easier to connect with loved ones. Watch life-changing films, travel the world, or collect data for an exciting new work initiative. We are, however, advocates for taking back control of your technology. It's up to you to decide when and how you use your devices. In order to enjoy the benefits of technology, we need to be using our technology well, being attentive to our goals and our habits. When we're not in control, when our technology is running us, then we're at risk of digital overwhelm. And just like the types of real-world clutter than Marie Kondo writes about. Digital overwhelm causes us to feel stressed, distracted, and competent, and even isolated our minds, bodies and attention suffer. Stanford professor Clifford Nas spent 25 years studying the impact of human interaction with technology. Finding in study after study that technology is not nurturing the ability to concentrate, analyze, or feel empathy. So for the most part, technology isn't making us into better people, but it's also not even making us into better workers. The latest studies are unclear on whether this generation's upswing and technology use is actually altering our brain. But studies have confirmed that a digitally distracted brain is a poorly performing brain. And a 2009 study, nastiness team confirmed that digital multitasking does little more than produce a dangerous illusion of competence. We think we are good at multitasking, but really we end up perpetually distracted. Jumping from screen to screen, task to task, email to notification, to Instagram. Our biological programming was just not intended to be able to handle this unprecedented level of digital input. Numerous Technology X X have come forward and confirmed that many of the platforms and apps we use every day were actually designed to encourage distraction, consuming our time and attention. Each time we get a notification or receive a social media like the dopamine pathways in our brains get activated, keeping us coming back for more and more. We end up in a perpetual state of decision fatigue and context switching. As our brains process an avalanche of inputs and identify what is relevant. This kind of digital distraction make sticking to priorities impossible. But we'll get into more depth about that later on in the course. Digital overwhelm matters, not just because it's making us less efficient or effective at achieving our goals, but also because it's getting in the way of what actually makes us feel content and connected with our attention, hijacked, our workspace disorderly and our brain's craving our next digital dopamine hit. We are unable to double down and accomplish Deep Work. The term that productivity thought leader, Cal Newport uses to describe the activity of focusing without distraction on a cognitively demanding task. We feel like we never have enough time to see our friends or our family. But then we waste hours and hours answering and sorting emails and browsing through social media. Digitally distracted. We have personal and professional goals we just never reach. But don't worry, there is another way. In the next lecture, we're going to look at our alternative to digital overwhelm. Digital peace of mind. 4. The Alternative: Digital Peace of Mind: So what's the alternative to digital overwhelm? And what does it look like? Digital peace of mind. If digital overwhelm is the sensation that our digital life has got an out-of-control than digital peace of mind is the sensation that our digital life is in-control. Digital peace of mind means lasting order. A means that all of your digital tools from your computer to your phone and beyond are set up in ways that empower you to do your best work easily and efficiently. It means getting rid of all of the stress and guilt you carry around the stress of missing important emails or losing important files. Guilt of other people suffering from your disorganization and overwhelm the anxiety of never knowing if your backups are actually up to date. All of that is about to go away. And for this reason, digital peace of mind means freedom. While you'll learn how to automate a lot of this throughout the course. This kind of transformative order can only happen when you are truly managing your digital life with the same kind of effort and awareness that we dedicate to financial management or our exercise routines. This means getting our fundamentals right first and foremost, that's why, though we know you are eager to dive in and start organizing, the entire next section of the course is going to teach you the fundamentals to create a lasting and robust organizational ecosystem. Before we set up our new digital systems will be setting you up for success. Will do this by re-establishing healthy relationship to our technology. And then actually digitally decluttering, getting rid of digital habits that don't serve our goals or priorities. As the saying goes out with the old and in with the new. Then and only then will we be free to set up new sustainable systems for managing our digital lives? So up next, we have an exercise for you. You are going to be mapping out all of your digital devices and workspaces and assessing the condition that they are in. This might be a source of stress and anxiety for you, but don't worry. The sooner we know what we're dealing with, the sooner we can deal with it. In no time, you'll be organizing and taking back control of each and everyone of those devices. Go ahead and head on over to the worksheet and let's get to work. 5. The Importance of Robust Systems: Next up, we're going to dive in to the fundamentals to digital peace of mind will begin by covering our guiding principles for effective digital organization. Robust systems, cloud-based storage, and powerful automation. First up, robust systems. Now that you've taken an inventory of your digital footprint, you might be surprised by how much digital clutter you have accumulated. You may even be wondering, how did it get like this? First of all, I want to say that this is completely normal and it's not your fault. You see, while most of us were taught how to type in school and use basic computer programs. Very few of us were taught the skills needed to organize our digital lives. This is similar to the ways that schools teach us how to do math and basic economics, but don't go into the most important skill of managing our personal finances. What's more, though, there are usually great tutorial videos for every app, device or service that we use. Those tutorials focused almost exclusively on features. It's very rare for a manual to give you recommendations on how to actually stay organized within that app, service or device, right? Or how to leverage the outmost effectively for your personal needs. Most tech companies want you to use their products as frequently as possible, not as intelligently or as thoughtfully as possible. On top of all of this, when it comes to our digital lives, we have to acknowledge that these are systems that are being rigorously use every single day. A nice metaphor that I like to use is to compare the level of clutter and disorder in a family home with three kids versus the level of clutter and mess in a vacation home that only gets used once a year. Obviously, the active lively home is going to be much less orderly, right? That means that it really is important for you to set up your technology and your systems in a way that actually works with the rigorous snus and regularity that you use them. Now, let me remind you, nearly all of us spend at least 40 hours per week immersed in our digital worlds. And let's be honest, for most of us, it's much more like 80 to a 100 hours. This is because we use our digital devices for just about everything, from communicating with others, to doing our jobs, to researching and even to relax and wind down what's more. We share many aspects of those digital worlds with various members of our team, our friends or our families. Of course, things are going to get disorganized if left to their own devices. After all, this is the second law of thermodynamics. Without some level of intervention, entropy or disorder always increases over time. But it's probably safe to say that you've tried some different interventions in the past. You've gone through and cleaned out your inbox, Organize your files before transferring to that new computer or sorted out your photos. Why then? Does the clutter persists? Why can't we seem to beat that pesky second law of thermodynamics. In just about every case, clutter persists because systems aren't robust or easy enough to face the challenges they are subjected to. Your digital world consisted of a simple word processor, like computers in the early 19 eighties, you might be able to manage it without a very robust system. But when your digital world includes everything from your calendar to your photos and even your financial life. You need much, much more robust systems. Systems that withstand the pressures of daily use and abuse. Frictionless systems that make Organization as easy or even easier than disarray. In his book, willpower doesn't work. My dear friend and psychologists, Dr. Benjamin hearty, explains that for actually achieving the things we set out to, we simply cannot rely on willpower. Instead, Dr. Hardy explains that we must deliberately design our environment to effectively force us to do the things we wanna do. If we want to work out five times a week, we can't depend on willpower to get us to the gym. We must instead commit to a friend or pre-pay for classes or find some other way to make it literally easier for us to just comply. Wanna spend less time surfing the internet and instead get to bed at a reasonable hour. Set your Wi-Fi router to shut off at 08:00 PM. Ben calls these types of systems forcing functions, and they are one of the key secrets to his meteoric rise to success. Throughout this course, we are going to teach you how to create, apply, and use systems that are incredibly robust. These systems will withstand the pressures of your typical busy, complex digital life and endure whatever you can throw at them. But above all of that, wherever possible, we are going to teach you how to create systems that act as forcing functions. They will literally force you to maintain order either through automation or by giving you no other option. In short, unlike every other attempt you've made at gaining control over your digital life. This time, it's going to stick. And we're going to show you how. 6. The Power of “The Cloud”: In recent years, the world has been overtaken by the rise of cloud computing. It seems that anything and everything can be done in the cloud today and that this is clearly the wave of the future. Of course, cloud computing doesn't come without its drawbacks. Many users are concerned about the potential privacy breaches or things like having their data harvested and used to advertise to them. But overall, cloud computing offers a ton of powerful benefits, particularly for eliminating digital overwhelm and clutter. The first and most obvious benefit to cloud computing is redundancy. Many of you will be old enough to remember a time when if you lost your laptop, dropped it, or had some kind of free card drive failure, you're out of luck. With cloud computing. All of your files are stored in centralized servers, which are often backed up multiple times by the service provider. This means that losing our files is much, much more difficult. And therefore, our files are paradoxically much safer when we aren't the ones responsible for storing them. The next major benefit is centralization. When we store information on the cloud, it is no longer kept in various different repositories. Instead of having to worry about which files in which versions of those files are kept on. Each of our various devices were able to work from a central resource. This makes it incredibly easy to have all of the files you need anywhere you go, even if you aren't on your own devices. All you need is a login and you have all of the files, contacts, photos, other resources that you need. What's more? Because cloud computing solutions mean that you work directly off of the server. You never need to worry about version control or having different people see different versions of a document. An added benefit decentralization is that your organizational structure remains the same from device to device to device. Unlike in the olden days when you had to manually organize files on each of your devices such as your work computer and your personal computer. When do you use Cloud services? You only need to organize once. Because of all of these benefits. This course and the strategies we teach in it lean heavily towards cloud-based solutions. Using these cloud solutions makes it much easier to design systems that are robust and easy to maintain. That's why we suggest cloud solutions for critical data, such as contacts, calendars, financial information and files, as well as for less critical data ranging from photos and music all the way to personal journals and home videos. Though there are some things you will certainly want to keep off of the cloud for the most part, this course is going to teach you how to seamlessly integrate your digital lives, both new and old, leveraging the cloud. And not to worry because we're going to teach you how to ensure that all of your information is backed up so that you're never fully dependent on a nameless, faceless tech company for your data. In short, you will find that the cloud is going to be the backbone of your digitally D cluttered world. For many of you, this may take some adjusting, but not to worry. We're going to take it slow one tool at a time and give you time to play with and practice. As you go. Over time, you'll start to see why life on the Cloud is so much simpler and easier. 7. Leveraging Automation To Reduce Friction: Earlier on in the course, we talked about forcing functions and making it easier to stay organized, then disorganized. In this lecture, we're going to talk about how to do that with automation. As our worlds become more digitized and more cloud-based, automation becomes a more and more powerful option for taking care of all or organizational needs. You see once things are stored either on our own computers or on the cloud, we can use powerful programs to automatically tidy up after us based on specific rules that you set. This is powerful for a few different reasons. One, as we said before, once you automate something, it literally becomes easier to stay organized than to go back to your old cluttered ways. If you develop a set of rules that automatically sort your files based on the type of file they are and where they came from, it's easier to just let that program run rather than moving the file manually to your desktop. In fact, you probably won't even know that it's happening. And that's another one of the major perks you see in my courses on productivity and automation. I talk a lot about moving away from not important and not urgent tasks and shifting your efforts towards the important but not urgent tasks that most of us ignore. These important but not urgent tasks are usually the things that matter most in life, from spending time with family to strategic planning on projects, to taking care of our own health and more. Now, where do you think organising emails and photos falls on that matrix? Obviously, it's not that important and it's definitely not urgent. Most people lived decades with this chaos and only organized their files when they're bored on a flight or need to find something. But with automation, you can take hundreds or thousands of tiny little tasks off of your subconscious to-do list without even having to think about them. You can clear space and stress from your mind and time from your day. While little magic digital elves take care of everything for you. And sure, it might only take three seconds for you to drag a file to the right folder or file an important email away for safekeeping. But hey, those seconds add up. In fact, in the grand scheme of things, even if you mostly neglect organization, it's reasonable to say that you still end up spending a few hours on it every single month. Not to mention the fact that these little interruptions are killing your focus and productivity. That's why as much as possible, we want to automate your organization. We want to create systems and rules that are going to just handle it while you focus on more important things, that way, it becomes easy for you to stay organized and your systems are truly robust. After all, computers never sleep, they never make mistakes, and they never get tired. If you program them correctly, they will never fail to keep you organized and tidy. Now, at first, automation might seem like something that only very technical people can utilize. You might be thinking of the tech genius Tony Stark and his fully automated home and life. But in reality, setting up complex sets of automation doesn't have to be hard or scary. In recent years, a great number of tools, apps, and services have come out that make it easy for anyone, even non-technical people, to build automations. And these automations can handle hundreds or even thousands of tasks for you, whether on your phone, on your desktop, computer, on the cloud, even in specific pieces of software that you use. In fact, in my company, we automate around 50 thousand simple administrative tasks and organizational tasks every single month using the exact tools that we're going to show you. And we've never written a line of code to do it either. As we proceed through out the course, you're going to learn how to automate all kinds of things. From automatically filing certain kinds of emails into folders to automatically moving files around on our computers or a cloud drives, and even automatically tidying up old or unused stuff throughout our digital ecosystem. We're going to get to all of it. So as we proceed throughout the course, we want you to be open to automation. It's very easy to come up with a list of objections ranging from, my life is too complex to automate too. It's just not worth the time to set up or even just plain old, I don't know how. But in reality, everyone can learn and benefit a great deal from automating their technology. So keep an open mind, be willing to learn. And as we proceed throughout the course, we'll show you how to use automation to save time and reduce digital overwhelm. 8. Reestablishing A Healthy Relationship With Your Technology: Now that we're clear on the fundamentals to digital peace of mind, let's move on to actually re-establishing a healthy relationship with our technology. Since the moment mobile phones landed in our hands, the demands of digital living have steadily piled up. Sometimes it feels like we're dating our devices there. The first thing we see in the morning and the last thing that we touch before we fall asleep are devices dictate our schedule, our attention, and our time. We've discussed that organization is a habit that can be learned and encouraged through robust systems. But it's not just outward forces that are to blame for our digital disasters, just like any other area of our life, we are active players in shaping how and when we interact with our technology. Ideally, technology is an enabler. It helps us to achieve targets, saves time, or improved quality. When used properly, technological tools can help us get where we want to go. And yet many of us feel that technology is getting in the way of our bigger goals or even suffocating us. So now we're going to give you an opportunity. It's time to envision what a healthy relationship with technology could look like for you. What do you want your relationship with technology to be like going forward? If he need help, identifying what needs to change. Just imagine what your loved ones would say about your current technology use. What might a healthy relationship with technology even look like? Well, you have a morning, evening routine free from technology use, you're not always reachable. You have identified your preferred ways of being contacted and have set up systems to encourage communication through these channels. You prioritize your personal relationships over mindless device Time or social media scrolling. You easily an irregularly go into Deep Work Mode, making progress in your professional and creative pursuits. These are a few common signs of happy digital lists. Jonathan and I both consider ourselves proud members of this camp. While we frequently use technology and enjoy its many benefits, our technology does not use us. As you progress through the extended version of this course. Remember that digital decluttering is based on more than just organizing your files or setting up systems. It's also about bringing awareness to your technology use. It's up to you to reset your relationship with technology to be on your terms, terms that actually serve your personal and professional goals. One of the quickest ways to move towards a healthier relationship with technology is to reset your usage by eliminating unnecessary apps and notifications. Let's kick off our Risa with a few quick actions. First, let's do an app. Cleanse, pause this video and take out your phone. Take ten minutes right now, and look through all of your apps one by one, and delete any app that you haven't used in the last six months. And while you're at it, delete any apps that you don't want to use anymore. Games, old or duplicate apps. I can't decide about one of your apps. Be brave. Go ahead and delete it for now. And if in a few days you realize you want an app back, just free download it. Then next, let's do a notifications reset. Go to your phone settings and notifications on your iPhone. We recommend looking at the screen time setting, opening up your screen time report, and then scrolling all the way to the bottom notifications where you will see a complete listing of Haumea and notifications you currently get per day on your Android device. You can view this in the digital well-being setting. For many of you, this will be a big wake-up call. From there, it's up to you which notifications you ultimately decide you want to disable. But we encourage you to first try disabling all of your banner notifications for one day. Then identify which notifications you truly missed or felt you needed and re-enable only those. We've found that for most people, text messages or the only Benner notifications you may end up feeling you truly need. So remember, the fewer interruptions you have, the better. You can do the same with notifications also for your web browser and your computers apps. Next, routine design. Think through your current morning and evening routines. Are you sleeping well and waking up energized and stress-free? When do you first see a screen in the morning and when do you put your screens away at night? For the next seven days? Try resetting your routine. Experiment with a 15-minute digital free quiet time when you first wake up and right before you fall asleep for those 15 minutes, do anything you want that improves your quality of life. As long as it has nothing to do with a screen. You can meditate, stretch, exercise, make a cup of tea, do a five-minute journal exercise. Hug your partner, really anything you want, just no screen time. For many of you, this is going to prove much more difficult than you imagine. And most likely that is going to be yet another wake-up call. But by drawing a line in the sand and beginning to proactively create the type of relationship that you want with your digital devices. You are taking the first step towards claiming back power later on in the digital Zen portion of this extended version of this course, we are going to go much deeper into how you can change your interaction with technology. For now, take a few minutes to perform the steps we've listed above so that you can proceed through the rest of this course unhindered. 