15 Oct Virtual clutter aka online pollution
Did you know that every hour, 10 billion emails are being sent around the world? Yes, life has become so much easier and faster with the internet, email and cloud services, online communication and bill paying. We have less paper flying around, can research documents by typing their name in the search bar of our computer, find all the information we need on google and store as many files as we want. Everything is virtual, or in other words not physically existing and hence causing no clutter or damage to the planet.
Wait a minute, is that true?
Let’s check some facts on the carbon footprint of those 10 billion emails. What if I told you that every email runs on average through 15,000 km of cables to arrive at destination? That an email with a 1 MB attachment consumes as much as a 25W light bulb during one hour? That data centers in Switzerland consume as much electricity as the canton of Neuchâtel? That 78% of all incoming mails are spams that cause around 20 million tons of CO2 every year? And the list goes on. In reality, the online world has a huge carbon footprint and we contribute to it every time we send an email, store a document or research information.
And not only that. We believe that emails and computer desktops banish all the admin and paper clutter. Yet in reality, we can feel as much overwhelmed by online than by offline or physical clutter. We can’t touch it, but we can see the apps and folders piling up, we lose control over our filing systems, lose time looking for information or retrieve passwords, keep offline duplicates of online invoices to be safe, feel puzzled with the new time saving apps being promoted and are spammed by useless newsletters. We spend much more time on our emails and computer admin as we think, if you don’t believe me keep a time log!
Here a couple of online organizing and energy saving tips:
- Manage your emails like your physical mail: check your inbox every day at a certain time, but avoid being continuously distracted by your inbox by uninstalling pop-ups.
- Decide on the next step of the e-mail right when you open it (to do, calendar input, archive etc.). Do not read it twice.
- Create the same archives and filing system online than offline. This will save you a tremendous amount of time, despite the search function on your computer.
- Label your files properly, use descriptive names and avoid titles like “miscellaneous”.
- Reduce the size of your inbox. 5,000 unread items can be as frustrating to see every morning as a cluttered closet. Erase them all, and keep the inbox clean.
- Unsubscribe from all the newsletters, promotional emails and spams you do not actually read. Avoid the clutter before it comes in.
- Avoid writing unnecessary emails, minimize the numbers of recipients and size of attachments.
- Reduce the amount of items stored in your bin, spam inbox, archives and cloud services. They all eat up energy.
- Keep your device desktops clean, just like your kitchen counter.
- Back up your most important files on a hard-drive.
- Keep your passwords in a safe place, or make sure you remember them all.
- Don’t be afraid to look for life changing tools and apps but use technology wisely. For instance, use Evernote for your to-do lists but make sure you don’t duplicate your lists and end up getting confused. Chose a system and stick to it.
Now go and tame your online clutter, it’s worth it :-).
If you live in Geneva/Switzerland and want to know more about paper management and personal admin, why don’t you sign up for our next workshop?
November 27th: Paper Management – simple and efficient
Location: SoHappy, Rue de Carouge 28, 1205 Geneva
Price: 50 CHF per workshop
Register at: info(a)organizing-geneva.com
Picture: By Pixabay