Simplify Your Life

As time goes by we all need to simplify things just a little. Instead of taking on one big project at a time, I find it easier to make a little progress over several non-urgent projects. This method holds my interest a bit longer and allows me to do a little at a time.

EMAILS
I’ve synched my email accounts so everything goes to one account. The most common emails I get week after week are filtered into folders and one look tells me if I have something to read. Most of them are archived for later.

Costco – promotional emails go straight to the Costco folder. I use these to look up pricing for larger purchases ONLY.

Mileage – I email myself mileage information from the gas pump and archive those for the day I can sit down and figure out my mpg numbers

Blog – comments and notifications go to one folder so I can deal with those just once a day. I love getting comments and responding to questions and now they don’t get lost in my in box.

Another side project is tagging. I love Gmail because you can assign one email to multiple folders without copying the email. So the confirmation for my new camera lens goes into Orders in case I have a problem and need to contact the seller, and into Work Related so I can track these expenses. Easy as pie.

NOTES
I take a lot of notes. Daily. Hourly. On so many random subjects it’s impossible to summarize. So I’m using the free version of EverNote to capture everything in one place. When I read an amazing blog post or get a link to a site I want to check out: it all goes into EverNote.

Sometimes I want to do something at home when I’m at work and vice versa. Again, email comes in handy because I can shoot myself a reminder to ‘scrub dog pool for summer’ or ‘scan April spending logs.’

I do keep a running to do list that I write out by hand on scrap paper. It’s so much easier than typing some times and I like keeping

WEBSITES
There are so many good sites out there. Blogs, businesses, news sites… how can you possibly keep track of them all? First I use the site All My Faves which gives you the top 8-15 sites in a number of categories like Money, Sports, News, Maps, Videos, Weather, Community and a lot more.

But for sites that I like to read from regularly I found an easier way: my Google Reader. This tool works with my email and lets me read all the sites I subscribe to on one page. No more flipping around the internet to find out if someone updated. Right now I have 15 subscriptions and I only includes the ones that I am interested in reading every day. They cover a wide range of topics: finance, food, news, business, marketing, travel…

If there’s a site that isn’t updated or that I don’t read frequently I’ll add it to my bookmarks. Some examples include photography sites with inspiring albums, friends who no longer blog, and sites I use for reference or inspiration.

SCANNING
Some day, when paper is obsolete, I’ll never have to worry about archiving bills and paperwork again. Until that day I am slowly keeping up with my current files, usually just one day a month and even more slowly scanning older bills to digital and backing them up. I need to research how long I must keep all this paper but once I know it’s safe to toss the shredding party begins.

ELECTRONIC FILES
If you’ve ever had to back up a computer quickly you’ll know how easy it is to just throw files together. I’ve done it thrice and it never gets easier. As a result I have countless unorganized files, CDs and yes, even floppy discs, that need to be sorted out.

Common sense says there is nothing remotely of value on those floppy drives but my curiousity must be satisfied! I’m hoping to locate at least one high school English paper by which to torture myself by.

What I’m still working on:
streamlining my blog categories and re-tagging posts
revamping my blogroll (If you’d like me to consider featuring your blog please leave a comment!)
sorting my digital pictures by year and event and backing up

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One thought on “Simplify Your Life

  1. Thank you for this list! I use google reader and gmail…but can get stumped on the labels I should assign items. Your list helped me out.

    I will now be giving Evernote a try since you use it.

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