9. Digital Minimalism: The #1 Strategy To Achieve Order: We can set up the right robust systems, transition all of our data to the cloud, automate some processes, and even establish a healthy relationship with our technology. But how do we make sure all of that lasts? How do we truly create digital order that last the test of time, workplace noise, and human fallibility through digital minimalism. Productivity thought leader Cal Newport has provided us with a working definition for digital minimalism. A philosophy that helps you question what digital communication tools and behaviors surrounding these tools add the most value to your life. Newport explains it is motivated by the belief that intentionally and aggressively clearing away low-value digital noise and optimizing your use of the tools that really matter can significantly improve your life. In his book, Digital minimalism, choosing a focus life in a noisy world. And on his blog, Newport makes a strong case for the benefits of radically reducing the time we spend online. He outlines several core principles of digital minimalism, including missing out is not negative and less can be more. Digital. Clutter is stressful, attention is scarce and fragile. Many of the best uses of the online world support better living offline and be wary of tools that solve a problem that didn't exist before the tool. These principles are foundational to the hands-on implementation we will do later on. They are important and they help answer many of the wise surrounding digital organization. But the next question on our digital organization journey is how, how do we actually implement these principles of digital minimalism by using our number one strategy for achieving digital order, everything needs to have a place. This idea, inspired by world-renowned tidying expert Marie Kondo, is absolutely foundational to the digital decluttering method you will learn in this course. And if it works for organizing the homes of millions of busy families, it will definitely work for organizing your digital life. At its core, the idea is simple. Every component of your digital life should have a distinct home, a location for the master version of the file. Ideally, as we've mentioned before, this home is centrally located in the cloud. This ensures no duplicate or lost files, eliminating confusion and reducing anxiety. Here's an example. If you have some passwords on an app, seminar, phone notes, some saved in your browser's Password Manager and still others on a Google doc, you will constantly be wasting time on logging into websites. This is something that should be really basic, but all too often sex up people's time with trying different logins, hunting for old buzzwords and doing password resets. Not to mention the massive security threat that randomly storing unencrypted passwords represents. Instead, all of your passwords should be stored in a single encrypted app. That app can be linked across devices so that you can access it anywhere. But there will only be one home for your passwords. That's a pretty straightforward example. But you might be thinking, what about something more complicated? Like my photos? Are you saying that I should only have my photos on one device? If you're like most people, you may have some photos on your phone, someone, your computer, some backed up onto the cloud and some old photos on a hard drives kicking around somewhere. Not to mention those old family albums full of printed photos. What a disaster. What we are proposing instead is that the master record of your files should reside in one digital, preferably cloud-based home. This master version of the file can then be succinct across platforms. For example, with our cloud-based approach or organization, photos will be consolidated on a single platform. For example, iCloud or Google Drive, and then be easily accessible from every device. Never again will you have to guess at where a specific photo lives when you need it? And never again will you have to worry about losing your photos. And by the way, if just thinking about your current photo situation, has you feeling anxious to home worry. We have an entire step-by-step lesson dedicated to helping you organize this later on. When everything has just one home. You always know where everything is and you can quickly add, delete, or modify files. What's more? There's no longer any need to do things twice or three times or more. When you add or delete a file once the changes are synchronized everywhere, keep this strategy in mind as we progress through later stages of the digital centralizing and decluttering process from organizing your calendar, your contacts list, and even your work documents. 10. What Intuitive Organizational Type Are You?: As we move through the digital decluttering process, it's important that you understand what level of organization is realistic and functional for you. That's why we've developed the intuitive organizational type model and assessment that examines our organizational tendencies and preferences. The intuitive organizational type model is based on the idea that each person falls somewhere different on the continuum of organization. Knowing your organizational type is not just about knowing how organized you naturally are, and is also about knowing what level of organization is functional and productive for you. Now, these are general categories and descriptions. So you will find that none of these may fit you perfectly. Our organizational habits and preferences can shift during our life cycle, can alter as we changed jobs and can even fluctuate from day-to-day. Some of us are competent sometimes, or strivers other times and still indifferent most of the time. However, it can be helpful for you to identify your base or dominant type. The intuitive organizational type that is most dominant in your personality and thus dictates the majority of your habits. Your type is based on where you fall along two different measures. One, your organizational preference or how organized you prefer or like things to be and to your organizational tendency. Intuitive or natural it is for you to be and stay organized. The four common types are competent, naturally organized Bell without a strong preference for organization, strong natural tendency for minimal clutter and quick decisions. Executer, naturally organized and a strong preference for organization. This is closest to the traditional type, a personality. This person has a strong preference and appreciation for systems, categories and processes. Indifferent, low inclination towards organization and no strong preference for it. Comfortable with ambiguity and often inclined towards creative work. Driver, low inclination towards organization, and a strong preference for it. Typical patterns may include trying to get organized or setting up systems, but then having issues maintaining them. This type of person may have a narrative of being disorganized and may even feel that not being organized holds them back. It's important to note that no type is superior or better than any other type. Each type just walks through the world and through their digital life differently. The takeaway here is not that you should try to change your type. In fact, the opposite. By embracing your type, you may even gain a better understanding about the type of work you should be doing in the world and maybe even help others. Personally. I used to fight my executer type. Hating that organization was so important to me. Well, so many of my colleagues were unbothered by their digital disasters. If I had dozens of emails piled up in my inbox or unsorted files. I just felt like I couldn't focus on getting important work done. But over time, I've learned to channel my organization inclinations and preferences. Setting up digital systems that work in the long run with minimal maintenance by leaning into my natural preference and tendency, I've also been able to help others. In fact, this course is only possible because I've learned to embrace my executer type personality. By knowing your intuitive organizational type, you can set realistic expectations for yourself and also gain greater awareness of your personal hangups. For example, a strive or type can get overly fixated on the perfect organization system, neglecting high-impact tasks. As a result, a competent type person can choose to zoom through some sections of this course, choosing not to spend too much time on some of the more minor detailed areas. So whatever your base intuitive organizational type is, This course will help you stay focused on high impact changes, decluttering the most critical digital functions. Ready to figure out your intuitive organizational type? Go ahead and open up the following worksheet to discover your type and uncover specific guidelines for it. The more you know about your organizational style, the easier this journey will be. 11. What To Do When “Life Happens”: At this point in the course, you understand that there is a better way to live your digital life. What's more, you know why it's so important? But listen, we're all human. We all go through busy periods in our lives where we are flying by the seat of our pants and can barely keep up with everything we need to. During those periods. They can be difficult or even impossible to maintain a sense of digital Zen and stay de cluttered even if your systems are incredibly robust. In other words, sometimes life happens in those situations. What do we do? First and foremost, it's important to never beat yourself up. If you become too hard on yourself or pessimistic or come to conclusions when this happens, you will fall prey to what psychologists lovingly call the what the hell effect. The What the hell effect is the psychological effect at play when you decide after eating an unhealthy lunch that you might as well eat and unhealthy dinner to. It's the psychological effect that convinces you that tech, you skip the gym all week. You might as well skip it this weekend to, among behavioral scientists, this is a known cognitive bias. But here's the thing. This line of thinking is not rational and it's not helpful because things get a little out of control or we fail to maintain a perfect streak at whatever our goal is, doesn't mean we should just give up. If we stop and think about it rationally, eating a whole box of cookies is way worse than eating just three. And the same is true with our digital lives. If your email, computer files, or anything else becomes a little disorganized, treat yourself with understanding and compassion rather than jumping to conclusions about how disorganized you are or how you're failing at your goal of staying organized. Stories like I am disorganized and this is hopeless. I'll never get this under control, are unhelpful and they get in the way of our progress. Instead, understand that this is normal and natural to sometimes lose control and plan ahead. In fact, we recommend setting up a regular ritual for what we like to call routine maintenance. This ritual could be based on specific times, such as setting aside a half hour at the end of every Friday, or based on specific tasks. For example, I know Maya makes it a point to go through and do a full maintenance clean up of her whole digital ecosystem once a week. For you. You might choose to organize your files or sort through your email inbox while you're watching your favorite TV shows, or even while on the exercise bike, when and how you do this regular maintenance isn't as important. The fact that you just do it just like you probably wouldn't go weeks or months without cleaning your house or apartment or having it clean for you. So too, should you make a regular cleanup session a part of your new digitally organized life. We found that for most people, a once a week, one or maybe two hour session at the end of their workweek for maintenance of all digital tasks, including email, works pretty well. If you make an effort to regularly keep things tidy, they will never get completely out of control and you'll never fall prey to the What the hell effect. Plus later on in the course, when we show you some of our favorite tools for automating much of this tidying, it'll become even easier. 12. Wrangling All Of Your Email Accounts: Now that you understand the dangers of losing control of your digital life, it's time for you to regain control. Let's get started with one of our biggest time suckers. Energy waster is and digital noise sources. Your inbox. Yes, it is. Time to tame the email beast. We all know that email can be a giant waste of time. But if you were to actually track how much time you spent replying and writing emails, starring, sorting and procrastinating, you'd probably be shocked. Mckinsey's Global Institute conducted a study on productivity in 2012 and found that workers are spending an average of 28% of their workweek reading and answering email. Nearly 1 third of their time. Email can be an effective communication tool, but all too often, people use email for brainstorming, decision-making or other functions that are best done on another platform, on the phone or in person. Too many people have become their own bureaucrats spending hours a day reading and replying to messages. Our solution is simple. Quiet your inbox. Jonathan and I are both adamant about best practice inbox management. We've tried it all. Inbox 0, get things done, and tons of new third-party plug-ins that promise more effective inbox management. But we found that for most people, none of these sustainably get to the root of the problem, which is that email has essentially become a digital dumpster. And that's why in this course for going to teach you a system that actually works and more importantly, actually works for yield. Our four-step inbox freedom approach helps you sustainably manage your inbox. It goes like this. Step one ideal state. We want to transform our inbox into an actionable task list rather than an assorted junk box. Step to declutter, we're going to consolidate and clean up all of your existing email accounts and reduce the flow of incoming communications. Step three, systematize. We'll set up a new system that simplifies how you process and action your emails. And step four, implement, you'll put that system to work, refining and customizing it to suit your needs. In the upcoming lessons, we'll walk you through exactly how to use this approach to achieve inbox Freedom. By the time you're done, your email will have gone from this to this, a clear and straightforward action lists. Now that we know what we're aiming for, let's start decluttering. First. We'll want to consolidate and clean up your accounts. Before we take a dive into the old email dumpster, we need to have a clear picture of two things. How many accounts you currently have and what you use them for. Let's begin by putting together a list of all of your existing and legacy email accounts. For most people, this looks something like this. Number one, personal email accounts, a personal account you use on a daily basis, usually Gmail, outlook, Yahoo, et cetera. Number two, work or professional email accounts and account you're used primarily for work purposes, may be linked to an employer server. Number three, legacy email accounts, any super old accounts you no longer use regularly. Often with fun, embarrassing names like too cool for school AT And number four, spam email accounts. These are accounts you use just for receiving newsletters, advertising for Ahmose, et cetera. Please pause this video and take a few minutes to list out all of your email addresses, including the passwords to those accounts. If you have forgotten password and each a reset it, go ahead and do that. Now for extra credit kicks and giggles. You can also note that total number of emails in each of those accounts. That way you can see how far you've come by the end of this process, make sure you've got them all, even that Hotmail account you haven't touched in 11 years, this step may seem minor, but we promise that it's the key to cleaning up your digital footprint. You're going to want this list easily accessible so that we can swiftly handle all of your accounts. And don't worry right now about the security of jotting down your passwords. You can and probably will reset them all later. But right now, we want to be able to quickly log in to all of your accounts without getting bogged down. One more thing. Take a look at this list and see if there are any email accounts that you already know, you can completely delete. If you haven't touched the account in over two years, it probably can go. If there are only a few emails here or there that you need to keep, just forward them to your primary personal or work email address and then you can delete the entire account. Doesn't that feel good? We're only getting started. 13. Inbox vs. Archive: Achieving Inbox Freedom: You should now have a list of all of your email accounts and their passwords. The next thing we're going to do is start de-cluttering your old email accounts. We're going to begin to clean up each of your accounts by removing auto filters and then using the archive function. These two functions will help us quickly and efficiently began to handle your inbox situation. In recent years, male platforms like Gmail had been deploying automated filters. Don't worry, we are going to add a new filters and automations later. But first, we want to remove the one size fits all filters that pre filter your e-mail. This makes it possible for us to see and handle all of your outstanding emails. This will give you back control of your inbox instead of having your email provider Auto Read and sort emails for you. For some of you who previously had this priority inbox selection, this is where things can look like. They get a little bit tricky because you will no longer have three panels in your inbox. And instead, all of your emails will be lumped together into one pane. So let's begin by opening up your most frequently used email account. If you're using Gmail, remove any existing auto folder setup by opening up settings inbox, inbox type, change your inbox type to default and save the new settings. Also check that all category labels under Settings labels, categories have been selected to hide so that they are not visible on the left menu. Now, when you refresh your inbox, you should have all of your email is visible in one panel. Next up, let's leverage the archive feature. After all, in my experience, one of the biggest areas of confusion and therefore clutter is caused by the fact that people don't understand how archive works or how it's different from delete. So how does archival work? When you send an email to archive, it is not deleted. In fact, your archive is essentially a searchable email depository. Search has become so advanced that we can now virtually find anything we need just by searching for it. Archive lets you search your entire email database without having any of those old emails clogging up your inbox. This makes archive and excellent way to clean up your inbox without deleting the emails. This means that when you send an email to archive, it still exists on your email server, but will no longer appear in your inbox. Also, archived emails will still be active when it comes to responses. When you archive a message, but someone responds to it, the reply message comes back to your inbox. You might still be wondering, why don't we just delete all of our old emails? Wouldn't that just be easiest? While you can, especially when it comes to all of those pages and pages of spam emails. But we've learned that most people tend to get caught up in the deletion process and never finish. Instead spending hours and hours reading an unnecessarily sorting through all the emails. The fear than an email will be forever lost, ends up getting in the way of actually cleaning it out. We have found that for most people, Archive is the most effective way to clean out your old email inboxes while still ensuring that you have access to emails you May 1 day need. In fact, in 2011, IBM conducted a study which found that finding old emails via email search was more efficient than digging around in a folder system. So in the rare chance that six years from now, you will need that one insurance policy form. You'll be able to find it in your email archive just by searching for your insurance providers name or email address. Email magic. Now that you understand the power of the archive feature, we hope that you'll feel little to no anxiety or attachment to the millions of emails in your inbox. And that's a good thing because in the next lecture, we are going to take a machete to them and cut down the clutter in broad strokes. 14. The Machete: Cutting Down Your Overloaded Inbox: Now that we understand exactly how the archive functionality works, it's time to put it to good use by archiving the vast majority of the emails in your inbox. What if the biggest barriers to entry for people when they go to clean out their inbox is the sheer amount of time and energy it would take to do it. After all, going through every single one of the emails in your inbox of which there may be 20 thousand or more, is simply not feasible. Fortunately, we're not going to ask you to do that. You see, because you now know that you can find any archived e-mail you need instantly with the Search function, it is safe for you to take a machete to your email inbox and cleared out the fast way. Here's how. Step one, you're going to choose a keep date. This is the date after which you will mass archive all emails. By choosing a keep date, you acknowledge that if something is of a certain age, you really don't need to have it in your inbox. It's probably no longer relevant. Of course, this doesn't need to be set in stone. It's just a general guideline date. We encourage you to choose a fairly recent keep date. That's because the more aggressive you are with us keep date, meaning the more recent of a date you choose, the easier the rest of this section is going to be for you. So we encourage you to ask yourself, do you really need emails in your inbox that are more than three months old. Most people choose somewhere between six months and one year. But if you're feeling particularly confident or wanna save yourself a lot of work later, you can choose 32 or even one month. If you're not feeling so sure about this, you can go ahead and go with a date of one year. Next, step two, we're going to archive all emails priority or keep date. To do this, you're going to go up to the search bar and type in before you are keeping, for example, before December 31st, 2018, that's going to pull up all emails prior to 2019. Great. So we have all of these emails pulled up. And now you can just select all this brings up 50 messages. You can also speed this up by selecting all messages that match this search. Now we've selected all emails prior to this keep date. Finally, step three, hit the archive button at the top of the page. This Archives all of the emails prior to your keep date. This may seem a bit extreme, like we're throwing you in the deep end. But in reality, the only way that you can succeed going forward is if you start from a clean slate and this is a lot like the way Marie Kondo starts the con reorganization method by having people pile all of their close up in the middle of the room so they can start with a clean closet and Riyadh, only the things they really need to look at the bright side, at least with digital de-clutter. There's no backbreaking labor and we can apply rules like a keep date to dramatically speed things up. I will mention that if it makes you feel super nervous to archive thousands of emails at once, you can do a test run first, first, archive just a few emails or one page of emails, and then run a search with an email senders name to see how easy it is to find your old emails. Congratulations, you did it. The worst part is over. For now. You can repeat this set of steps for each of your email accounts. Archiving old emails is going to massively clear up your inbox, paving the way for our new email systems. And now that we're done with the rough cuts of the machete, it's time to go in with a scalpel and do some fine tuning until we arrive at a new neat and tidy inbox you can actually work with. 15. The Scalpel: Strategically Cutting Down The Rest Of Your Inbox: So we've archived all of your old emails and now we're ready to continue our email clean up. Next we're going to quickly run through your more recent remaining emails. We've already done a mass archive, so now we are zeroing in on specific emails. This is another stage that can be overwhelming for some. Even if you've said it keep date of only three months back, you might have hundreds or even thousands of emails to go through. Archiving each of them individually is simply not possible. So how can you do this most effectively? In this lesson, we are going to use Gmail search operators to cut down our overloaded inboxes and quickly delete or archive emails in mass. Gmail search operators are words we can use to filter our Gmail search results. They allow us to specify criteria and find large groups of emails easily. They take some getting used to and you can always look up new ones. Once you know how to work with them, you're going to see the benefit of having this powerful tool and your decluttering toolkit. Note that these search operators are relevant for other email platforms as well. So regardless of if your account is AOL, Hotmail, et cetera, you can still use this approach of search and filter to mass delete emails. Before we do that, we do have one optional step, removing all existing tags and folders. The idea here is to get the full picture of all of your email activity. As we've mentioned before, this is the digital equivalent of taking all of the clothes out of your closet during a kahn