Lego worker cleaning dirt

I am sitting at my desk looking at my professional space, office, computer, bookshelf, and files and see things that need some cleaning. It’s March, we just sprung our clocks ahead, so I decided to do some “Spring Cleaning”.

I have to admit, I feel better and am more productive that it is done. Now, I need to keep it in good shape and reap the benefits.

Look at your space. What has been holding you back and what would be the impact if you took care of some of those nagging items?

Here are my actions and possible considerations.

What frustrates you the most about your computer? For me it is my email. It interrupts me, takes me off task, and refocuses my attention. My goal was to streamline my process for dealing with email. Minimal time, minimal touches of an email, and the ability to find threads and references easily. What did I do?
– Reviewed my folder system, making sure it is easy for me to find reference emails
– Unsubscribed from any source I rarely read.
– Turned off notifications. All the beeps, banners, and numbers informing me how many unread emails await me are gone.
– Created rules for emails i.e., a rule for emails I know I will read later automatically go to a read folder. It takes them out of my “action” inbox.
– I am working on setting times each day to deal with my email. Stop being interrupt driven and be more intentional. That is a work in progress.

Computer Security
My next concern was my computer security. How is yours? I reassessed my home network. How is my firewall configured, malware, security software, passwords, VPN, and other network devices? I am happy to say I was in pretty good shape.

As a business owner I have cyber insurance, which provided me with some very good guidance on my requirements. If you are a on a government contract you must meet the cyber security requirement outlined in NIST Special Publication 800-171. Some easy light reading for your nightstand.

If you know a good company that affordably assists small businesses with network, cyber security, and meeting NIST 800 requirements at small business prices, please pass it along in the comments section.

Data Backup
The final task on my computer was my data security. How is your data backed up? If your computer crashed, would you recover all your data and how long would it take? I was backed up to a local hard drive and the cloud. My local drive is extinct and no longer being supported. After significant research I am backed up to two cloud sites. For a very reasonable cost, I have two sites with 10TB each of space backing up our network. For me, well worth the peace of mind. Here is one resource to get you started on your research.

Physical Space
I found this task, once complete very satisfying. All those small piles are gone, old files shredded, and I started digitizing records. I am working on being a lot more digital. This is also a work in progress. I still have paper files and will never be 100% digital. However, I am trying to be more digital moving forward.

I added something to my workspace to make me happy. On my computer I now have a background that makes me smile every time my computer comes to life.

If you are looking for a resource to support you in your quest for organization and productivity, look at David Allen’s, GTD organization. GTD stands for Getting Things Done. He has a book, podcast, blog, and other resources.

Take these normal seasonal breaks as a time to reflect on what is going well.
– What do you need to keep doing?
– What do you need to stop doing?
– What do you need to start doing?

Spring ahead to a new season of productivity!