Six organization tips for 2016

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The new year is right around the corner so it's time to start looking into ways to get organized for next year. Here's six suggestions for getting a head start on kicking off the new year in a productive way:

Tip 1 - Clean off that digital desktop

If you're like me your digital desktop can wind up a bit cluttered.  Take some time to get rid of shortcuts you don't need, store files that need to be stored, and generally clean up.  If you're not sure if you need to keep something on your desktop try this trick - create a folder and put the items in question in the folder.  Now as you need the items take them out of the folder.  If at the end of the year you still have items in the folder you never needed them so you can throw them out or put them away.

Tip 2 - Search for stuff

Take advantage of the search capabilities of tools such as Google Mail to find old, repetitive emails you may have received but no longer need.  Use the Archive liberally and clean out not only your inbox but the folders that go along with it.

Tip 3 - Turn paper into images

Analog advocates such as myself tend to amass a large number of notebooks.  While enjoyable, they're not the easiest way to retrieve information.  Take a little time to take digital images of your notebook pages and then they can go on a shelf with the information along for the ride with you in your pocket.  Even better, if your printing is neat, some cloud storage services such as Google Drive can search your handwritten text the same way it searches normal text.

Tip 4 - Check those passwords

Almost all of us violate good rules of password safety in some way or form.  This is an excellent chance to update your password and if you haven't already, implement a password manager to keep track of them.

Tip 5 - Rules, rules, rules

Email systems and services such as IFTTT are great ways to automate the things you do most often.  Take some time at the end of the year to look over what you do frequently and see if there aren't some ways you can leverage rule based systems to help you organize emails, improve social media sharing, and generally act as a digital assistant.

Tip 6 - Journal it

Beginning with the new year start setting aside time each day to capture what worked well for you that day and what didn't.  Over time you'll start to see trends to help you identify opportunities to improve your organization and productivity.

There are hundreds of ways to improve your productivity and organization in the coming year.  Don't try to do them all at once and don't be surprised if some aren't for you.  Flexibility is the key to success when trying to solve these kinds of problems.