Murray cleanse. To remove your older folders, go to your email account, settings, labels and remove each label. This will remove the label from all relevant email conversations and delete the label. This will not delete those emails. You can still find them by running an email search or under the all-male label. Why are we removing labels? Although you may have painstakingly created a super structured filing system for organizing your emails. You've probably experienced the pitfalls of such a system. You can quickly end up falling behind on organizing your email. And this effort just isn't necessary anymore given how powerful search is. By constantly needing to file and sort through emails, you still end up being a slave to your email. That being said, we know that some of you may be pretty attached to your existing filing system and wanted to keep some or all of your existing folders. No problem. You can skip this step for now, or perhaps do it at a later stage when you feel ready. So let's go ahead and use Gmail search operators to delete or archive emails and bulk. Our goal here is basically to delete or archive as many e-mails as possible. Basically, any email that doesn't still require you to take an action and leave you with an inbox that contains only the things you need to take action on. We're going to jump over to a screencasts so you can see exactly how you might use Gmail search operators to get rid of lots of emails at once. So when it comes to search operators, especially Gmail search operators, a lot of people get super intimidated. I mean, they're squiggly lines, it's in that font that they always put computer code in. So people think that this is some super advanced feature. Only specific people can use. But the truth of the matter is, is that anyone can learn to use these and they actually are done in natural human language. I mean, how easy is older than or newer than? We really do recommend using these specific search operators and learning them and becoming comfortable with them. Again, you can always look them up and keep them as a reference for anything that you need to do. But they're so incredibly powerful once you learn them because you can do such cool stuff like, let's say for example, that I want to look at all emails from before 20161231. Let's see what emails I have for that search. Well, look at that here. All my emails from 2016 or let's say I wanted to see all emails from a specific center, for example, online jobs. We'll look at that here. All the emails I've ever found or ever received from online jobs. But you can actually get way more Ninja than that. For example, you can combine operators and say subject admin. So here's all the emails from online jobs, which include the Search Admin. And you can go even further than that. For example, specific labels, specific attachments. Let's say you want to see all the emails that you have, for example, because you are running out of space on Gmail, you wanna see all emails with attachments. And you would just search like that. And now let's just say that there's a specific person who always sends you really, really big pictures. And, you know, you just don't need all those attachments or maybe your voicemail comes to your mail and you're thinking, I don't need all those old voicemails. Well, here's a search has attachment from voicemail. And I could just delete all these really big files that come from my telephone provider company and get rid of them. It's so much easier than trying to search for the manually. And the list goes on and on and on and on. You can have specific searches for different people who were cc'd. For example, let's see, every time that I have had Maya cc'd on an email chain here, all the emails that Maya's ever been cc'd on and it goes on and on and on. So that's the power of Gmail search operators. Now, let me turn it back to Maya to show you what else you can do. Pretty amazing, right? We've included a link to the full list of Gmail search operators on the PDF syllabus. Remember, you can also use two or more search operators at once and combine them in unique ways to get to the exact emails you need. Later on when we rebuild our filters, this is going to be particularly powerful. So spend a little bit of time familiarizing yourself with these search operators. Now it's time for you to get to work. Repeat this set of steps for each of your email accounts. Remember, Gmail search operators help you archive or delete emails in mass. Each time you create a search, try to think of what things a group of emails has in common. You may want to get rid of all emails from a specific company that sends you newsletters or all emails with the word receipt in the subject or body, or all email sent to an alias email address you used for spam. By the time you are done, the only e-mails you should have left should be emails that require actions such as emails. You want to read. Emails with tasks that you want to assign to someone else, or emails that require some other kind of action when you have reached that point. And only when you've reached that point, you can continue to the next lecture. 16. Get A Grip On Your Subscriptions: Quieting your inbox means de-cluttering past emails and using archive and search operator functionalities to delete an archive old emails. But deep lasting decluttering also means reducing the incoming volume of communications. One of the most efficient ways to do this is by getting a grip on your subscriptions. You have a few options for unsubscribe from emails and listservs that are no longer relevant or just clog up your inbox. Unroll Me is a free tool you can use to mass unsubscribe from emails. It scans your entire inbox automatically and then allows you to instantly see a list of all of your subscription emails. From there with a simple click of a button, you can unsubscribe, keep them in your inbox, or choose to roll up your subscriptions into one convenient daily summary email. Because of this feature and the ability to see all of your subscriptions in one place. Enroll me is a favorite for many people. And I know that Jonathan swears by it. So you may want to try it out. When you do go through unroll means full list of your current subscriptions. Try and be extra critical. If something isn't making your life better in some way, now's the time to cut it, or at the very least roll it up so you don't have to archive it every time. Because enroll me is a free service. There is a tradeoff. Unroll me openly discloses that they use their customer data to build anonymized market research data. The company does say that it strips away personal information, but because of this, not everyone will want to use their service. Another way to unsubscribe is just by manually on subscribing, basically clicking the links in the emails themselves, assuming that the sender is compliant with the ICANN spam act and actually unsubscribes you. Gmail and Apple Mail both have a button to make this process easier for you. If you choose to go this route, you can pull up all of your emails from the past few months and unsubscribe one by one. It won't take you long to figure out the repeat offenders. But in some cases people have as many as 100 email subscriptions, so block off a chunk of time if you go this route. A third option for the more tech savvy among us. There is an open-source alternative called Gmail unsubscribe, which you can install as a Google script. No third party will have access to your data, but there are a few steps to configure the script. So what do we recommend for users of this course? For the majority of people, we suggest that you use unroll me for a massive onetime cleanup to quickly delete hundreds of subscriptions at once. Once you're done, if you don't feel comfortable with your anonymous data being continually used for marketing, you can delete the app by logging on to enroll me, going to settings and hitting delete my account. This will also deactivate your roll-up. Emails that were previously rolled up will now arrive directly to your inbox. You can take another step to completely remove enrollees access to your account by logging on to your Google account, then security, then third party apps with account access and removing unroll me from the list of connected apps. And while you're at it, remove access from any other third party apps that you no longer want to have access to your account. From then on, you can manually unsubscribe from any new emails that come your way. It may take a few weeks to totally catch them all. They are sneaky little buggers. By the way. Here's a really fun and Ninja hack for those of you who just loved to sign up for new newsletters with Gmail and many other email providers, you have the ability to create an endless number of new email addresses, right within your email instantly by simply adding a plus sign after your email, but before the at sign, anything you put in will still arrive to your normal inbox. This means that using search operators in the future, you can filter and find only emails that were sent to one of your dummy e-mail addresses. A great way to use this is to add the word subscriptions or newsletters to your email address when subscribing to new things. For example, maya plus subscriptions at Some people even like to make a new dummy email for each place they sign up to see if that places selling their e-mail to spammers best evolve. Later on, we can set up automated filters for each of these dummy emails if needed. And subscribing from or rolling up emails helps us to anticipate and prevent future clutter. Once you take these steps, we will be ready for our next inbox freedom stepped, setting up your new system. 17. Starting Fresh: Creating Your Own Structure: Now that we've declared your e-mail inboxes, you should be feeling a 1000 emails lighter. We're finally ready to set up our new email system, which will simplify how you process an action your emails. The first thing that we are going to do is consolidate as many of your email accounts as possible. Remember our digital minimalism, one home rule, by having everything from a single category in one place, we will always know where everything is. This eliminates duplication of efforts, confusion, and anxiety. If you recall, in the beginning of the email decluttering process, we asked you to delete any completely unused or forgotten accounts. This is because ideally, we want you to have as few accounts as you truly need. Now, we'd like you to take another critical look at the list of all of your email accounts and see which email accounts you can merge or delete. We will also discuss how we can use only one email interface for handling all of your remaining accounts. First, identify your main accounts. For most of you, this will be one personal account and one Work account. Next, browse all other email accounts and forward any emails that still require action. Your main email accounts send a personal to-dos to your personal main account, and outstanding work to-dos to your work main account. We've already de cluttered, so you should not be forwarding thousands of emails. There should be a minimal number of emails that actually require your attention and action. Once you've done that, there is an additional optional step. If you think there is something you may someday need from these old accounts, go ahead and download an archive of the e-mail account. You can do this in the settings of outlook and Gmail. Now, it's time to let go. Go ahead and delete all email accounts that aren't your main accounts. If you're struggling to hit the button, remember that spam accounts used to be helpful. But now that spam filters have become so advanced, they've become obsolete. You have our permission to delete your spam account and any other account that just serves as a digital dumpster. Finally, choose a central email interface where you will actually read and process your emails. Common choices include Microsoft, Outlook, Apple Mail, Mozilla, Thunderbird, or up and comers, Edison air mail or post box. You may also choose to directly interface with Gmail. You will want to choose an application or interface for each of your devices, including your computer, your smart phone, and your tablet. Have one. For students of this course, he has Apple products. We do recommend using the standard Apple Mail on each of your devices. On Android or Windows devices, you can choose another option, such as outlook or just use Gmail. But wait a second. Isn't the main rule of digital de-cluttering to have everything in one place on the cloud? Well, yes. But there's a difference between using an interface and having your emails in different places. In the past, email server technology worked by downloading your emails. So you would have different copies on each of your different devices. This was called pop three and it was as much of a mess as it sounds. Fortunately today, email clients use a more sophisticated technology called IMAP. Although IMAP e-mail clients download a copy locally so you can work with it. They are constantly synchronizing to the cloud and therefore, they abide by the one home rule very nicely. Okay. But why would you use a separate app to access your email? After all, don't most people just log into on the web. There are many benefits to using an interface, especially for someone who does have more than one account. And interface allows us to handle our personal and work accounts from one place and generally enjoy a smoother and better experience, including keyboard shortcuts and gestures and a clearer Layout. What's more an interface allows us to handle our emails offline, which is great for travel. Finally, using an email interface, especially on devices like the Apple iPhone allows for deeper integration between your tools. The iPhone and Mac, for example, can recognize when someone suggests a time and date for a meeting and allows you to click and automatically add that event to your calendar. The same is true for phone numbers and email addresses and your contacts list. Unfortunately, none of this is possible with non native interfaces such as Gmail or webmail. There are a flurry of new startups trying to create the best interface experience. So if you wanna go to the next level, you can also take a look at options such as superhuman, spike 0 or June. There's also a handy free Chrome extension called simplify, created by a former lead designer of Gmail, which cuts down the visual noise of Gmail sidebars and menus. Now that we're done handling your accounts and selecting an interface, it's time to set up your new structure. Let's use your intuitive organizational type to figure out what kind of setup will probably work best for you. A beginner style inbox that focuses on basic organization or an advanced style with an additional level of organization. If urine indifferent or cost driver type, we recommend the beginner style inbox. At the end of this lesson, you can go ahead and proceed to the next lecture to get started. If you're a competent or executer typed, you are welcome but not required to watch the beginner lecture as it gives some important foundational ideas that you'll use for the Advanced option. You can then watch the advanced lecture, time to get Ninja. One last note. As you move through these lectures, remember that setting up your new inbox system is not just about technical changes. A big part of inbox freedom is deciding how often and when you want to be interfacing with your email. Now that your inbox is no longer going to be overflowing, you're going to be able to take the reins back and design a fresh daily routine. For example, both myself and Maya are big fans of having a morning routine that is email free and we often disconnect from Wi-Fi and email completely when we are focusing on deep creative work or writing. In fact, I only answer emails twice a week. If you're not sure of what works for you, the best thing you can do is experiment. Try checking email twice per day, once at the start of your workday and wants towards the end, set a timer to help you stay accountable. See what happens when you don't check email for four or five hours at a time. And remember, if you're like most people, you've spent the last ten to 15 years of your life accumulating bad email habits. Beyond the technical reset, it's going to take awhile to also mentally reset and figure out exactly what works for you. Be patient with yourself and keep things flexible to your evolving needs. Now, let's get going on crafting your new inbox structure. 18. What Happens Next? Beginner’s Inbox Organization: Earlier on in the course, we talked about the importance of robust systems. You see, when it comes to something that you use every day, like your email inbox, if it's not easy to maintain order, you are bound to fail. In fact, it's likely that this is not your first time trying to gain control over your inbox. But we're confident that this time it's going to be the last. This is because we're going to use a robust but simple structure to set up your new inbox, what we like to call inbox freedom. Our goal is to get you using your email as effectively as possible with as little effort as possible. When it comes to email, some productivity experts make things complicated, recommending dozens of external tools and complicated workflows. This beginner system has been specifically designed to be simple. Anyone can set it up and maintain it. Our inbox freedom methodology was inspired by a combination of principles common to the getting things done an inbox 0 methodologies. The advanced version of our inbox system also incorporates a function called multiple inboxes, inspired by folks such as Andres cleaner and Dan Sylvester. Getting things done as a work life management system created by productivity consultant David Allen. The system is based on the idea that we can only be truly productive when we clear our minds. We can do this by externally recording all of our tasks and ideas and then handling tasks through a set workflow. We're going to apply this kind of structure thinking to our inbox freedom email system. You may also have heard of inbox 0, which was developed by productivity expert Merlin Mann. Contrary to popular belief, the 0 in inbox 0 was actually not about the number of messages in an inbox, but rather about minimizing the amount of time one spins handling their inbox. This rigorous approach is based on the idea that there are a limited number of actions for any message. You can deploy these actions to handle your email effectively, minimizing the amount of time you spend on email. Inbox 0 works great for some people. And it's worth mentioning that if you already have an email system that works for you, there is no need to change systems. However, we found that most people are still struggling to find a system that really sticks. And that's why we've developed the beginner and advanced versions of inbox freedom. In both of these versions, we treat email as an actionable task list. Let's be clear. This does not mean that email is your to-do list. For a very simple reason. Email involves communicating with other people. If email is your to-do list, that means your priorities and activities are being determined by other people. And that makes achieving your dreams impossible. So we can treat email as a list of activities or actions grouped according to the types of tasks that need to be done. Later on, we will also talk about using a separate master to-do list and where email fits into the bigger picture of time management. Now, let's set up the beginner version of our inbox. I just want to refresh you on where we are in our process. By now, you should only have one or two consolidate email accounts. We've de-clutter them and gotten rid of noisy subscriptions, leaving you with a set of emails that requires some action. We've deleted or archived all emails before the update. So chances are you only have a few 100 or in some rare cases, a few thousand emails to go through now. So let's talk through our new structure for handling all outstanding emails. When an email arrives in your inbox, there are a limited number of actions we can take. Delete, archive action now and action later or start. We're going to use these action options to handle every one of your emails. And easy way to do this is by first sorting your emails reverse chronologically, with oldest emails coming up first. To do this on Gmail, hover over the top right corner where your total e-mail count is listed, click oldest, and your emails will show up with the oldest emails listed first, open up your email if you need a refresher, skim it and decide, do you want to delete it, archive it, action it now, or action it later. For many of these emails, you'll already know what they're about. So you won't even need to open them up and can save time. Action. Now, emails should be things you can handle right now in less than two minutes for the action later e-mails hit the star in the top right corner. You'll get to those when you have a chunk of time. What's important is that you don't skip any emails. The secret to this working is not super mysterious. You need to go through each email one-by-one and decide delete, archive action L or action later. We recommend going in order so you don't start jumping around. We know this can get a bit dull. So get a coffee or grab a friend and attack your emails together. The best way to do this is in one or two sittings and just be done with it. I typically recommend clients dedicate an entire sitting to finally handling those action later emails, we promise you're going to feel amazing at the end of this. Here are a few more tips and helpful reminders. If you're keeping an email because you need to do something with the attachments, download the attachments to your Cloud Drive. That way you can go ahead and archive the email. As you work your way through the emails. If you remember something else that you need to do, make a note on your current to-do list. Later on, you're going to add these kinds of tasks to your new master to-do list. And remember, we're big fans of archive. If you don't need to action an email, but you're not sure if you ever will need it, then just hit archive. We know that this approach sounds simple. That's because it is, and that's why it actually works. We want to avoid setting up a complex labeling system that adds pointless administrative sorting to your daily life. If you love labels and want to keep using them for specific things like upcoming trips or emails you refer to regularly. No problem. But for most people going label, this is going to be a huge relief. This really is inbox freedom. And if you want to make some customized modifications to this system, go ahead. For example, what about those emails that you're still getting and that you can't or don't want to unsubscribe from things like receipts, mandatory notifications from your bank, and more. Sure, you want to have these in your email in case you ever need to find them. But there is no reason for you to have to look at and manually archive each one of them. For these types of things, you can re-add some customized filters and use the skip inbox feature. Under Settings, filters, Create a New Filter. You can create a filter for any type of search operator you can think of. This includes specific senders, subjects, Male, two addresses, or even specific words or phrases in the body. Once you've done this, enables skip the inbox so that the email will archive directly but won't appear in your inbox. If you need to be able to reference these emails, you can even automatically file them by using the same filter to simultaneously tag all messages that meet this search. Then they will automatically go into a folder such as receipts or bank statements. You can find your email on the left-hand menu where it will be sorted by tag. Once you're completely done processing these old emails, your inbox should only contain a list of start action later emails. Schedule a time for this week to handle all of those emails once and for all. Now one more thing, review all of the labels under Settings, labels, categories. We want only those that you actually need to be visible on the left menu. For most people, this ends up being inbox, sent, starred, drafts, junk, and notes. We want everything else set to hide. If he's still prefer a more robust approach. Go ahead to the advanced inbox section where we explain how you can add another layer to this basic approach. Otherwise, that's it. You've declared your inbox, set up your new email system, and are ready to go. Welcome to the good life friend. We're excited for you to enjoy inbox freedom. 