Clean up your work space – It is so much easier to get to work, when your sit down at a clean well organized desk. The lack of physical clutter, helps our brains declutter too. In the same way when you sit down at your computer screen and see folders everywhere, with random documents and files all over the place, it’s harder to focus. Not to mention the time wasted searching through folders, and scanning your screen for the thing you need. It helps if your home screen is something easy to look at, and not too busy. You could also try getting Digital Desktop organizer, like this, which both looks good and helps keep you organized.
Create a consistent system– If you are wanting to streamline your digital life, a good place to start is to create a few core folders that cover everything you do online. Make as few as possible. I have things like Bre Sessions Business Folder, Personal Photos, Client Photos, Expenses, and Downloads. Once you have your main ones, create folders within each. Today I am going to focus on getting your digital photos in order, so once you have your “Photos” Folder, inside that you will have subfolders listed by year, I only keep the current year on my desktop, but you could keep more if you have the space, then inside each year you will have a folder for each month. When you list the months keep your labeling consistent. I suggest starting with a number to help keep them in consecutive order when you open up your year folder (i.e. 01 January, 02 February, 03 March). You can take it one step further within the month, and have folders for special occasions such as Christmas Photos, 1st Birthday etc… If you take the time to download photos at least once a month, it will help you stay organized, and ensures that no images gets overlooked, and lost in a card somewhere. Lastly, in each year, in addition to my monthly folders I have a “Phone Pics” folder and a “Videos” folder, because let’s be honest, it’s easy to forget to download those (I don’t feel the need to do those monthly, but if you do, you could just add those to your monthly folders and keep them with your other images from that month.
Back it up– Having a back up plan is HUGE!! I can’t stress this enough. I often get calls from clients who say “my computer crashed and I lost all my files, can you resend them to me” or “my phone died, got lost, stolen etc…and I hadn’t backed it up in months”. Make a set time, it can be once a month, when you download your images, it can be once a quarter, or if you really want to push it every 6 months, where you back up all your images. Digital storage is so cheap these days, there is no reason not to everything saved to multiple places. There are cloud based services like Dropbox, OneDrive, Google Photos (which is free and has a great app you can easily use to upload phone pics and video from all your devices). You can also use external hard drives, and have one for each year. I think having one copy of your photos stored outside of your house is ideal. Call me paranoid, but if you have a fire , or someone breaks in you could potentially lose both your computer files and your hard drive. I like the cloud option, or doing both the cloud and an external hard drive. You could also store the external hard drive from past years in fire proof safe, or a safe deposit box to be sure it’s safe. I might sound a little overprotective, but when someone you love is no longer with you, and all that remains is photos, you want to make sure that they are safely preserved!
Print and Share– Being organized is great, but one of the main reason to get your digital photos organized, is so you can do something with them! Don’t forget this last and crucial step! I hope this inspires you to take a little time to digitally declutter your life! I am working on another blog post about what to do with all the thousands of photos you have trapped in your computers and phones, so keep an eye out for that next week! If you’ve found this helpful, have questions or just want to share what works for you, please leave a comment below!