Monday, May 11, 2015

Are You A Digital Hoarder?

Spring cleaning is in the air.  Kudos if you have cleaned out a closet, de-cluttered a room, or tackled those dust bunnies.  But what about your digital hoard? Do you zealously bookmark or favorite interesting blog posts and online articles that you promise yourself you'll read later (outside of work)?

When was the last time you cleared out your Dropbox, Evernote, Twitter favorites, browser bookmarks, or Pocket (formerly Read It Later) accounts?

                   Audrey Horne from "Twin Peaks" has seen your digital hoard, and it's not pretty.

Before you start feeling defensive, I'll share that I have a Twitter account with over 6,000 (or is it 9,000?) favorited tweets, as well as two different Evernote accounts. However, it is a satisfying feeling to eliminate your digital detritus, even if it is only a bit at a time. Think of it as feng shui for the cloud.


1.  Go in and delete or tag as much as you can in one exhaustive streak, then continue to stockpile digital items on a daily basis until you feel the urge to "clean" again.

2.  Organize (tag) and clean a little at a time as you go.
This is probably the easiest and most realistic option.  Even if you use a rudimentary tagging system such as work and personal, at least everything won't be clumped together.

3.  Start over with a new account, or accounts.
How to delete your..

4. Pay money for premium space. Evernote, Dropbox, and Pocket all have premium options.

5.  Reduce the amount of items you favorite or bookmark on a regular basis. This may be the most difficult option of all. 

Personally, part of the reason I bookmark web pages, videos and other items is "just in case" I need them again. But to be perfectly honest, I only ever go back and look up maybe 10% of these bookmarked items...often, more like 5%.  Yet, if I see something interesting online while at work and don't bookmark it for later, I feel...anxious.  After all...
  • What if I need it?
  • What if it turns out to be life-changing information?
  • What if I could save money and time by reading/watching it, or be better informed than before?

If I bookmark it, I can instantly forget it and move on to the next thing, without those niggling doubts in my brain.

What about you? How do you manage information overload?

Yvonne Mulhern is a board member of TSMRI. She currently uses Dropbox, Evernote, Google Drive, and Twitter favorites.

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