19. Let’s Get Ninja: Advanced Inbox Organization: If you prefer a slightly more advanced inbox system, you've come to the right place. We're going to duplicate the same approach we used for the beginner inbox, basically defining all possible e-mail actions and creating a structure that reflects all of those options. With the advanced version of inbox freedom, the difference is that we are going to break down the actions into more detail. We're going to do this with multiple inboxes. A Gmail feature that allows you to create several inbox pains and view them all at once. With a basic inbox system, we define the possible action list as Delete, archive action now and action later or starred. If you're pretty detailed oriented, you've probably realized by now that there are not just two types of actions. Part of the reasons that our inboxes get clogged in the first place is exactly that. There are so many types of actions we can take and some trigger our procrastination tendencies more than others. By being clear on what exactly those actions are and grouping them accordingly. We are reducing ambiguity and facilitating quick, clear actions. The multiple inboxes view combines inbox 0 on the left pane and get things done approach on the right pane to help you effectively read and action your emails. Multiple inboxes is based on a productivity hack called touch. It once the principle that once you open a message, you decide right away what you're going to do with it. You don't need to actually handle the action right this minute, but you need to sort it into the right container so that you don't waste time opening, reopening, deliberating, and feeling guilty about not handling the email. I personally use this system and I love it. I found that multiple inboxes is the only system that has really worked for me overtime at any given point. I know exactly what emails I need to handle and how and using our inbox freedom method, my inboxes just never overflowing. My total volume of emails has gone down so dramatically that I usually spend less than an hour a day on email. Most days it's actually under 20 minutes. So wanted to see how it looks and feels. Let's jump on over to a screencast and I'll walk you through it. With multiple inboxes. You receive a new message in the left pane where you can view your normal incoming mail inbox. On the right side, you can set up pains for each of the different action types. This allows you to grip your emails by types of actions. So in multiple inboxes are possible, action list is delete, archive, and then a set of actions that you can customize and define. You can define those actions according to your specific needs, like we see here on the right side. Here are some examples. Quick action, also called due in the inbox 0 methodology. Action, also called defer reading, awaiting reply, meaning that you are waiting for information before you complete the action or delegate, meaning that you need to assign the action to another person. And last reference for one, you need to keep an email handy, but no action is required, such as a flight confirmation. This is just an example of the many types of sub actions you can define. Does this look like something that appeals to you? If so, then here's how to set up multiple inboxes. The first thing we're gonna do is to enable the setting. So we're gonna go to Settings. Advanced. And then come down here to where you'll see multiple inboxes. We're gonna make sure that this is enabled. And then scroll down to the bottom and save changes. Next we're going to define our action possibilities. So hit refresh and then go to Settings, multiple inboxes. You'll see here a list of all of the different panes. Here you're going to define your action list using a different symbol for each action possibility will give you a link and the PDF syllabus with the full list of all the different symbols you can use. The system permits up to five different action types, which is plenty for most people. You'll see here that I have defined five different actions. Quick action, action, reading, awaiting reply, and reference. And for each of these different actions, I've chosen a different symbol, a red bang, a yellow, or a blue star, an orange GUI, and a blue info. So once you've defined these, you're just going to hit save changes. And when you go back to your inbox, you'll see that your pains have been set up on the right side. That's it. I know that this might seem a little overwhelming to start with, but don't worry about defining the perfect action lists right now. This isn't set in stone. To start out, you can just use our demo settings and then customize them later. After you've gotten the hang of it. Once you're all set up, it's time to sort and handle all of your recent emails. Use your new symbol system to sort through all of your recent emails. Tweak your symbol settings as you go according to what categories suit you best. It's perfectly okay to only include two panels on the right side, for example, action and awaiting reply. If you're using Outlook or Apple Mail, you can use the multiple inboxes approach to do something similar, adding multiple email accounts and setting up a few action folder types. You could also use this multiple inboxes feature to set up other creative ways to view and sort through your email. I've heard of creatives and product teams using this multiple inboxes approach to set up a Kanban style flow. Kanban is a visual productivity system where each task is represented by a card which moves through a status flow. For managers who work with multiple departments, you could set up one pain PR department. But look, I'll be the first to admit that while this level of organization works well for me and for some of my clients that I personally work with, it certainly isn't for everyone. It tends to work best for competent and execute our intuitive types. If you've given multiple inboxes and try for a while, but are in loving it. Going back to the beginner in Bucks lecture and trying that method. Another option is to try out one of the third-party interface solutions that we've mentioned, such as superhuman email 0, inbox, spike, or June. There are endless possibilities. But remember to start simple. Let's remember a Cal Newport's digital minimalism rule to be wary of tools that solve a problem that didn't exist before the tool. The point of multiple inboxes is to avoid over-engineering our email accounts while creating a system that is also robust enough to handle all possibilities. Multiple inboxes becomes extra powerful when we combine it with digital mindfulness. Whenever possible, we recommend batch email response sessions and handling emails from a computer. These techniques help prevent you from constantly handling emails on the go, eating away at your attention, and oftentimes requiring you to reopen and re handle actions later. In fact, one of the best things you can do for your sense of digital well-being is to remove the email apps from your phone altogether. However, we understand that this isn't possible or desirable for everyone. If your role requires you to be super responsive, you can still use the multiple inbox approach on mobile to delete or archive emails or handle your quick action responses. And that's basically it, the inbox freedom ninja system for you, email power users. It takes a bit of personalization and quite a bit of getting used to. But if you can conquer the initial learning curve in might be the most powerful and easy to maintain email system you've ever tried. So give it a chance and let us know in the discussion for this lecture, what you come up with. 20. Enabling Back-Ups: If you've ever had one of your digital devices stolen or damaged and not had everything backed up. You know, just how crucial this section of our courses, backups are the technological equivalent of insurance. We hope we never need to actually use backups. But when something happens, boy, are we glad we have them? Tech companies have long understood this. So most of our devices and programs now do come with automatic backup options. However, some of these backup solutions are limited or do require you to enable certain settings. This lecture is all about confirming that your key backups really are enabled. This is a critical component to achieving digital peace of mind. Even if you think that all of your devices and settings are already set up for auto backup. We recommend you watch this lesson in its entirety and do a double check when it comes to backups, better safe than sorry. First of all, before we dive into the meat and potatoes of the backup section of the course, we need to make one important distinction. Because we've invested so much time and effort throughout this course towards migrating everything in your life to the cloud. Many things you may think need backing up. Simply don't. When your photos are on iCloud or Google Photos, your crucial documents live on Google Drive notes or in your favorite Note app and so on. A lot of the burden of backups is handled by your service providers. Of course, this doesn't mean you should be complacent. In fact, there are services out there that will actually back up. Even your cloud solutions to prevent system errors are human errors or accidental deletion. What's more while backing up has become less of a mission critical habit. In the era of cloud computing, there are things that you probably will still need to backup. These might include extremely large video files such as family videos, sensitive files you choose not to upload to the cloud and your preferences and configurations on your local machine. We all know the experience of losing or damaging a device and having to start from scratch in reconfiguring it. And later on in this lecture, we're going to discuss how you can avoid that. But first, we're going to quickly run through some of the key backup areas, your phone, phone apps, and WhatsApp chat, then will discuss backing up all the other stuff. First step, iPhone backup. If you have an iPhone, it will automatically back up with iCloud. But you need to make sure that the backup is actually happening and that you have enough storage on iCloud for it to complete successfully. Let's check that iCloud is enabled and that you have enough storage for the backup to complete. Step one, check your phone backup is on, connect your phone to Wi-Fi and then from the home screen, open up settings, then your name, then iphone, your specific device name will be listed. Then iCloud backup on. If iCloud backup is off, turn it on and hit back up. Now, note that your device needs to be connected to a Wi-Fi network to start backing up. It's a good idea to periodically check in and make sure that these backups are actually happening. Step to backup your apps confirmed that all of your key apps are being auto backed up to iCloud, open settings, then iCloud and check the list under apps using iCloud. Make sure that all of your critical apps are said to on or green. For most people, critical apps include Photos, mail, contacts, calendars, notes, messages, and key chain. While we're here, make sure that find my iPhone and iCloud backup are also on. Step three, enable a paid subscription if necessary. Only the first five gigabytes of files with iCloud backup our free. So most people will need to go with a paid subscription option. Checked it. Backups really are happening successfully under settings. Then iCloud, storage, managed storage, and backups. Your phone will be listed with its last backup, including one it occurred, and the size of the backup. If you see an error message such as storage, almost full, not enough storage or the last backup cannot be completed. We need to upgrade your storage settings, open up managed storage, then change storage plan. For most people, the 200 gigabytes for 299 per month option will more than cover your storage needs. We know it seems like an annoying expense, but trust us, it's 100% worth your peace of mind. Great. Now you're totally backed up. Iphone will auto update from here. So you're good to go. If you have an Android device, we're going to follow a similar set of steps as with the iPhone. Step one, check your phone backup is on. Connect your phone to Wi-Fi and from the home screen, open up settings, personal backup, and reset. Back up my data. Makes sure that this setting is on. Step to back up your apps. Confirm all of your apps are being backed up under settings, accounts. Specific Google services will be listed here, such as Google Calendar, Contacts, Gmail Docs, and Google Drive. Makes sure that all of these are enabled. Step three, enable a paid subscription. Android's backup service handles critical information like contacts, calendar data, and apps. You get 15 gigabytes of free cloud storage with Google Drive. And then you'll also need a paid subscription here. Last for users of the Whatsapp app. Let's confirm that your WhatsApp chat really is being backed up. I've had so many friends and clients lose their entire chat history. So let's make sure that doesn't happen to you. Open up WhatsApp than Settings, chat and chat backup to confirm the date of your last backup. If your backup has not been happening for awhile, it's usually because your iCloud storage was full, which we just fixed. So you can now hit backup now and you will be good to go. Just make sure that your auto backup setting is on daily. If your videos are important to you, make sure the include videos option is marked to green. Congratulations, we've just backed up your phone and critical apps. This was a fundamental step in your digital organization journey. But what about traditional backups? You know, like Having a hard drive in your house that keeps a physical copy of your important documents. Well, like we discussed at the beginning of this lecture, for many users, this may not actually be necessary anymore. With your documents and photos in the cloud, your passwords on a password manager and everything else securely stored online. You may find that you don't have a lot of stuff that you actually need to backup. Of course, there are exceptions and what's more? You may want to have the peace of mind of knowing that should you ever lose or damage your computer, you can restore a perfectly identical version of it without the hassle of finding old files or reconfiguring every single app. For this reason, I personally use and recommend the built in time machine feature of Mac OS. Time machine is a software that automatically connects to a separate hard drive, in my case, a wireless harddrive and router combination called a time capsule, backing up your system every hour. What's great about this is that it makes incremental backups every time you change a file. Setting, allowing you to scroll through a timeline of all of your files and your system as a whole and restore it to a particular time or day. To be honest, I rarely if ever used these backups since my team and I work on all crucial files directly in the cloud. But recently it saved me when clouds sinking failed and a file did not actually make it up to the cloud. I also sleep better knowing that they are there if I ever need them. If there is a file that say I download on my computer and delete accidentally before uploading to the cloud which happened recently. I know that it's somewhere in my hourly backups. If I spill something on my computer and it's fried while I'm travelling and don't have internet access. I know that I won't have to spend a month getting each of my apps configured just the way I like because it's all included in my backups. If this is something that sounds appealing to you, I highly recommend investing in either an external hard drive, which you'll plug in periodically to sync with time machine. Or if you want to forget about manual backups altogether, then pick up one of Apple's time capsule wireless devices. For Windows users, you'll be pleased to know that Windows eight and onwards include both a file history and a File backup and restore function that works similarly to Time Machine on OSX. Spend a few minutes to check into the settings of these functions and enable them both. Once you do, all of your backups will automatically happen in the background, so you never have to worry about them again. Now that all of your important files and resources are either on the cloud, backed up locally or both. You can breathe a sigh of relief. You never have to worry about losing a crucial piece of information again. And you can even confidently take pictures from a moving boat without the DOD crossing your mind that you might lose years of chats, photos, and contacts. How awesome does that feel? 21. Calendar: Next up, we're going to talk about an area essential to digital organization, your calendar. We could teach an entire course on calendars, productivity, and goal-setting. In fact, Jonathan does have a course dedicated to this. But what we're actually talking about here and in the to-do-list lecture is an introduction to how we can make use of digital and analog tools to better organize our time. Calendars. Always make me think of one of my favorite quotes by American author Annie Dillard. How we spend our days is of course, how we spend our lives. What we do with this hour and that one is what we are doing. Any is poetically relaying a critical point to us, how we plan and structure our day-to-day time matters. If you're trying to get anything done in this world, you need to be able to hold yourself responsible. You need to be able to keep yourself on track, stay organized, and own your time. Real progress happens as an accumulation of daily effort, consistency, and self accountability. When we know how we spend our time, we can better understand the stories of our lives. And we gain control to change or evolve those stories. To get our calendar under control, we're going to follow a hard number one rule for digital organization. Everything needs to have one home, ideally in the cloud. This means we want to have one calendar system, ideally with all of our meetings, appointments, and obligations in one place. This means one calendar view with everything on it. With this approach, your calendar will serve as a record of your actual time usage. This means that everything yes, everything work personal and social should be there. By keeping everything on one calendar, we can get a real sense of what our days and hours look like. Only then can we truly manage our time well. After all, our work and personal lives do not operate in silos. An easy way to implement this one calendar approach and still keep everything organized is by setting up sub calendars for all of the main areas of your life. But having one calendar interface to view everything in one place. You can name your calendars anything you want, and choose a color for each calendar. That way, you're going to be able to see where your time is going and not going at a glance. Maya and I, both US and love this approach. And we're not the only ones. Productivity experts like Cal Newport and the folks at Asian efficiency are also fans of robust calendar systems. So let's set up your calendar system. First, you'll need to choose a single cloud-based calendar service, such as Google Calendar, Outlook or iCloud to be your calendar home. And then disable all other calendars that have been set up on your devices. From now on, you're going to use the single calendar service on every device. Most of you will already have a calendar system you're at least partially using based on whether you are an iPhone, Android, or Windows phone user. So you can just go ahead and designate that calendar as your one calendar. Note that even if you are on an iPhone, Mac, or Windows, you can still synchronize with non-native services like Google Calendar or Outlook as your preferred server. But in most cases, it will just be easier to use the native synchronization service provided by your cellphone manufacturer. Ultimately, which server you synchronize with, doesn't matter all that much. So pick whichever is comfortable for you. You're going to open that calendar up to this week. And next, we're going to create sub calendars for every major area of your life. These categories aren't set in stone. You can create a few sub calendars for now and then modify titles and colors later. How you do this grouping up to you. You can go abroad, such as having calendars just for work and personal, or go even deeper and break apart the types of personal and work activities. Common sub calendar categories include admin, work, meetings, growth and personal development, social and play, and health body. I typically prefer to go more detailed and personally have around five or six active sub calendars. Some people even use their calendars to encourage habit changes and biohacking, such as getting more sleep or keeping regular mealtimes. Now, open up your calendar to next week schedule and input all of your key activities for each sub calendar. If you're one of those people who feel like they never have time for anything, then you're gonna want to include as much detail here as possible. This is going to allow you to gain insights, are on where you are wasting time and where you're scheduling doesn't match up with your priorities. Take a look at the whole week. Is this what you want in your week to look like? Are you going to feel proud of yourself, accomplished, satisfied, nourished by the end of the week. Is there anything that you're already dreading? Chances are you can make a few tweaks to your schedule, such as pre-planning your workouts or time with your partner or kids to reap some major benefits. From now on, it's important that every time you make a plan, you add it to your calendar, not to a post-it note, not in your memory, but in the one home for all of your scheduling commitments. Now for some of you, getting into the habit of adding everything into your calendar may be difficult or may seem like a waste of time, especially if you've been managing everything in your head up until now. But remember, your brain is for having ideas, not for holding them. What's more, having everything in the cloud instead of in your head or on paper makes it possible to share with others, such as your partner or colleagues, or to use a calendar booking system to automate scheduling down the line. So in the end, it will actually end up saving you a lot of time if you just keep meticulous records in your calendar. And more importantly, it brings visibility to your schedule and routines, making you more self accountable when it comes to your time management. If you're finding that keeping a detailed calendar isn't really in your wheelhouse and is actually causing you more stress. Well, no worries. Keeping this type of detailed calendar isn't necessarily for absolutely everyone, though. You may surprise yourself. We do recommend that everyone in this course try out this approach for at least a week or two. If you're intuitive, organizational type is strivers and you like the idea of this system, but you're having trouble maintaining it. Well, we suggest you simplify and start out using only one or even two subcategories, like work and personal. And don't beat yourself up too badly if you forget to input something, the whole point is to get your tools working for you not to cause you more stress. If you're intuitive, organizational type is indifferent or you just realize you don't want to keep such a detailed calendar, you may want to try out keeping a paper, one calendar. Some in different types actually prefer carrying a paper agenda and having free space to draw, brainstorm and doodle. Just like we do with an online calendar, you can use a color highlighter or pattern system for designating the different areas of your life. Once you've figured out what system works best for you, you'll want to set up a regular weekly candor maintenance session. Something that works especially well is a single weekly session for cleaning up all areas of your digital life, especially your calendar, to-do list and email. Or you can set aside a separate session designated only for regular calendar planning. This is time that you spend thinking ahead and making time for things you need to achieve in the coming week. You'll want to set up a regular day in time for this weekly calendar planning session. A common practice is to spend at least half an hour at the end of your work week to plan the upcoming week. We suggest setting up a fixed 30-minute recurring slot in your calendar for planning ahead. This is going to be easier for some people than others depending on your intuitive organizational type. But given a go, at this time, we'd like to address a few common concerns for those new to this kind of calendar system. How do I manage scheduling changes? For most of us are scheduled. Inevitably changes. Things come up. We end up on a long call with an old friend. We take an unexpected nap, life happens. Your calendar is merely a planning tool and no one expects your calendar to be set in stone. Remember, the whole point of getting digitally organized is getting our tools to work for us. One recommendation we do have is to try to immediately update your