These days, everyone and everything is going digital. While the transition can be challenging for some, others that have grown up with technology find it easy to adapt to these changes. Either way, transitioning to a more digital life can actually be quite beneficial.
Some people think that the obsession with all things digital is bad for our physical and mental health as it keeps us from being as physically active and going out in the world to have face-to-face interactions. And while they aren’t entirely wrong, there are healthy ways to interact with and make use of the digital world, especially when it comes to decluttering our lives.
Computers and other digital storage devices allow us to consolidate a lot of the physical files and other things like photos and notebooks that we keep in our homes. Converting these types of physical items into digital data not only makes it easier for us to keep track of them but also enables us to live in more clean and organized spaces.
How Storing Data Digitally Can Benefit Our Lives
The recent trend of living simpler, downsized lives is not just a fad. There is a reason shows like Tidying Up with Marie Kondo have become so popular. Decluttering our homes and releasing our hold on physical, material items is not only more sustainable and better for the environment, but it’s better for our physical and mental health as well.
Often, one of the messiest spaces in a home is where physical paperwork, photographs, and other important files are stored. Over the years, these things add up until one day, we have boxes or closets or storage cabinets full of unsorted files. We tell ourselves that we’ll get to it one day, but we never usually do. However, if you set the time aside to finally go through all of those files and convert them to digital, you’d be amazed at how much better you’ll feel.
Even the healthcare industry is jumping on this trend by using telehealth services and asking patients to upload and store all of their information digitally on things like patient portals to make it easier to keep track of everything. Sorting through all of your medical files and uploading them to your computer ensures their safety and can help you access them should your doctor need information about your past medical history.
Decluttering Your Life and Converting Everything to Digital
Creating a backup of your important files is not only useful for decluttering your home, but it also ensures their safety should something happen. Paper files and physical photographs can easily become damaged or get lost, but digital files will always be right where you left them—so long as you back them up properly and keep them secure.
To start, you’ll need to sort through everything to decide what you should keep and what can be thrown out. After that, you should organize all of your files into categorized piles, such as medical documents, car documents, financial documents, photographs, etc.—whatever categories make the most sense for you. Then you can create folders on your computer with the names of those categories that you will upload the files into.
Next, start going through each pile, scanning the files one by one, and then move them to the designated folder on your computer. Once all of your files are uploaded, you will need to decide how to back them up, such as on an external hard drive, a flash drive, or in Cloud storage. Whichever method you choose, just make sure they are secure. Cybersecurity is essential to protect your data from hackers and cybercriminals. It’s estimated that by 2023, the global cost of cybercrime will reach $5 trillion. To avoid being victimized, set up secure networks, two-factor authentication, and use a VPN when necessary.
Clean-up Your Digital Space
Even after you’ve decluttered your home and converted all your physical files to digital, it’s important to regularly go through and “cleanse” your digital space. Just as our homes need regular cleaning, so do our computers and phones. You can do this by deleting old apps and files you don’t use, tidying up your desktop screen and moving things into folders, and sorting through your tabs.
It’s also important to regularly back up your computer and any important information you have stored. Some computer systems enable you to set this up it happens automatically, like Apple’s Time Machine Application. However, if you don’t have a system that does this, you will need to do it manually by copying any new files and folders over to an external hard drive or flash drive.
Just as it takes time to build good eating and exercise habits, it also takes time to build good decluttering and data storage habits. If you only do it once and don’t keep up with it regularly, it won’t do you any good. But if you can keep up with it, it can give you peace of mind and help you live a happier, more organized life. Try setting a monthly or quarterly reminder. At the end of each month or quarter, scan any new physical files you’ve accumulated onto your computer, declutter your digital workspace, and back everything up to ensure nothing gets lost if something goes wrong.