Last week, Besty Decillis posted on Facebook that there were only 100 days until Christmas.
I’m not sure how that happened. Before you know it, the end of the year will be here.
What have you accomplished?
Neither one of those were on our list a year ago, but were in response this year to what you all told us you wanted/needed.
It’s one thing to craft a plan and forget about it. It’s another to craft it, execute it, and let it evolve with the changes that affect your business (or your client’s businesses).
One of the things that has helped us evolve our own planning is a regimented approach to digital declutter.
Good intentions and good planning just don’t take the place of consistent work and regular check-ins.
It’s impossible to listen to the needs of your audiences, shift due to external factors, and evolve your plan if your digital life is a mess.
So let’s start with one of the biggest and baddest places to start the digital declutter process: email.
Digital Declutter #1: Email
It feels like email subscriptions breed in our inboxes.
You unsubscribe from one, and a dozen more start arriving every day. It’s like rabbits! And it’s infuriating.
But there are solutions.
It helps you organize and filter your email, so you only have to see things that are actually important.
And it learns your behavior over time and will bring things to your attention when it thinks it’s important.
It is AMAZING.
If you’re not ready for a helpful robot looking at your email and making choices about it, then you can do some manual sorting, organizing, and filtering.
Gmail has pretty awesome options for taking control of the madness, and it’s good practice to regularly unsubscribe from any newsletters you don’t actually read or care about.
Just like Marie Kondo says, if you see a sender in your inbox that doesn’t spark some level of joy—don’t let it into your main inbox.
Unless, of course, it’s clients, suppliers, or colleagues. If your clients, suppliers, or colleagues don’t spark joy…well, that’s a topic for another day.
One trick is to set a filter in the Google settings to move emails with an “unsubscribe” link in them to a folder called “Optional.”
The trick originally came from the book Less Doing More Living, and it’s an inbox saver.
Digital Declutter #2: Social Media
Now that we have your inbox decluttered, let’s look at social media.
This doesn’t have to be a huge chore, but open your different profile pages and do a quick check to make sure that all of your information is accurate and up-to-date, and that any “pinned” content is current.
Make sure you have a current photo (not one that is several years old) and that your bio is updated.
Several years ago, I spoke at BlogWorld (which no longer exists, but it was a huge thing back in the day).
Danny Brown and I were standing in our breakout session room when a woman came up to introduce herself.
Even though she gave us her name and company, neither one of us could place her.
It took several hours before we realized it was someone we DID know, but the photo she used on social media was at least 20 years old.
I’ve always remembered that interaction because it’s so off-putting and, while you may really like your photo from 20 years ago—or even a year ago—it doesn’t do you any favors today.
Digital Declutter #3: Data and Analytics
With email and social handled, let’s talk about your data and analytics.
A lot of communicators track data for the sake of tracking data (come on, you know it’s true!) so making sure that you are actually getting what you want out of your tracking data by asking two questions courtesy of our friends at Trust Insights:
- Is this information you can take action on?
- Is the information helping you reach your goal?
Ask yourself if every metric you’re tracking either something that allows you to change your behavior effectively or bring you closer to your goals.
You may know, based on your analytics, that most of your users come from major metropolitan areas, but is that information useful when it comes to serving your clients, creating your content and developing your products and services?
The answer may be yes or no, but the point is to have the answer so any information you have on your dashboard or monthly report is useful.
Taking the example a step further, if one of your company goals is to increase your readership in major metropolitan areas, that becomes critical knowledge.
But if the location of your readers doesn’t matter to any of your goals, it doesn’t need to be closely tracked—or tracked at all.
Decisions about decluttering your analytics will probably require a meeting or two, but a clean, simple dashboard, and minimal, but hyper-useful reports make it VERY worthwhile.
Digital Declutter #4: Credit
Finally: credit cards. I love this one.
Or rather, I loved this one after I kicked myself for not doing it earlier.
It’s really easy to sign up for things.
Google even remembers your payment information, which makes it far too easy to buy things, especially from your phone.
There are free trials, services you no longer use, services you thought you would use, and the list goes on.
So, next time you’re at your desk and have a spare few minutes, open your most recent credit card statement and review all of the charges.
(People who do this every month—I salute you! Most of us are not you.)
Are you still actively using everything that you are paying for? I’ll bet you’re not, and there are some recurring fees you can live without.
Go through the process and cancel your old out-of-date, and unneeded subscriptions and be amazed at how much money you’ll save.
Also, one more little trick.
If you are a Hulu and Spotify user, you can bundle them both and pay one fee versus two.
Find other instances like that and save yourself some cash every month.
As I like to say around here:
Get rid of it! Mama needs some new shoes!
What’s Your Digital Declutter Plan?
And now it’s your turn. I want you to brag about your digital decluttering process.
Let’s hear it!