calendar to reflect changes. Remember, your calendar is a record of your actual time usage, not just a wishlist. What's more, once you get into the groove of things, it's likely that other people or software systems will actually be relying on your calendar to determine your availability. So even if the changes are in the past, we suggest you take a few minutes at the end of your day to update your calendar as to what actually happened so that you have an accurate and complete picture of your schedule. This is one of the reasons we also recommend setting up your calendar to never delete past events. What about privacy concerns? Especially when it comes to personal and private meetings? Easy. If you're alert requires you to have a public calendar. You can set only your work sub calendar to public. All of your other sub calendars can stay on a private setting. That's the beauty of this sub calendar system. What about if my work requires me to use multiple Calendar services? For example, outlook, google calendar, iCloud calendar. If you're not able to migrate to one calendar system, we still recommend you use a single calendar interface so that it's easy for you to check your schedule without constantly juggling across multiple calendars. You can do this by sinking and exporting your calendars to one platform, such as Google Calendar or by sinking to a third-party calendar app. In addition to the standard apps that come on your devices, there are dozens of other calendar apps. Fantastical and mole skins time page are especially popular with iOS users. What if I prefer a paper calendar system to truly stay organized? Do I have to transition to a digital calendar system? No, of course, if you prefer a paper calendar system that is totally up to you, you can be super organized just using a paper system and some digital minimalist even prefer this approach. But as we said before, in this day and age, a digital calendar is generally the easiest way to go with calendar invites an auto scheduling tools. Keeping a digital calendar has never been easier. And if you choose to go analog, you are going to end up doing a lot more manual entry work and exponentially more communication work, sharing your plans and RSVP, NCT invitations, the old-fashioned way. But if you're a paper purist or a real digital minimalist and still prefer keeping a physical agenda book. That is totally fine. We do however, recommend that you follow the same one calendar principles as for digital calendaring. One calendar home, different color groupings for each activity type and regular maintenance. And what about calendar reminders? How and when you set reminders is up to you and your personal preference for notifications. In general, we recommend using meeting reminders only when you need them so that you're not constantly being bombarded with meeting notifications. Great. So now you should have your calendar D cluttered and backed up to the cloud. You're going to be able to access it from each of your digital devices, saving you time, and bringing transparency to your day-to-day scheduling. This is great for all of the events and meetings that you need to keep track of. But what about the little one-off tasks you have piling up everywhere. Go ahead and join us in the next lecture to learn how we can keep track of those two. 22. Choosing & Using A “To-Do” List: The other critical component to getting control over your time is choosing and maintaining a to-do-list that works for you. Lots of productivity experts make the claim that they have the single best approach for how you can make sense of your ever-changing tasks and shifting priorities. We could list off dozens of methodologies, techniques, apps, and tips. But as usual, we'd rather keep it simple. That's because we know that when it comes to how we schedule and prioritize our activities, there's not a single cookie cutter approach that works perfectly for everyone. At the end of the day, you're the only person who knows exactly what you have on your plate. Your specific responsibilities stresses Joy's stakeholders, goals and dreams. So in this lecture, we will share general principles for maintaining an effective to-do list. We're also going to share our specific recommendations for which to-do list tends to work well for each intuitive organizational type. And finally, we'll discuss how your calendar and email play a role in an effective system for handling your to-dos. First up, what counts as a to-do list in its simplest form, a to-do list is a comprehensive record of everything you want to get done, broken down to a task level. But a good to-do list is much more than that. It also reflects your priorities. It helps you decide what tasks you want to handle when in a way that is aligned with your broader goals. To complicate things, there are now endless choices for what format this record takes. To-do lists can be paper or digital calendar or app-based. So how do we know if we have an effective to-do-list system? A good to-do list will always have the following qualities. It is a single master list. It's comprehensive. It's a full list of all of your impending actions. It's simple, quick, and easy to update or change. It's easily accessible and can be updated anywhere, anytime. It's clear and pleasant to read. It mimics your natural tendencies. This means that it shouldn't be a big strain to update. Most to-do-list failures happen because people go with a format that doesn't really work for them or try to maintain an overly complicated system. We want you to choose a to-do-list that feels simple and easy, not like another task you never get to. If you already have a to-do list system you're happy with, please double-check that your existing system meets these guidelines. If you don't currently have it to do less system you're happy with. Now's the perfect time to make it happen. So, which to-do lists do we recommend? Our minds process and work through tasks differently? So it's critical that you are choosing a to-do list that works for your organizational preferences and tendencies. If you're intuitive, organizational type is competent or executer. We recommend you go with a digital to-do-list platform. There are a lot of these out there, ranging from Trello to base camp Monday and more. If you are coordinating teams and sharing or delegating a lot of tasks. Like Jonathan does. Our go-to is Asana. We love Asana because of its flexibility, customizability, and phenomenal team communication tools. You can create projects and even teams for different things you're working on so that you are able to keep your own personal stuff in the same workspace as things you work on. With your colleagues, your church group, or anyone else, then you can see all of the tasks assigned to you in one clean interface. Asana is also great because it integrates with Gmail, slack, calendars, Xavier and more, making it easy to create new tasks automatically or from wherever you may be working. For someone who works more independently, we prefer Evernote, or if you like, things super-simple, even just a dedicated to-do list page in your notes app will do. This is nice because it allows you to cut down on having one more app. For many people, there's also mimics their natural style of inputting actions. A quick laundry list of things to get done. What about your phones, built-in reminders or Gmail tasks? You might be surprised to hear us say that we don't really use these built-in reminder apps on our phones. But the truth is, we've never found them to actually work for us or people we've coached in the past. Sure. It's nice to be able to tell Siri or Alexa to remind you about stuff. But realistically, you can use an automation tool like the ones we'll show you later on in the course to push information into somewhere like Evernote, if you want to leverage those features. If you're intuitive, organizational type is indifferent, you're going to want to keep your to-do list simple, tangible, and proximate. That's why many indifferent types actually prefer a paper to-do list. I like to give my indifferent clients little notebooks, and they usually come back to me a few weeks later, shocked by the difference in their productivity. This is especially true for someone who often feels overwhelmed or unorganized. Note that it helps if you actually like your notebook, you should have a spark joy connection with it and be excited to pick it up. Strivers tend to be the most complicated when it comes to finding a to-do list system as they need something really simple yet robust, and also a method that will really stick. The key is to mimic whatever you are naturally doing. So if you're constantly writing on Post-its and making physical lists, go with a paper to-do list. If you like, tasks really broken down are color-coded or your notes up is usually littered with to-dos. Try one of the competent or executer digital solutions. Remember, this is just a recommendation to get you started. You can try going digital for a week and then paper for another week and see which is sticking better. What matters is that you give a master to-do list a chance and that you make your to-do list truly your own. So pause this video, sign up for one of the apps we recommended, or grab a spare notebook and begin jotting down everything you need to get done. You can play around with highlighting, ranking priorities, whatever works for you. Remember to keep things simple and don't get stuck being your own bureaucrat. That thing said, If you're an executer, you're really gonna want to take a page from the getting things done model and pour out every task, even the smallest administrative things onto your to do list. This is going to free up your mind for value-add activities and give you a sense of relief. It is also worth mentioning that to-do lists do carry some possible productivity dangers. Now that everything is in one place, you can end up convincing yourself that less important tasks carry more weight than they really do. You can easily roll over your list day after day, especially when it comes to a digital To-Do list. There's one power productivity tip we'd love for combating this to-do list stagnation courtesy of jawed form CIO, IT CAN tank. Tank recommends that every day as you get to work, you think about the one thing you can accomplish today, they would have the most impact. He jokes. If you are having trouble thinking of something, I'll give you a hint. It's usually the thing you least want to do. So as you look at your to-do list each morning, highlight the one thing, the single thing you must get done that day to make you feel proud of yourself when you fall asleep at night. If you consistently get that one thing done every day, you begin to really see progress. I've been using this tip all year and been finding it incredibly effective. You can even take tanks advice to write this single high impact goal on a post-it and sticking it on your computer screen. Using this tip, you get the peace of mind of a comprehensive to-do list, but also keep your eye on your highest impact work. Lastly, let's address how your to do list your calendar and your email interface. Let's quickly review the key functions of each of these tools. Your calendar tracks how you spend your time. Your email is a communication platform and an actionable task list. Your to-do list is a record of your priorities and everything you need to get done. Out of these three, we recommend you treat your to-do list as king because it's the only place that is totally yours. Other people can send you calendar invites and emails, but only you decide how to handle your to-do list. Your to-do lists can be like your personal little kingdom. The place where you decide what really matters to you each week and what you want to get done. This means that you may have some duplication going on. For example, your to-do list might have an item on it that is already blocked off into your calendar or a task that already appears as an email in your inbox. This is okay because your task list is King. It is the only place where you and only you prioritize what needs to get done. We recommend starting and finishing your work week and workday. With a quick glance at the list, you can even slot this time on your calendar time to set up that master to-do list. And don't forget to highlight your one thing each day. Now, you can hit the ground running. 23. Neat Notes & Snippets: Most of us have a range of different node types. Notes in our phones, notes on shreds of paper, receipts from heaven knows where. Text files on our computer, random voice recordings on our phones, a half used Evernote account, and a bunch of physical notebooks. We started and then abandoned. Almost everyone I know has notes scattered everywhere. In fact, recently, my friend Joe Polish of Genius Network and I love marketing, came to me for help with his digital organization. He had ten different homes for his notes and various mismatches of snippets from all of the events and masterminds he attends and no idea where to find things when he needed them. It is perfectly normal to have this mishmash of different types of notes. After all, as taught in the GTD approach, we want to capture everything we might need to remember for reference. But while I'm a big advocate and teacher of memory techniques for memorizing important information that you use every day. The fact is, your brain is for having ideas, not holding them. But the reason that most people end up with so many different homes for their notes is because not all notes are the same. A lot of things that we consider notes actually belonged elsewhere, such as on Google drive or on your to-do list. So how can we create order out of all this chaos? How can we take all different sorts of snippets and notes and get them under control. The answer is probably not going to surprise you by abiding by the number one rule of digital de-clutter by creating only one home. For our notes. In this lecture, we're going to use our de-cluttering system to set up this one home and migrate everything else to where it actually belongs. You're going to end up with one digital cloud-based home for all of your actual notes. Hold on though. We all know that in some situations, paper is just easier to work with, especially when it comes to creative thinking or quick jotting. Other times, recording audio or just taking a picture of a sign makes much more sense. So how can we have just one home and a cloud-based home at that for all of these different types of information, ranging from paper notes and journal entries, all the way to audio recordings, pictures, and typed up notes by choosing the right home. You see today's note-taking apps are much more than their names would suggest. They are actually designed to suit the one cloud-based home strategy that we advocate throughout this course. What's more, if you choose the right one based on your needs and configured properly. A good note-taking app can become like an external searchable brain with unlimited memory. Let's talk about my absolute favorite option when it comes to making this happen. The note-taking app, Evernote. Evernote is a cloud synchronized freemium note platform that works on literally every type of device, from a basic web browser to Mac and PC, iPhone and Android and many, many more. Though I've been using Evernote for years. Recently, I hosted Charles Bird, the world's top expert on Evernote organization and productivity strategies for a full webinar. My mind was completely blown at how powerful Evernote can be when you use it properly. In addition to your basic text notes and occasional pictures, Charles teaches how you can upload audio files, file attachments, emails, webpage snippets, and just about anything else that you can imagine, right into Evernote, like a digital scrapbook. What's more if you like to write handwritten notes or occasionally need to scan paper documents like receipts, Evernote not only scans them automatically, it also performs optical character recognition on all of it. So you can actually search for your notes based on what's written on them. It even does this in 28 typed languages and 11 handwritten languages. Insane. With Evernote, the possibilities are literally limitless. You can handwrite notes and drawings on your iPad or your favorite paper notebook and scan them right into the app. You can type notes up on your computer or phone. You can voice dictate them while on the go. You can take snippets of websites and things you want to remember. You can automatically scan and process business cards. And you can even take pictures of important things you see and search them later. Best of all, Evernote has more advanced features for power users, such as templates to save you time, the ability to share publicly or with other evernote users and thousands of integrations with other apps and services to automate your note taking an organization. But one of the biggest reasons why I love Evernote is because of its powerful search. We all know the frustration of creating folders upon folders and manually organizing things. After all, that's why we encouraged you to completely obliterate your folders during the email section of this course, search is just so much faster and easier. With Evernote, you'll find the same type of organization structure that you have in your email inbox. Sure. You can create folders and even automatically organized them with integrations if you want. But in reality, with such a sophisticated search function, you will be able to find any node anytime you need it in just a few seconds. Even if what you're searching for is a handwritten note you made in the margin of a notebook, even if it's just a tag that you made to help identify the node. Even if the only thing you remember is where you were when you created the node, it really works that seamlessly and easily. And of course, it goes without saying that all of your changes are instantly sync across all of your devices and stored securely in the cloud, so you will never lose another note. Now for many of you ever note may be overkill or you may want to go with the minimalism approach of not downloading one more app. In this case, I want to give you some other alternatives. As I do however, please keep in mind whichever note taking app you choose, you must commit to it. You must get rid of everything else and merge all of your notes into one home. This won't work if you continue to keep pieces of paper floating around in your purse or desk drawer. First off, there's the built-in Notes app on your iPhone, Mac, and other Apple products. While it was once a very basic text notes app, I have to say that Apple has put in a lot of work and brought this out a long way over the last five years. It's still nowhere near as sophisticated and comprehensive as Evernote, but at least now you can draw in it with your finger or an Apple Pencil, create tables, attach pictures or to-do lists, and even scanned documents. The biggest pro of using this app is that it effortlessly sings to all of your other Apple devices using iCloud, and that it doesn't require you to download or sign up for another app. The cons, however, are a lack of features like text recognition, voice recording, file attachments, Advanced Search, and more in general, I would say that the notes app is really only appropriate for people who want to keep it very basic, even at the expense of a less cluttered life. If you're a Google and Android fan, you might instead wish to check out Google Keep, though it also works on Mac and iPhone as well. Like Evernote, Google Keep is Cloud sync, cross device and packed with features like reminders, text recognition, voice recording, web snippets, integrations, and more. Like Evernote, a claims to have robust search and organization functionality that you might find it a little less user-friendly. Google keep as a lot more basic and simplified, but it's still much more advanced than Apple's Notes. And it has a nice native integration with Google Drive. In addition to these three main options, there are a number of other solutions out there for Microsoft. Onenote to simple note, to quip note, joy, Dropbox Paper, and many, many more. Depending on your exact needs, you may find that a different app works for you. And the ones that we recommended, personally, I would strongly, strongly recommend giving Evernote to try using the special link that we've included in the PDF syllabus, pound for pound is the most feature packed and easy to use of all of the note-taking apps I've ever tried. And I think you'll quickly see why they've become the market leader. But I will warn you, it takes a little bit of time to set up and get used to. And it won't be until you fully commit that you start to really reap the benefits. For that reason, if you are initially a little bit confused about how to use it and get the most out of it. Make sure to check out the PDF syllabus where you can join in on a webinar with Evernote, top, top expert, Carlsberg, where he will walk you through every single step of it. Once you've decided which note-taking app you're going to use, it's time to de-clutter, set up your new system and actually implement it. Depending on the size of your notes collection, you're probably going to need to set aside a chunk of time to come through and de-clutter all of your existing paper and digital notes. You can start with your paper notes, collecting all of the stray post-its notebooks, snippets, and receipts. Work your way through the pile, sorting everything into three groups, recycle any paper that isn't relevant anymore. Action notes. Anything that requires action should be in your to-do list, not lost in your notes. Migrate all action related notes to your to-do list, creating a separate task in your to-do list for each item. For example, send invoice two accountant or by present for mom. And if you come across any official documents or PDFs, you will want to upload those to your single cloud drive home. Keep, migrate everything from your key pile to your new single notes home. You're going to repeat the same for your digital notes. Don't get discouraged if it takes you awhile, that's quite normal. You've probably been accumulating notes for months, if not years. As you come through your notes, I wanted to mention a common pitfall that I've seen throw clients for a loop. A specific type of note, electrical collection notes. This can include things like meeting summaries, movie lists, book lists, recipes, or quotes. These are static notes we want to save for an indefinite amount of time or used for a future project, but often end up scattered and lost when we keep them in our regular notes. For example, if you're an academic writer or a content creator, you may like to collect quotes or research notes for writing. Personally, I found that a helpful way to keep my regular notes depository organized is by migrating these specific collection notes to an external App. I like Ulysses, a paid writing app that allows you to set up your own customized and super organized note collection. Ulysses has essentially become my collections and writing home a single place where I can save the quotes, research, and outlines that are essential to the writing process. That way I have one home for my regular notes and another home for my collections. For tracking our booklets collection. Jonathan and I both loved good rates. It easily tracks are reading lists and helps us stay intentional about our book choices. Whichever way you decide to go, we want to encourage you to remember the basics of digital de-clutter. Find one home for all of your notes, preferably a cloud-based one, and then commit to it. Don't get distracted by actions, documents, or collections. Those have their own homes. From now on, whether it's a business card or receipt, a handwritten note on the back of a napkin or notes you've typed up during a lecture. It all goes in its home for easy access later on down the line. 24. Syncing and Organizing Documents: We're finally here. Welcome to the Document Management Lecture. What's document management? Well, it's kind of a modern-day art form. The Art of how we organize and store our files. As society has transitioned from running on paper to running on digital files, were all interacting with more files than ever before. As a strategy consultant, I saw the risks of poor document management firsthand. On nearly every project, I saw, people struggled to find specific files, send the wrong version of files and even completely loose files. Having a simple and effective document management system is invaluable. And that's why I'd like to share with you our best practice approach for sinking and organizing your documents. You're then going to be able to customize this approach according to your specific preferences and habits. Our approach for good document management is similar to how we manage other areas of our digital