How to Clean Out Your Computer Files and Paper Files
It’s a new year and a new month so in this post I wanted to concentrate on cleaning out your computer files and your paper files BEFORE getting too much further into the week. With just three days into the new year and many of you just getting back to your computers and/or to work – take some time now to get rid of the old and make room for the new!
Step 1: Back up your computer before you begin deleting old computer files. On the “main” computer I have three backup drives. One I use for daily backups, one I use for “My Documents” backups and the third I use for backing up my whole computer. I use a free simple program to do my backups and also have them scheduled to run at certain times to my various backup devices. The program I use is called Karen’s Replicator – remember it’s free and I’ve been using it for years – it will back up a whole drive or just folders and files – you get to choose. (TIP – Just so you feel “safe” the first time you use the program – go and check to make sure you files are really there and you can access them before you begin deleting files off your main computer.)
Step 2: Once you have backed up all your files go into what I call the “electronic file cabinet” – a.k.a. My Computer. On a PC you can press together – once – the Microsoft logo FLAG key on your keyboard and the letter E. It is generally located between the Ctrl and Alt keys. I’m not sure what it is on a MAC – MAC users can you tell please leave a comment on how to access all computer files?
Once you get to your list of folders and files you can sort by date and delete accordingly OR if you have client files you are no longer using you can delete the whole folder. Yes I know this can be a lengthy process – you will need to make decisions on what stays and what gets deleted – however remember you have a back up “just in case” you ever need to refer to the file or client’s folder again.
Step 4: Now let’s take a look at your paper files, whether you are a freelancer, virtual assistant or run your own business. I like to begin with my client’s files. I remove any client files that I’m no longer working with, if I haven’t already, and put them in my reference file cabinet. All current client’s I clean out their folders, save what I think is important and put last years work in my reference file cabinet, this way you begin with a fresh folder for the coming year. The only thing I keep in their working folder is their New Site Check List and any passwords or other info that I might not have on my list.
Then you have your personal work files, like marketing or blogging ideas, class ideas, training, etc. Be honest with yourself if you really need to keep, file, or toss.
For many of you this might be an all day adventure; however I can guarantee that your life will be much more productive and your computer will love you for taking the time to do this.
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And I would LOVE to hear from you – how it went getting your computer files and paper files organized – so please feel free to leave a comment!