Cleaning up my digital world: saving myself from e-junk & clutter

Today, I’m starting on a long journey of cleaning up my digital world. What do I mean by this? Ever since I got mobile with my awesome Four-eyed Notebook, a realization dawned upon me: my presence in the digital world/cyberspace/blogosphere/web 2.0 dimension is getting bigger it’s getting too much for me to handle.

It all began when I sat down to setup my notebook: installing the OS, my suite of computer protection softwares, the core set of programs I need to get my work done, migrating my digital media collection and again installing all the media players and editors I need and have grown accustomed to using over the years.

At first I thought my notebook would end up almost the same as the way my desktop PC is, in terms of the kind of applications installed, the way the file system was organized etc. It turned out completely different. As of now, only half of the total number of programs and applications I had installed on my desktop PC have made it into my notebook’s hard drive.

Removing the e-junk & clutter

On the dekstop, I had OpenOffice and Microsoft Office XP running side by side. Now on my notebook, there’s only the MS Office 2007 edition handling my core productivity needs. OpenOffice was a good alternative but after giving it much thought and looking back on my work flow, I only installed it to export documents and spreadsheets into PDF files. But there are plenty of free online services that do just that so OpenOffice was left on my desktop which in effect now belongs to my younger sister.

Also on the desktop PC, I had eight (8) applications for doing the same thing: record/edit audio files from .AAC to .WMA formats. Now on my notebook, I only use two: Audacity and Nero’s WaveEditor. Saved me a lot of HD space and puts less strain on my notebook’s processor.

There are plenty of other stories, but the overall effect is that my notebook is lighter in terms of the amount of applications installed in it. It’s more responsive, runs much much faster and now my work flow has become much smoother because there’s only not more than two programs that could do a task that I want unlike in my desktop wherein I had to choose from a wide selection of apps which eats up time and creates serious compatibility issues with file formats, drives etc. In other words, my working environment on my notebook is less cluttered.

Extending it to my online world

Because of its positive effects on myself, it has greatly improved the output of my offline work: research, writing concept papers and project proposals, reports and other mostly non-blogging stuff, I’ve decided to do the same thing on my online world: my blogs and blogging, my social network accounts and the blogs and websites that I manage.

I plan to do the digital clean-up in four major areas:

Email, subscriptions and RSS

Email is at the core of my online world and everything revolves around in it. I use it to communicate, send and receive work information, keep vital information about all my online accounts and connections and the subscriptions I use as sources for my work. Unfortunately, my inbox is a mess. It currently has over 2000 messages that need to be tagged and archived to be organized so that it will no longer be a distraction to me.

Next would be doing an audit of the subscriptions and newsletters that arrive and nearly fill my inbox daily. I would unsubscribe from the ones that I really don’t read anymore or the ones that have lost value for me. The ones I’m going to keep would then be tagged and archived so that I could come back to them at a time I would set aside.

Lastly, would be my RSS reading list. An audit would be put in place, group them according to topic and look for new feeds that would be good for me.

Blogs and blogging

This would be the easiest part, me thinks. I’d just upgrade the blogs I maintain to the latest version of WordPress and check them for hacks and security vulnerabilities. Redesign a few maybe but I just want to be reacquainted with all of them. Plus, review and prune the long lists of draft posts in each and get things moving.

My social networking accounts

I actually plan to set aside a day in my work week to do nothing but immerse my self in all the social networking sites I have accounts in. Send messages to my contacts, clean up my public profiles, update the photos basically spread some social networking love around. First and biggest on my list is overhauling my Facebook account. Honestly, I’m not only getting bored of Facebook, I’m starting to be annoyed by it because of all the apps that I really don’t use and the email notices that drown me in an avalanche of information.

The blogs and websites I manage

Friends and colleagues are well aware of this and I would like to extend my apologies to all of you who have been waiting on me to upgrade your site, fix a few issues and update your designs. I figure once my digital world has been de-cluttered, cleaned up and organized, our collaboration would be a lot smoother.

So once again I’ve taken on another huge assignment. I would be prowling the web and your blogs for some tips and how-tos on how to accomplish these tasks. If you have them, do give me the heads up so that I could learn from you and perhaps build on what you’ve started, it would be awesome. Blogging and documenting this process would be a good and fun exercise as well. Wish me luck, I’m going to need it.

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