lives. We want you to have one home for your documents on a single cloud-based storage platform with all of your documents on one cloud-based location, you're going to be able to access your documents anywhere, anytime. We'll define a simple file architecture so that finding, editing and uploading files as quick and painless. You'll be able to employ this architecture system and advanced search functions to always find your documents. Remember, there will be an initial upfront time investment in this decluttering process. But in the long term, you're gonna save yourself time, immense frustration, and take a big step towards digital peace of mind. Let's dive into it. First, we need to identify our ideal state. As we said, we want to find one home for all of your documents. You may be wondering, is one home for all of my documents even possible? I'm sure you can think of some use cases that complicates things. For example, when Jonathan and I were sharing files for the development of this course, we shared working files via slack, Asana and Google Drive. But let's keep it simple. But we're really talking about here is where you keep your Master versions of any document. Having one home for all of your documents ends up taking care of pretty much any complicated use case. When you collaborate with others, you may be co-working on a joint document on a third-party platform, but once the document is finished, you will upload the final version to your home. There is a mindset shift here as you adjust to no longer having documents on your computer. But once you get used to this, you'll never want to go back. It's just so much easier to have all of your documents in one place, accessible everywhere and always quick to edit. So where should you set up your document home? The big four options are Google Drive, Dropbox, iCloud Drive, and one drive. After trying and testing all of these, our favorite cloud storage solution for document management is Google Drive. First of all, it comes paired with the incredible Google Docs Sheets, Slides, and other alternatives to Microsoft Word baked right in. Unlike other solutions, on top of that, nearly everybody has a Google account. It's easier to share and collaborate with people even if they don't currently use it. If you're currently using a different platform and are worried about the migration time to Google Drive. You can keep watching until the end of the lecture and then make a decision. We promise it's less of a hassle than you think. And even if you prefer to stick with another platform, all good, this same approach and principles apply. Once you've decided on what platform you're going to use, you'll want to download this platform on every device you regularly use, phone, computer, and tablets. Using a web browser to access the platform is also okay, especially when it comes to work devices. Now that we know where R1 home will be, it's time to set up our new file architecture. Just like in other areas, we want to keep this as simple, consistent, and minimal as possible. Remember, searches now so advanced that we no longer need hundreds of subfolders in order to find anything. The idea here for most of us is that the fewer folders, the better. We want only as few folders as we truly need. And to stay away from an overly engineered multi-layered hierarchy system with a chain of ten or even a 100 subfolders. If you have a strong preference for organization and prefer to have detailed folder systems, that's okay to what we're talking about here is about each person finding a file architecture system that works for them in the long run. And for most people, that means spending minimal time uploading, sorting, and managing their documents. Take a few minutes now to think through and select a simple file architecture system. You'll want to define a few simple buckets and buckets, only a few levels deep. You can organize by chronology, by function, or by some cross version of both. For most people, the top layer will probably be personal and work. Or year 2019 does 18, et cetera. Under this top layer, you can create subfolders for the major areas of your life. You may even want to use the same labels that you used for your sub calendar system. And you'll definitely want to keep your folder names short and clear. Here's an example. This base folder structure doesn't need to be perfect because as you actually sore and migrate files, you're going to modify the folder structure to reflect the natural order of how you think about your documents. If you learn in process information visually like I do, you can also add colors to the different folders. Now, it's time to implement our new system. Once you have a base folder architecture system to work from your going to soar and migrate all documents. My suggestion is to start with the most important files. Those you are using on a daily basis are relevant to current projects, et cetera. This should include all documents, but don't worry about photos or videos, will handle those later. How long will this take? It varies from person to person, but usually with one or two focus sessions, you can get through the core of organizing your documentation. In many cases, you're going to see that you can just drag or move entire folders without even going through a single file. Your goal is to upload all of your documents to this one central home. As a reminder, this can include documents from any old or additional cloud storage account's email, especially important email attachments. If you're opening an email to access a specific file, it's time to move that file to the cloud. Your computer's documents folder or any other folders? That's right. Even though you'll have synchronized copies on your local desk for offline, use no more original documents on your computer. You can run a doc or DOC ex search on your computer to make sure you're not forgetting anything. Your computer desktop. Remember, a clean desktop is equivalent to a clean desk. Whenever possible, save files to the cloud and keep documents on your desktop to a minimum, your downloads folder. Most people have a treasure trove of important files piling up there. We'll detail this a bit more in another lecture. Paper for you over achievers, you can scan and upload your paper documents as well. And finally, for ultimate digital peace of mind, documents from any hard drives or USBs. We will talk about this more in a separate lecture on legacy files. I also recommend my clients setup a key documents or emergency file folder as part of their New Document Architecture system. This is where I like to keep a copy of all of my key identification and travel documents, passports, IDs, and insurance policies. Though I know that Jonathan go so far as to put copies of passports, mileage cards, and more in this type of Folder. Protected, of course, by fingerprint or face ID. I like to keep everything I could ever need if I was traveling and my key AIDs were stolen or something was destroyed. You can think of this as your virtual safety deposit box. Note that some password apps and digital wallets also provide you with this feature, such as Last Pass entropy, which brings me to a common question I get when it comes to document management, our cloud platforms like Google Drive, truly secure for most users and for most of their files, Google Drive offers a more than adequate level of security. The best way that you can make sure your cloud storage is secure is by keeping your device and account password secure. For extra piece of mind, we do suggest you enable two-factor authentication for your cloud storage account or even use a hardware security key. Another thing that you can do is encrypt specific sensitive files. Encryption means adding password protection so that only a person with a file password can open up a file. Unfortunately, Google Drive doesn't yet have a built-in password protection feature. So a workaround is to encrypt a file and Microsoft Office and then upload it. To enable this built-in feature, open up a document in Word, had to file tools, Protect Document, and add a document password. You can then upload this document to the cloud. Another common question is, do I need to modify filenames for every document? Filenames are important because they help us to find our documents. But the very idea of renaming hundreds or even thousands of files is exhausting and can be a giant waste of time. That's why we recommend modifying filenames only when you truly feel it as adding value. Such as when you're working on project documents or other people need to understand what that file is without opening it. Unfortunately, as we cover in the automation lecture, you can also use automation tools to handle a lot of this for you. Setting up a cloud-based home for all of your documents is transformative. Not only because it helps you keep tabs on all of your files, but also because you'll be able to access them wherever you might be, even if your devices get destroyed. So invest the time now and get those documents to their home. 25. Downloads Folder : For most people, the Downloads folder on our computer is the ultimate digital dumpster. The Downloads folder is essentially the digital equivalent of the kitchen junk drawer. It's littered with all kinds of random documents, photos, and mysterious PDFs. That's because most of the time, the default settings on our computers and web browsers send all files that we download to a hidden Downloads folder. So in this case, we already have one home setup for all of our downloaded files, but it's the wrong home. Most of these files need to either be deleted because you only needed the file for an immediate task or migrated to the cloud with the rest of your documents. So if you haven't taken the time to intentionally tweak the setting and change your downloads location, you're going to end up digitally hoarding and assortment of random and useless files. Our recommendation here is twofold. Let's clean up the downloads folder and changed the downloads location setting going forward. First, we recommend you change the default location setting for all downloaded files. Moving the location from the Downloads folder to your desktop. In the lecture on sinking and organizing documents, we mentioned uploading all of the files from your desktop to the Cloud. This gives you a clean workspace free of digital clutter. By sending downloaded files to your desktop, you're going to then be able to quickly see downloaded files and immediately Action them. This is akin to putting your clothes away post laundry. Though, if you do prefer the discretion of the Downloads folder with most cloud synchronization services like Google Drive, you can also set it up to synchronize the Downloads folder in addition to everything else. If you do want to change the setting to make it your desktop, you can do this by opening up your default web browser. In the web browser, open settings advanced than downloads location. Here, you can change your default download settings. We recommend you change the location to your desktop, like this user's Maya desktop, for example. For even more digital mindfulness, you can also enable the option that appears here to ask where to save each file before downloading. This will be less relevant for most of you now that our documents are on the cloud, but it's worth a mention. For those of you who like playing around with automation, there are also some cool automation tricks you could set up for auto cleaning or auto sorting downloaded files. But we cover those elsewhere in the course. So now you're set going forward. But what about our digital hoarder past? We recommend you do take the timeout now or later this week to clean out your downloads folder, at least files from the past few weeks or months, fill up a fresh cup of coffee and spend a few hours sorting through files, the leading ones you don't need or uploading them to your document home in the cloud to speed up the process, err on the side of delete and be ruthless. If you haven't touched a file in a year, chances are it can be deleted. While you're at it opened up your computer's trash folder and hit empty, officially clearing out your computer from junk files. One more thing here. Now that your Desktop Downloads folder are clear, take a minute and look at your desktop visual. You'll want to make sure you have a background that SUSE or inspires you. You can choose a calm, neutral color or download a beautiful image from an splash. That's it. You've digitally D cluttered yet another area of your digital life. Your downloads now have a proper home and you've optimized your ability to find files when you need them. This was a critical step to eliminating computer clutter and cleaning up your digital life. 26. Conquering Your Contacts List: At this point, our digital ecosystem is starting to look pretty darn D cluttered. Our files are under control, our inboxes or in order, and we are working our way through all that other stuff. In this lecture, we're going to learn about one of the most important things to keep in order. Your contacts list. If you're like most people, your contacts list is nothing short of a disaster. A bunch of people with one name or another, often something like Bobby from the restaurant or Sam accounting guy. Tons of random nicknames like Jimmy boy, duplicate entries, incomplete entries, and much, much more. Now, you might be thinking to yourself, why does it matter? The people who you most need to contact, you know how to find and everyone else. Well, who cares? It wastes so much time to properly add in everyone to your address book, doesn't it? In truth, there are a lot of reasons why you want to have your contacts organized. First off, you never want to get into a situation where ten years down the line, you need a number and you are unable to figure out which one it is. Or even worse, you deleted it because you couldn't figure out who the heck that person was. Second, I want to bring your attention to the fact that if your contacts list is not properly organized, you are missing out on lots of really cool features. For example, the ability to use the handy share menus on your mobile phone or the voice features provided by Siri, Cortana or OK, Google. When you're contexts are properly set up, you can do cool stuff like say hey Siri, give me directions to my brother's house or OK, Google shared Jimmy Valentine's number with Michael Murphy, which leads us to the third reason, time savings. These features like Siri and the sharing buttons save tons of time. But beyond that, I want you to ask yourself, how many times have you needed to ask a friend or colleague or family member for a piece of information such as their email, home address or Skype username. It seems like so much of our communication is spent gathering information that we've already asked for in the past. And as a general rule of thumb in life, if you need something once, you're likely to need it more than once recently and planning my wedding, I needed to provide the wedding planner with emails, phone numbers, and home addresses of all of my friends and relatives, over 200 families. Fortunately for me, I've spent ears meticulously keeping my contacts list neat, tidy, and complete. So while I didn't need to have a virtual assistant message, a few people for home addresses. The majority of the work was as easy as filling out a spreadsheet with information that I already have. My wife, however, was not so lucky. She ended up spending weeks trying to find phone numbers of distant family members in wrinkled up old pieces of paper calling dozens of family members to ask for contact information and much, much more. In the end, cutting corners to save time will end up costing you much more time. This is why there are a few rules that I want you to live by. When it comes to contact information. Rule number one, when you create a new contact, do it right. Every time. Adding the FirstName and the last name. Ask for their last name if you need to. Yes. Even if it's your plumber, if it's a professional contact at their company, then and only then adding whatever information they are giving you while you're at it. We suggest adding in phone numbers the proper way, including the area code and even the country code and the prefix plus. This is helpful because if you're ever traveling or you change your phone number, you'll be able to call and contact all of your contacts without the hassle of updating your entire address book. Rule number two, anytime you're given new contact information, update your records. Your friends give you contact information all the time, whether it's their home address to pick them up or their email address when they share a file with you. Instead of being that obnoxious friend who always has to ask, hey, what was your address again? Take a quick moment to update your records by adding in this information. On most modern operating systems and phones, this is as easy as clicking the Add to Contacts button on an email or a phone call, and then selecting update existing contact next time when you need it, it'll be easily available at your fingertips. Rule number three, avoid duplicates. Most Address Book software will make this pretty easy by allowing you to update contact information and even search for and merge duplicates. But still, technology doesn't always work perfectly. And I know that sometimes when I add to contacts, my computer creates a new contact for the same person. That's why in general, we suggest periodically searching for and merging duplicates, which you can do using the built-in menu options on Mac and Google. Rule number four, use your address book to store useful information. Many people don't realize that they can customize and add fields to their address book to help them store useful information about the people that are important to them. I, for example, loved to add notes about people into the notes field, such as the names of their children. I haven't met yet, their interests and more. I'll add in fields for Skype usernames, calendar booking links, Bitcoin, wallet addresses, wire transfer information, or anything else. I might need to reference about that person. As we said in rule number two, anytime I'm given a piece of information that I think I might need in the future. I add it to that person's contact card just in case. Doing this saves me a lot of hassle and a lot of pestering other people, as well as a lot of searching through emails and chats to find the information again. Now, let's talk a little bit about where you store your contacts. For most people, there are really only three solutions on the market. Google Contacts, which is powered by your Gmail account, iCloud contacts, which is connected to all of your Apple devices. And Microsoft Outlook, which is connected to your work, email and Windows devices. As always, our goal with decluttering should be to give everything one home and make that home cloud-based and synchronized. That means no more having some contacts on your phone, some on your iPad, some on your computer, and others in your e-mail account or SIM card. They must all be synchronized. And if possible, in one place, in the cloud, this place will really be dictated by what services you use, most, especially the one that you use on your mobile phone. If you are an Android user, you'll probably just want to sync with Google services. If you're an Apple user, it's going to be easier, but not required to use iCloud for all of your needs and synchronizations. In all truth, like with calendars. And it actually doesn't matter so much which service you use to sync between your native or aftermarket apps, so long as it works on all of your devices. Some people like to access Google calendars on the web, so they choose to sync everything through Google. Some people like to use aftermarket apps to manage their calendars. Some people like to have an Apple phone and a Windows computer. None of that is an issue with calendars or with contacts. But what you must do is make sure that your contacts are sinking across all of your devices with one service or another. Say for example, you use an iPhone, but your work requires you to have a PC. All you need to do is download the iCloud for Windows app and it will actually sync up your contacts in addition to all other iCloud resources, right, to your PC. By the way, it's important to note that all Apple devices also allow you to use Google's contacts and calendars, as well as outlooks. And they work basically the same as iCloud. So if it's easier for you, you can just go into the account's settings, pane, disable iCloud contacts and enable Gmail contacts sink or outlooks. From there, you can just rely on Google or Microsoft's infrastructure to sync your contacts between Gmail, your phone, your computer, and anything else. Now, if you are an Android user, is just going to be easier to rely on Google's infrastructure as a whole, since it's built in to the operating system, you'll want to ensure that your contacts are sinking between your phone and your Gmail and that all of your other devices, such as your PC or Linux device, are also setup with Google's sync. If you have a Mac, simply add the Google account to your computer and makes sure that contacts and calendars are set up to sink. Like with iCloud, This is not difficult, but so many people just never take the time to set it up. But what if you need to have separate address books just like you need to have separate email accounts or addresses or even calendars. No worries. If your work requires you to keep a separate address book in something like Microsoft Outlook, then you are going to need to do that. But not to worry, just like we used an interface to access all of your emails in one place. So too, can you use an interface to access all of your contacts in one place? On all Apple devices, you can add multiple contacts, accounts and services, and show them all in the synchronized address book of your Mac or iPhone. By the way, the first time you set up your Sync contacts list, your devices may ask if you want to merge contacts, go ahead and do this. You can always search for and replace duplicates later. Once you have all of your contact list set up properly, go ahead and test to make sure they are sinking by updating a contact on one device and then checking to see if the changes have been made on another device. If everything works, it's now time to go through and do a deep cleaning of all of your old contacts. We recommend doing this on your computer as it will be faster and easier. First, go through and fix the names of everyone in your contact list to include firstname and lastname. Delete any contact cards that are missing information or no longer relevant. Wherever possible, add in information for people that you know you have it for, such as people whose e-mails you have in your inbox or who's mailing addresses are in your messaging history with them. This will take a fair bit of time, but trust us, it is worth it. Once you're done, sit back and relax because your contacts are now organized and synchronized. From now on, all you need to do is stick to the rules and be a little bit meticulous. And you will have a nice, neat contacts list that serves you when you need it. Most. 27. Securely & Safely Storing Passwords: One of the most challenging and confounding aspects of organising your digital life is keeping track of passwords. If your current password situation is a disaster, don't worry, you are not the only one. Why is keeping our passwords organized such a challenge? On the one hand, you don't want to risk losing or forgetting your password because it presents all kinds of hassles and inconveniences when you need to login to your services. On the other hand, you don't want to risk security breaches by making your passwords too easy or by storing them in insecure ways. And of course, in some scenarios, people have some passwords saved on their iPhones, others saved on their computers, Chrome browser, and some in a secret text file on their computer. And of course, others still stored in their admittedly imperfect memories. This is not only frustrating, but also breaks the digital de-clutter is number one rule. Everything must have one home. What then are we to do? If you're like most people, you have maybe one password or a small group of passwords that you use for many different sites, possibly with some minor tweaks for each site. Even worse, you might be using a password that is memorable for you, such as a family member's name, your birthday, et cetera. First off, it's important for you to understand passwords that are easy for you to remember, are even easier for hackers to crack by using a password like Jenny baby 1987, you are just asking for trouble. Instead, if you want to be secure, you should be using a password that is very difficult for computers to crack or brute force, for example, this. But even if