02 Jan 2016

New Year’s Resolution: Stay Organized

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Many things can accumulate over a full year—especially emails and files littering your work space. Ditch all of that clutter and gain more peace of mind in the New Year by taking some time to organize your inbox and computer!

Last month, we wrote about the benefits of a paperless office, including shedding the burden of carrying around the new overly-voluminous bankruptcy forms. However, even if you keep most of your files digital, you still need a strong organization system in place.

Check out some tips to organize your inbox and computer for the New Year, below!

Organize Your Inbox

A good rule of thumb when organizing your inbox is to sort emails in a way that makes sense for your practice. For example, sorting emails by case or project—similar to how you might file your computer or paper documents—is a good way to keep track of important items.

Check out some tips to organize your inbox, below:

  1. Move emails from your inbox into folders. If you have numerous emails in your inbox that don’t require any action and are just sitting there, they are only clouding your focus and hindering your productivity. Move emails into folders or delete them to get them out of your work space. We recommend that you add folders to the root folder in your Outlook mailbox, or the folder at the top of your folder list (as shown in the screenshot below), so that you don’t slow down your email by piling information under the Inbox folder. To add a new folder, right click on the root folder and select “New Folder.”
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  2. Get rid of deleted and junk emails. Holding on to emails that you don’t need—especially ones that you have previously deleted or are in your Junk folder—only causes your email server to run slower with their added weight. Sort through your Deleted and Junk folders and get rid of items that you don’t need.
  3. Delete repetitive email. Repetitive mail such as promotional emails that you don’t read or need after the fact can also make your email server run slower if you allow them to pile up. Clean up these emails in a snap by searching your email items by subject or sender.
  4. Clean up conversations. Long email chains between multiple people in your office can be unavoidable at times, but that doesn’t mean you have to let these emails clog up your folders or inbox. The last email that you receive or send in an email conversation usually contains all of the previous emails, so you can delete all of the emails except for the latest in the chain to free up space.
  5. Archive or delete old items. While it may be necessary for filing purposes to hold onto emails from long-resolved cases or projects, it can be helpful to go through these items to see if any emails can be deleted or archived. To manually archive emails, check out these instructions for Outlook and Gmail.
  6. Create rules to automate your inbox organization. Both Outlook and Gmail allow you to create rules based on sender, subject line, or countless other parameters to move or delete emails. Set up these rules so that you don’t have to waste time with certain types of emails you receive on a regular basis. Check out instructions to set up rules for Outlook and Gmail.

 Organize Your Computer Files

There are many benefits to decluttering the programs and files on your computer, including faster operating speeds and less likelihood of crashes.

Check out some tips to clean up your computer, below:

  1. Organize documents into folders. If you have multiple or many documents floating freely on your Desktop, My Documents or Downloads folders, organize these documents into folders so that you can more easily locate these files for future reference.
  2. Clear your cache. Whenever you browse the Internet, your computer stores information from your browsing history, which can slow your browsing speeds. A good rule of thumb is to clear your cache every 3-4 months. To clear your cache,  search  your browser’s “Help” menu for “clear cache” and follow the instructions.
  3. Delete unwanted programs. If you have programs that you no longer use on your computer, you can quickly and easily get rid of them for a faster running computer. If you are not sure of which programs that you need to keep or can remove, please contact the Hardware Support Center at hardware@bmsadvantage.com or 800-634-7734.
    1. Windows users: To delete old or unused programs, click on the Windows Start button in the bottom left corner of your screen, then navigate to Settings, then select Control Panel. On the Control Panel screen, go to “Add/Remove Programs,” and uninstall all of the old or unused programs on your hard drive.
    2. Mac users: To delete old or unused programs, select the Applications folder in Finder and move all of the old or unused programs to the trash. Then empty the trash to delete.
  4. Empty your Recycle Bin. Every time you delete a file on your computer, it doesn’t permanently delete it. It instead sends the file to your Recycle Bin (or Trash on a Mac) in case you deleted it in error and need to find it later. Regularly sorting through your Recycle Bin and permanently deleting items you do not need is a good way to keep your computer from being weighed down by unnecessary files.