If you’re like me you rely on your digital devices and tools more and more to help you manage your life. Today we can prepare and file our own taxes, bank and shop online, and watch popular movies and TV shows where and when we feel like it. It’s hard to remember life without these conveniences. And, one of the best things about living in a digital world is less paperwork and less physical clutter at home and at work.
But if you’re not careful your digital life can get messy. Make sure “out of sight” doesn’t turn into “out of mind” by developing a strategy for keeping track of your paperless world. Here’s how to make sure you stay organized and keep your digital life free from clutter and chaos:
- Account activity alerts. Opting into paperless statements and bills is a really great way to cut down on clutter. Why not take it a step further by setting up your utility bills, credit cards, online banking, and investment accounts to send you email or text alerts of any and all account activity? You’ll be notified when a payment is due, when a payment has posted, and when you are nearing your credit limit. While you’re at it, you can sign up for our UltraSecure+Credit. It will monitor your accounts 24/7 and we’ll notify you if anything suspicious happens.
- Personal identification documents. Scan and save your personal identification documents, like your passport, social security card, driver’s license, and will. File the originals and copies away either at home or in a safe deposit box at the bank. You should also make copies of your credit cards, especially if you carry them with you each day. Be sure to scan the front and back of each card to capture the unique security code. Contact your card company immediately if they are lost or stolen.
- Email. Managing your email can feel like a full-time job. Between work, home, and your social life you probably have tons of archived and unopened email messages. Book time on your calendar to delete old mail and to set up folders to help you sort and organize your email going forward. A good trick is to commit to only opening each email once and then immediately deciding where to file it or if you can delete it. Pick three or four dedicated times a day for checking and sorting your email inbox to keep it clutter-free.
- Digital images. With smartphones, tablets, and digital cameras it’s easier than ever to take pictures wherever we go. Even President Obama and Ellen Degeneres can’t resist the lure of snapping “selfies” with their smartphones. But these digital files can pile up quickly and take up lots of room on your hard drive.
I’m here to tell you that every picture you take is not an Ansel Adams, and you are probably sitting on hundreds if not thousands of images that you won’t miss if you never see them again. Carve out some time to dedicate to sorting and organizing and yes, deleting, any pictures on your devices that are not “save-worthy.” Make it a regular habit to back up your photo collection to an external hard drive or a cloud storage service like Carbonite or iCloud.
And remember, it’s OK to take a break from your digital life every now and then. With IdentityForce you’ll be worry free because we’ll be monitoring your digital life 24/7. So take a break, go for a run, walk the dog! You’ll enjoy life more if you unplug every now and again. I know I do.
Image courtesy of Flickr user Kenny Louie.