you are using a very strong password, reusing the same password reduces your security massively. It gives your password to a third party, which could then try and use it to get into your other accounts, or even worse, sell it to some interested and capable person that will, even if the site you use is totally honest and safe, it could actually get hacked. Hence, your standard password could get leaked to other people. What can we do about it then? Well, the solution, as in most cases, is a bit of a trade-off between ease of use and security. We need to give up on the convenience of remembering all of the passwords were using. Instead, our best practice recommendation is to have all of your passwords managed in a trusted software that generates a strong passwords randomly, one for each site and keeps them secure. With these programs, which are called password managers, you only need to remember one good, long, strong, and memorable password. Or depending on the device, your fingerprint or facial recognition sounds great, right? What's the catch here? Asking? Well, for starters, it means that you can't remember your own passwords and type them in from memory, which is a bit of a strange concept to get use to. Plus, even once you do, it'll take a little bit longer when you want to log into your Facebook account on a completely new device. This does make your life a little more cumbersome, but it also makes their digital identities a lot more secure. And with the fingerprint or face ID, it's actually faster to do it this way. Another downside to it is that it's a single point of failure which is always appealing to people who want to break into your accounts. While this indeed is an imperfect solution, is the best there is today, it's much better than having identical or similar passwords in many different sites, which all serve as multiple points of failure. As for today, password managers are the way to go and are an absolute must. Our devices might already have built in password managers. You see Google Chrome for example, can remember passwords for you and sink them between all of your devices with a Chrome app or browser. If you're an Apple user, Safari on all of your devices can suggest passwords, remember them, and sink them securely to your iPhone, iPad, and Mac using iCloud. These built-in features are of course, much more secure than reusing passwords. And they're very, very easy to use. But in many ways they pale in comparison to dedicated apps built by companies that specialize in password management. In this course, we recommend the last pass. It's a hybrid solution, meaning your passwords and files are backed up on their servers, but it's backed up and fully encrypted so that only with your master password can you decrypt it and access your data. Last Pass has applications for Windows, Mac, Android, iPhone, Chrome, Safari, Firefox and more. And they all synchronize together beautifully. This is really helpful if you'd like to use Safari on your phone, Chrome on your work computer, and Firefox on your home computer, for example. Last pass also conducts routine security checkups for you and alerts you if you reuse a password. It even has an auto change feature that will actually log in to each one of your favorite sites behind the scenes and change the passwords for you automatically. Furthermore, if you need to securely share passwords with friends, family, or coworkers, it allows you to do so in a way that's much more secure than SMS or Post-It notes, allowing you to prevent them from even seeing the password to use it. However, keep in mind that if you lose your master password, you will definitely lose access for all of your passwords. So we actually suggest that you make a paper backup of it and keep that backup somewhere incredibly safe. We also loved last passed because it supports two FAA or two-factor authentication, a security measure that requires you to type a constantly changing onetime code every time you log in. Because your master password is the key to your entire online identity. To FA is an absolute must for high-level security. And we strongly, strongly suggest that you enable it on every account that supports it, including last pass. Of course, if you use your devices somewhere where others could hop onto them, such as a shared workspace or a school library. It might also be wise to set last passed to automatically log you out after a certain period of inactivity, thus requiring your password and two FA code. Again, should you step away from the machine for total peace of mind, you can also back up the encrypted password data once in a while so that if for some reason last past disappears, you'll still be able to access your passwords locally without their servers. We'd also recommend using last passes, browser plugins and mobile phone apps, which work with all browsers and simply make your use of the web much more comfortable by allowing you to automatically fill in passwords. Now if you feel hesitant about autofill in features, especially when it comes to your sensitive or financial accounts, you can always use the app just to store passwords and manually type in passwords. One thing to note here, for extra sensitive accounts like your bank accounts and email, you'll want to regularly be resetting your passwords. In fact, if you haven't done this in a while, we recommend that you pause this lecture and take a few minutes to do so. Now, there are a lot of time saving and security benefits to using password managers from making it impossible for someone to see and remember your password to preventing phishing attacks and more. But by now, I think you're probably convinced. One thing's for sure. You're going to save a lot of frustration by having one home for all of your passwords. So set aside some time and start setting up one of these services. Perhaps you'll choose to use the built-in Password Manager in Google Chrome or your Apple devices. Perhaps you'll use last pass or you prefer to check out one of their competitors, such as dashed line, True Key, or one password. Either way, it doesn't matter which one you use, so long as you use it and use it consistently, it will take some time to get used to, and it may be annoying for the first couple of weeks as you get lots of pop-up windows prompting you to save your passwords. But with time, you will come to rely on them. And after all, they're much, much more convenient than having your digital identity stolen. 28. Managing Legacy File Storage : You might not realize it, but you're declared digital world can actually help you de-clutter your physical world too. As we collect and migrate information from old hard drives, USBs, and other old IT devices. We can finally clear out and throw away or donate our old devices. With R one home cloud storage solution, we can easily migrate a ton of our old data, including downloads, documents, photos, and videos from old-school devices to the cloud. That way, our files are available anytime, anywhere. And more importantly, we have the peace of mind that comes with shifting our digital storage to the cloud. With physical devices, our data is ultimately still vulnerable to natural disasters like fire or floods, or even just plain old human carelessness. I'm pretty sure we've all misplaced or lost one USB. Moving our file storage to the cloud means more accessibility to our data, more secure storage and greater peace of mind. For most of us, the world of affordable, accessible cloud storage only entered the scene when we were already teenagers. Young adults are fully fledged adults. That means that most of us have had quite a few years to accumulate an assortment of storage solutions. Usbs, hard drives, CDs, DVDs, even floppy drives. In this lecture, let's clean up your old storage devices and migrate any legacy data. We can think of legacy data as information stored on a format that is out of date or difficult to access. Basically, any device you're not using on a daily basis. We promised you a comprehensive digital decluttering guide. So let's get comprehensive. To begin, your first gonna go on a little IT scavenger hunt around your home and office, collect ALL IT and storage devices. This includes old computers, phones and tablets, hard drives, USBs, CDs and DVDs. Old camera's memory cards and SIM cards. If you want to go for total Digital peace of mind, you can use this as an opportunity to collect all straight IT devices in your home. This can include old iPods, music players, e-readers, chargers, cables, et cetera. Basically, anything you're not using on a daily basis. Take the time to really comb through all drawers and find everything. If you're already taking the time to clean out your IT world, let's really do it. Next. You're going to plug in or turn on each device one-by-one and migrate all of the files you wish to keep from the device to the cloud. For some devices, this is going to be a quick job, but for others, this can take awhile. One tip, Don't get caught and opening each and every file. You want to avoid taking long trips down digital memory lane when in doubt, just migrate everything to the cloud and you can delete files later on regarding old CDs, DVDs, or even videotapes. Put those aside for now. We'll cover those in the music and video lectures of the course. Once you've cleared out the rest of your devices, you're going to have a pretty big pile of old cables, devices, and chargers. What do we do next? First, take a quick look through the pile and see if there's anything that you want to gift or donate. Another great option is to resell these items. Apple has a known trade-in program that you can use to trade in Eligible Devices for credit towards your next Apple purchase or get an Apple Store gift card. Even if your device is an eligible for credit, they'll still recycle it for free. offers another great service for decluttering old hardware. They buy a wide range of IT items including cell phones, computers, CDs, DVDs, tablets, wearables, and video games. You can log onto their site for an instant valuation and then pack your items. Shipment is free and they'll pay you after the items arrive. Finally, for all those straight cables and appliances, you can head to your local BestBuy. Best Buy has the largest retail collection program in the US for waste. They recycle most IT products and sometimes even offer you discount coupons for new purchases. One big suggestion, don't delay. Take care of clearing away this old hardware as soon as you can. Preferably this week. It'll feel amazing and you may even make a nice little pile of cash. Chances are, you'll even cover the cost of this course. See, we promised you value for money. 29. Scan It, Send It: The awesome impacts of digital decluttering extended also to our paper world. We all know the pain of having stacks and stacks of paper, unopened mail receipts and other junk kicking around the house. We move papers from Georgia drawer as they collect dust. When we need something, we can't find it. And even if we could, we aren't sure where we can find that one paper from 5-years ago. Fortunately, digitization can solve all of this for us. Digitization means taking your paper documents and scanning them, usually to the cloud. In nearly all cases, we don't need the original copy of a document and we can just throw things out once we scan and upload them. And even if we do need the originals after digitization, we can safely store them away out of sight knowing that they are backed up in the cloud. Today, there are tons and tons of apps out there for digitizing your files into pictures or even lightweight PDFs. You can use an app like Jot note pro, Google Drive, Apple notes, Evernote, Google Keep, and many, many more. As with everything, we want to abide by the one home rule. But when it comes to papers, we scan the truth is that they won't have one home, their own. That's because scanning is just the modality or delivery system we're using to get the document to it's real home. That real one home can vary based on the document type. For example, if you are scanning and important contract that's going to go into your cloud file storage system. But if, on the other hand, you're scanning receipts for a current project, this might go into your note-taking app or active project files for static lists, quotes, and other collection. You can scan these to your notes collection we set up in the notes lecture of the course. For this reason, we actually recommend having a couple of different digitization tools at your fingertips. We suggest that you keep a PDF scanning app handy such as job not pro. We love this app because it makes it very easy to scan documents into, easy to share PDFs and then allows you to directly send them to your favorite cloud-based storage provider, email them to others, message them, or do anything you may need to do with them right from within the app. It even processes the image so that it is higher-quality and more readable like a scan rather than a photo Cam Scanner. And tiny Skinner are great free app options for those willing to compromise on the full suite of Skinner features. By the way, if you find yourself doing a lot of scanning, you may want to invest in a printer scanner combo that connects either to your smartphone or to the cloud directly. There are numerous scanners out there today that connect to either Google Drive, Dropbox or Evernote, making scanning incredibly fast and easy for all of that miscellaneous other stuff. We've already discussed, the power of the scanning feature of Apple notes, Google Keep, or Evernote, when it comes to snippets of information that we may need. Among these, Evernote stands out because of its ability to scan, recognize an index printed texts in 28 languages and handwriting in 11 languages. What's more? Evernote is handy because it allows you to quickly share your notes even to people who did not have an Evernote account. So just like the IT scavenger hunt we sent you on earlier, it is time for you to go on a paper scavenger hunt. Take a tour through your home and office and look for any old snippets of paper, stray receipts, or any other papers that can be digitized. Just like with other areas of digital hoarding, there can be an initial upfront time investment, but we promise you it's worth it. And if you find out that you have a tunnel documentation that you wanna keep, but don't have time to spare to digitize the documents yourself. You can always hire some outside labor through a platform like TaskRabbit. If you're not sure about a set of documents, we recommend going ahead and scanning them, but also keeping the paper copy for six months, cetera, reminder on your calendar. And if you haven't referenced the document, it's probably safe to get rid of the paper original. The only exception can be extremely sensitive documents like wills, deeds, marriage certificates, birth certificates, and trusts. For these, you'll want to keep both the paper original and the digital copies. Ultimately, the goal of scanning is not just to eliminate the mountains of paper lying around, but also to make it easy for you to find the things that you need with a single search by having a range of tools available from proper PDF scanners to the built in automatic scanners. In the top note taking apps, you are equipped to digitize whatever documents you may need to and send them to their own proper home with just a few taps. 30. Saving Sites: Sometimes it's the little things that make all the difference. One of my favorite quick when digital decluttering areas is saving sites and bookmarking. That's because we can transform this area from a digital disaster zone to an efficient and beneficial life enhancing tool in a matter of minutes. Why do we need to take a critical look at how we are saving sites? Well, the very nature of the Internet has encouraged our attention to grow ever more fragmented. And now we're inquiry's have become endless. After all, we can now get the answer to practically any fact based question with just a few Google searches. Trust me, I get it. I have cut down the Wikipedia where hundreds of times myself, for better or for worse. I know more about 19 seventies cults than most people. And we're not telling you to stop researching, inquiring, and being curious. The opposite. In fact, we just want to aid your curiosity quests. Your curiosity and specific interests, passions and areas of knowledge are part of what makes you, you the sites you browse the news, you read, the scientific findings you tune into. All of that is a reflection of your specific imprint on the world. And Syndrome imprint is vast. It's helpful if you find a way for you to sustainably and effortlessly manage it. I've seen clients tried dozens of different approaches to try and keep their sites organized. Everything from exploding bookmark bars, notes with links and e-mails to themselves. Some people have just plain given up and always have 30 plus tabs open at once, slowing down their computer and visually cluttering there screens. It's the equivalent of sitting down to write a paper, but having 30 posters of your favorite movies, musicians, and news sites littered all over your desk. Getting yourself to sit down and work is hard enough. Doing so while also facing a bunch of way more interesting and fun things is near impossible. So what's a curious person to do? Try using a site's savor. My favorite by far is definitely pocket. That's because pocket was actually created with this very purpose in mind to help people save interesting articles, videos, and more from the web for later enjoyment. You can save sites to pocket with literally one click. And once a site is saved, your list of content is visible on any device, phone, tablet, or computer. What happens when you start accumulating hundreds or even thousands of sites? Pockets, search functionalities are quite robust. And I'm able to find old articles about 95% of the time. It also has tagging functions, which can be helpful if you're researching for a specific project. Alternatively, if you prefer to not add one more up to the mics, will remind you that evernote has an awesome web clipper that can save an entire website, the simplified site or article. And more. As a reminder, you can probably also say fewer notes now that your notes collection is properly set up. If you're saving articles because of a specific quote or two, you can just copy those into your notes collection. Now, you may still be wondering why not just stick with the traditional bookmark bar, which can also sync across devices. Well, you can, but this does add visual clutter and again, a ton of distraction. In my own bookmark bar, I tend to only keep four sites. Ones that I actually want to access regularly. My calendar, email, local yoga studios schedule, and whatever project I'm currently working on. This works for me right now, and it will probably change again. In the same way. I do encourage you to play around and figure out with what works best for you. For most people, that's going to be some version of keeping a few key sites on your bookmarks bar and having everything else on a site saving app like pocket. One more thing. We do recognize that how we research, soar through and process information differs from person to person. Someone with an indifferent, intuitive type may even thrive with a ton of sites open at once. And this kind of visual stimulation may even encouraged new neural pathways. But for most people, deep work is impossible if we have other sites open. Cal Newport has strict terms on this. For him, for a session to count as deep work, there must be 0 distractions. He explains that even a quick glance at your phone or email inbox can significantly reduce your performance due to the cost of context switching. So our point here is simple. Take this time now to think about the types of information you are taking in each day and how you go about accessing and re-expressing this. Try out a site saving app like pocket. And if it's working for you, think about clearing out your overloaded bookmark bar. Part of our human nature is to be curious. And you want a way to save sites that both encourages you and honors your curiosity, while also allowing you to maintain focus and get things done. Remember, in the age of digital distraction, it's up to you to own your time. 31. Cross-Device Syncing of Photos & Videos: Perhaps one of the biggest areas of clutter frustration and fear for folks lies in their photos and videos. After all, our photos and videos contain our most cherished memories of moments will never experience again and people who are no longer with us. This among other reasons, is why it's so important to get this part right. When we tell you how to do it, you're probably not going to be very surprised. Yes, though we might be sounding like a broken record at this point. The same fundamentals here are true. Your photos and videos should have one home. And for peace of mind, that home should be in the cloud. We know that this is a stark contrast to the way most people handle their photos today. They have some of their photos on their old phone. Someone, their new one, someone their ipad, still, others on their old PC and a random folder and some others on their Mac or hard drives. They have a bunch of photos scattered on a few memory sticks somewhere. And then of course, there are the family photo albums from decades ago. What a mess. Fortunately, today, organising and even sorting your photos is easier than ever. First, let's find them a home. When it comes to cloud photo storage solutions, there are really only two names in town, iCloud and Google Photos. Depending on which devices you use, again, you may prefer to use one or the other. Iphone in Mac users will be much better off using iCloud because it will sink in real-time the photos they take on their phones, to the photos app on their computer, and can also be accessible via any web browser. Basically, you'll be able to view and access all of your photos anywhere you go. Now Pc and Android users should stick to Google Photos, though of course, Google Photos also works great with Mac, iPhone and everything else. Plus, unlike iCloud, which will probably require a paid storage upgrade, Google Photos is free if you want to only store optimized versions of your photos, whichever solution you choose. The next step is, you guessed it to upload all of your photos and videos there. And when I say Hall, I mean, all of them connect your old camera's memory cards, computers, iPod touches, hard drives and phones, and migrate all of your photos and videos to the Cloud storage platform of your choice. Then if you're feeling really ambitious, do what I did and buy or rent a high-speed photo scanner and scan all of your family photo albums dating back to the 19 twenties. Dig up all of those old mini cassette tapes and digitize those too. There are affordable devices out there if you want to do it yourself or you can pay a service to actually come over to your house into it for you. Now, it might sound like a lot of work, but I have to say it is worth it for photos and memories like this. Or how about recently when I wanted to create a memorial corner at my wedding for my relatives who had passed away. Instead of needing to FedEx the original photos around the world, I just printed off my own copies and they were right there with me for the big day. Really powerful stuff. And that's just the pictures, you know, recently I was moved nearly to tears watching a video of my dad and I playing together, a video that It had not been digitized and at my fingertips on my computer, I probably never would have seen it again. Ok. But wait a minute. What about organization? I mean, after you upload all of those thousands and thousands of photos, you're going to have a huge mess and never be able to find anything right, wrong. First off, when you scan or import photos, you can choose to preserve or write in to the files and their metadata that dates and even locations of the pictures. What do you look in my eye photo at the photos of me as a child, they actually show as having been taken in 1987. All I had to do with separate them by year when scanning and input the proper date. What's more? Most people don't realize it, but both iCloud and Google Photos use artificial intelligence to scan the contents of your entire photo library, making it super easy to find photos without folders or captions. Looking for a photo of you at the beach, just search for beach, looking for a particular person, tag them once, and the algorithm will find all other pictures with their face in it automatically. Even recognize as scenery, cars, trucks, pets, and much, much more. So just like we learned with the email and documents in this case, searching is once again faster than creating a bunch of elaborate documents or labels. And what about quickly cleaning up duplicates or poor quality shots? Well, now that all of your photos will be in one place, you'll probably have quite a few duplicate images. There are a few start-up players who were trying to take this kind of photo collection clean-up on Gemini photos is one of them and they scan your photo library for duplicates and poor-quality shots, helping you do some quick clean-up. Now, there is just one exception here, one time that we're going to allow you to break the one home for all your photos and videos rule. And that is when it comes to very large videos. If you're like me, for example, and you like to fill an entire family events in beautiful 4K quality, chances are it is going to be way too expensive and inefficient to store all of that in Google Photos or iCloud. You could of course, compress the files and upload them, which I do for many short events. But what if you want to keep high-quality originals or really long videos? In this case, the only solution is to invest in an external hard drive, which will have to live in a drawer somewhere. Keep in mind that hard drives can fail after a few years though. So for total peace of mind, you can also back up that hard drive with a cloud backup service, like back blase or even Google Drive. Now back blaze has no restriction on backup size, so it's an excellent solution for Cloud backup of huge hard drives. But I actually use Google Drive to store a lot of my big video files as well. Of course, for most people who don't shoot videos longer than ten minutes and don't have professional photo or video equipment, you will be able to keep absolutely everything in one home, on the cloud. And with iCloud plans into the hundreds of gigabytes costing Only a few dollars and Google Photos being basically completely free. Why wouldn't you, moving all of your photos and videos to the Cloud is a great idea for so many reasons. It protects your family memories permanently, reduces the amount of paper and digital clutter lying around. And it gives you the opportunity to go through and enjoy these memories whenever you wish. So don't put this off, do it now and thank us later. 32. Keeping Your Music Organized: Ladd, IDA, let's talk music. How we store and listen to music has shifted and changed quite a bit over the past decade as new technology has developed and the music industry has lost battle after battle to protect the status quo, our music collections have undergone a fair amount of movement. We've shifted from CDs to iPods, to the cloud, and more recently to music streaming services like Spotify, SoundCloud. Today, it's becoming less and less common to own your music collection. The way our parents did, technology is not static. So how we store and listen to music will continue to shift and evolve. What's a music fan to do? In this section, we're going to talk about music storage and talk through our best practice recommendations as to how we access and listened to music will also provide a few recommendations for those who hold larger or even professional grade music collections. As usual, we want to start out by identifying our one home for our music collection and then migrating or consolidating old files to this new home. Let's begin by differentiating between the everyday music listener and the music efficient auto or professional, and talking about music storage solutions for each of these. Why does this matter? Because the needs of these different music listeners are different and we wanna make sure we find the right home for your music. The everyday music listener is someone who enjoys music and enjoys having access to their music collection on multiple devices, but doesn't use this music professionally. Most of us fall into this category. We may listen to a few 100 songs and rotation and definitely have our favorite playlists. And we like hearing about new songs. So how does the everyday music listener keep their music files organized? If you're an every day music listener, our recommendation is actually to forget about music files and music storage altogether. And instead, think about music access. Why? Well, most of us have pretty simple music needs. We want to be able to listen to pretty much any song anywhere, save and share playlist and also exploring the music. A digital music streaming services like Spotify or Apple Music is going to cover all of these needs and more. Some people have even concluded that holding music files is now obsolete. And they've decided to delete all of their old music files after transferring to a streaming service. If you decide to go with Spotify, Apple Music, or another music streaming platform for your music Home, we recommend a few steps. First, set up an account with the music streaming platform of your choice. Next, schedule some time to migrate songs from your old music collection to this central platform. This will take a bit of time, but we'll make sure your key music needs are met. A quick way to get started as by first creating a few playlists of your favorite songs. Last, look for any legacy music files and migrate them to your new central platform. You can look through old playlists on other platforms or your old digital music collection. If you still have CDs, you can collect all of them and check for your favorite songs. I just want to clarify one thing. If you go with this approach, when we talk about migrating, we don't mean actually moving the digital file, but rather changing its home from the digital file you keep to a digital file that you access via your new music account. You'll make this move by searching for the song or album on Spotify and then adding it to a playlist. It may seem a bit weird at first, but the beauty of an app like Spotify is that you're going to be able to find almost every song in your existing collection. Yes, even though super obscure ones in different languages, you can also enable Spotify or Apple Music's algorithmic tools to help you discover new music based on your current listening preferences. Another benefit of a music app is that you no longer need to spend time editing filenames or organizing your files, saving you tons of time. And what about your old music collection on iTunes or Apple Music? Well, that's ultimately up to you. Like we said, Some people may choose to delete old files after shifting to a music streaming service. Most every day listeners will find it easier to just totally shift to a Spotify premium model with offline mode. However, not everyone will want to move to Spotify or Apple Music, or may want to listen to some music that isn't available there for whatever reason, you may end up choosing to stick with maintaining a music collection on iTunes, Apple Music, or another music library platform. Here, you'll also have the ability to edit the metadata of your files. Things like singer, sang name, album, year, et cetera. A word of caution here, you can still have an organized music collection without spending hours perfecting your metadata. Also, there are now a ton of apps out there that can support you in your music metadata endeavors. By the way, if you have a big stack of CDs at the end of this process, you can even try and sell them on a retail site like If some of your music isn't available on Spotify or Apple Music, you also have the option of actually setting up Spotify or apple music to play your local files. This is something of an exception to the one home policy with similar to how you can use one interface to check multiple calendars or email accounts. So again, just take a few minutes now to select a single home, such as iTunes or Spotify. For this collection, you'll basically follow the same steps of going on a music scavenger hunt, moving all of your files to this single home. Only now you will actually be migrating your music files or viewing your local files through the central interface, the music efficient Nado is a more serious music listener. This is someone who takes pride in their music collection and may have upwards of 10 thousand or 20 thousand songs in their collection. They often consider music to be part of their identity. Some music aficionados may also fall into the category of music professional, such as DJs or sound editors. For the music aficionados, there's currently no one size fits all solution for keeping your music organized. Most music professionals will use a variety of tools to store, edit, and interface with their music. And we don't need to go over that here. But if you do have a large music collection and it's important to you, we do want to emphasize that you should have ECQ, your backup system for your music collection. We're mentioning this because so many music aficionados use a harddrive to backup their music. If you're using a hard drive, we do recommend a second cloud-based backup system for extra protection, such as becuase, Dropbox and apples time machine are other common choices. Isn't the whole point of a hard drive that it's a secure way to store files. Yes. But unfortunately, hard drives don't last forever. And fact, back plays publishes an official list of harddrive models and their failure rates. While the rates are low, typically 0 to 1.5%. We just don't want you to be in that 1%. So take a few minutes now and sign up for a second level of protection. And if you're already using a music service like iTunes, you don't need to worry about the second level of protection. Just take a minute to double check under settings that your device backup is enabled and that your music is really being linked to the cloud. For total digital piece of mine, you're going to want to make sure that your music collection is centralized and secure. Regardless of if you're a casual everyday music listener or seriously dedicated to your music collection, you can take a few quick steps to secure your music. Some of you may now be considering or have already made the move to an app like Spotify for total Music access, rather than actually collecting digital music files at the end of the day, only you know what music storage or access option works best for you. Each of us has our own taste preferences and music listening habits. But one thing is certain now that you've taken the time to think through how you store and access your music you can enjoy from another level of digital calm. 33. Books and Reading Materials: Jonathan and I are both bibliophiles and lifelong readers. We love reading and we love books. In this lecture, we'll talk about how we can mindfully leveraged the benefits of digitization when it comes to how and what we read. Let's begin with how we read. Regardless of whether you prefer to read paper books or from an e-reader, parts of our reading experience have now become digitized. Digital versions of books, academic research, and the news are now accessible and completely commonplace. It's common for professors to assign online PDFs as reading. And most of us get our news through our phones. For that reason, e-readers are an amazing way to enjoy the electronic versions of books, especially when we're on the go or traveling a lot. Iv eaters are handheld devices where we can read electronic versions of books. Some popular options include a Kindle book and the cobalt. Though you can also use an ebook app on your iPad or Android device. While there's an obvious convenience factor of using your phone for reading, e-readers can help us take better care of our eyesight, especially for longer reading. Plus now, e-readers have evolved so much that active readers don't need to compromise when it comes to highlighting, note taking and marginalia. There's also a kind of modern magic and e-readers. As a lifelong reader, I now enjoy it from having access to millions of books from one single handheld device. That's incredible. Absolutely. Maya. In my super learner courses, I teach students about all of the powerful benefits of e-readers and the ways that they can use them not only to read faster than they would on paper, but also to look up and remember new words and to easily do routine memory maintenance. Overall, I really believe that e-readers make it easier for people to actually learn because with Cloud sync notes and highlights and digest email services out there that will email you random highlights. It's so easy to search and even review your notes. It's really pretty powerful. Yeah, e-readers really can offer a ton of value. But that's not to say that we advocate you move all of your reading to an e-reader. The digital world has brought us new reading options and it's ultimately up to you to figure out what serves you best. For most people, it's some combination of paper and digital reading. I personally still enjoyed the paper reading experience, especially at bedtime when it's after my digital curfew. And I mostly use an e-reader when I'm traveling. If you are spending a fair chunk of time reading from a digital device, please make sure that you are choosing the right screen type for you. Electronic paper, E Ink screens like the Kindle, have a paper like finish helping to reduce eye strain. What's more? Make sure that you are periodically synchronizing your books and backing them up by connecting your e-reader to the internet. This way it's easy to have your books and your reading progress sync across all of your devices. Your Kindle, for example, can sink to kindle web, can little desktop, and the Kindle app on your Android and iOS devices. This would make the home for your digital reads, Amazon's web server, where you can also import other free books or PDFs. There is one thing we'd like to mention. While most e-readers have the ability to create folders to help you organize your reading materials. The reality is these usually aren't too user-friendly. You can choose to use them if you have lots and lots of books on your devices. But as in most cases, the easiest way to find your books will probably just remain search. So we don't really suggest you invest a lot of time in creating folder structures here either. Now, you may be wondering if we're reading paper books sometimes and other times reading from an e-reader or a tablet, Can we really have one home for all of our books? Well, we can come close. We love the GoodReads app just for this purpose. Jonathan and I both use GoodReads as r one home for our book collection. This way, we have one at home for what we read. With GoodReads. You can track all the books you've ever read our reading or aligner read. This can help you be more intentional and mindful about what you're reading when the only issue with GoodReads is that it does not sink highlights for that you may want to check out an app called read wise. Read wise connects to your Amazon cocoa, insta paper, nuke, Apple books and all other reading apps. And it downloads all of your highlights. It also allows you to select books you've read on paper and then pulls in the common highlights that other people have made in that book. From there, it'll give you a daily, weekly, or monthly summary of all of your highlights across all of these different places, helping you review books that you've read in the past. Now I love using read wise to keep the books I've read fresh in my memory and I enjoy their key ideas time and time again. Check out the link and the PDF syllabus to get two months of read wise free. So those are our suggestions for organizing your reading materials. While it's not as intuitive to sync all of these up, it's better than having things distributed in a dozen different ways. Spend some time organizing your books and reading materials today, and there'll be there and easy to find when you need them. 34. Self-Assessment & Success Moving Forward: As we near the end of this course, let's take a few minutes to reflect on how far we've come when you started this work, your digital world was probably pretty chaotic and full of digital overwhelm, exploding inboxes, lost passwords, missing documents. Together, we've walked through every part of your digital world, conquered each digital disaster zone, and organized your digital life. Now, every area in your digital life has a distinct one home and you know where all of your files are there securely backed up and you can access them anytime, anywhere. Amazing. You can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that you have digital peace of mind and greater control of how and when you use your technology. Some of you have taken this one step further and open up to a new way of interacting with your technology. A state of calm and control we like to call digital Zen. You've done a lot of work and you should be proud of yourself. You're no longer in digital autopilot and you understand the value of organizing your digital life. Most importantly, by digitally de-cluttering, you've cleared up time and energy for the areas in your life that truly matter. We also know that de-cluttering every area can take time, and that's okay. Something we've emphasized throughout this course is the digital at decluttering isn't about a perfect final product. The digital world just moves too fast for that. We're constantly getting new inputs. And what's important is that you leave this course having completed the fundamentals and confident with your new systems. Above all, we want you to leave this course with the knowledge that you are totally in control of your digital life. So let's talk about what successfully completing this course looks like. Take a few minutes now to make sure that you've completed our course objectives and to look back on the goals you set for yourself when you began this course. Hopefully by now, you understand the key principles of digital minimalism and are committed to shifting from a digital overwhelm mindset toward a state of digital peace of mind. You've tamed your inbox, consolidating and decluttering all email accounts and setting up an inbox system that works for you. You've set up cloud-based auto backup for every area of your digital life and feel confident and secure about your data. In case of emergency or device loss. You've D cluttered every key area of your digital life, setting up a new one home for each area. Your calendar to-do list, notes, Documents, Downloads, contacts, passwords, scans, photos, videos, and music. You've familiarized yourself with better ways to manage your media, including how you save internet sites, books, and reading materials. You have a list of every outstanding digital disaster area where you need to finish de-cluttering. And you've put a few decluttering sessions on your calendar. You've taken control of how and when you use your technology. Some of you may have also leveraged automation hacks and team organization techniques to super boost your digital processes. If you aren't sure you've completely covered any of these, we do suggest that you take the time now to revisit some of the earlier lectures or reach out to the Facebook community for this course to get guidance and support. It's totally normal and even recommended to schedule another digital decluttering day or two after this course. If you've been really challenged by the implementation part of this course and felt like you didn't have time to do the actual decluttering. You can try challenging yourself to a 30-day digital decluttering challenge. Every day for the next month, spent a chunk of time, even ten minutes counts digitally de-cluttering. If you stick to this commitment, we promise you that by the end of the month, you will have made major progress and felt positive tangible benefits. We also want to mention that you don't have to go about this all on your own. Outsourcing can be a great option, especially for any tedious areas where you're migrating, scanning, or uploading files, you can use an app like Fiverr or TaskRabbit to find someone locally who can help or even grabbed your tech savvy nephew. Just make sure that you are handling any sensitive or secure files on your own. Remember, you have a big say here as to what success looks like. We all have different organizations, standards and preferences, different needs and different habits. It's not about achieving perfection. It's about recognizing how far you've come. We've shared with you the best practice digital organizations standards. And it's ultimately up to you to commit to a more organized digital life and make customizations according to your needs. And one more thing, in the coming months, you may also notice some changes happening outside of your digital life. Just like when you declare your physical home or office, de-cluttering your digital world means space and energy for new things. Take note when people digitally declutter, there can be long reaching benefits in other areas of their life, including their fitness levels, meditation practices, romantic relationships, and interactions with others. With less digital distraction and more digital mindfulness, our attention turns away from our devices and towards a new way of living in the modern world. We can't wait to see where this journey takes you. 35. Congratulations & What We’ve Learned: Congratulations. You've now made it through the entire program. And if you've been carefully following along with each of the steps, your digital world is now pretty much entirely clutter free. But remember, part of being in digital Zen is staying flexible, taking periodic steps to revisit your needs and tweak your systems accordingly. Though you now have a very solid foundation when it comes to digital order, it will only persist if you continue to dedicate time to it. This means finishing up any outstanding decluttering, leveraging the skills you've learned in this course, maintaining good digital habits and setting aside time every week to tidy things up before they get out-of-control. Perfect, can't and won't exist here. What's most important is that you have regain a sense of control when it comes to your digital world. And that you are using technology in a way that truly serves you. We want to thank you for joining us on this digital de-clutter journey towards a more intentional and beneficial relationship with your technology. We hope that you've gained a great deal out of the time you've spent here with us and encourage you to reach out if you have any questions or suggestions. And with that, it's time for us to part ways. So once again, congratulations and take care. Bye bye. 36. Bonus: How To Take Your Digital Decluttering To The Next Level: We've designed this course to help you reset your relationship with technology, efficiently declutter your digital world and, and work and live better. Digital Zen is a way of living and working. And above all, it's a mindset. If this content has resonated with you, you might be wondering how we can deepen our work together to support your digital organization goals and optimize how you use digital tools for work and play. First, we encourage you to ask questions in the discussion section of this course. You can also share your progress and talk through challenges on the Facebook community for this course. Additionally, if you haven't already, we encourage you to check out the extended or masterclass version of this course, which is offered exclusively on superhuman Academy. There you'll find hours of extra content, advanced strategies, and resources to help you take everything that you've learned to the next level. Best of all, as a member of this entry-level course, you are entitled to a $29 credit towards your purchase of the extended program. Additionally, we invite you to check out our entire range of personal development courses, from those on productivity to accelerated learning, creating a meaningful life and much, much more. And you can unlock that entire library for just $49 a month. For students who are still feeling stuck or overwhelmed by their digital clutter and would like some professional guidance. I offer coaching packages in person and online. I'm also available for Enterprise and team workshops and training seminars. My trainings are hands-on, practical and impactful. Digital de-cluttering can benefit anyone who struggles with digital overwhelm or just wants to supercharge their productivity and ways of working. As you can probably guess, I really can't speak highly enough about Mayas coaching abilities and her knowledge when it comes to digital de-clutter and organization. I thought I was pretty digitally declared before we put together this course. But I have to admit that Maya inspired me to make some critical and amazing changes to get to that next level, which is digital Zen. I can confidently say she's one of the best at digital mindfulness and de-cluttering experts out there. I mean, I built this course with her for a reason. She can make order out of the absolute worst situations without suffering and stress, so make sure to contact her. Thank you, Jonathan. For more information. You can reach out to me. You can find my contact information on the course PDF syllabus. I can't wait to meet you and to help you transform your digital world. Hello, digital Zen.