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Let’s deal with some real-life digital frustrations!

Have you felt (or even said out loud) any of these in the past month:

“I am so busy but I never feel like I get anything done!”

“How did I forget to renew my license plates/ domain name/ digital subscription?!”

“That’s it. Give me back my flip phone and a typewriter!”

“NOPE.”

Soooo, what can be done…

First of all, take solace- YOU ARE NOT ALONE in this feeling of being buried by emails, time on screen and general digital fatigue. Back in the day, I used to feel a lot better after cleaning off my desk, organizing my inbox, desk drawers, and bookshelves. Now it’s not so easy because there so much STUFF out there, in cyber land, demanding our attention.

Set aside one afternoon to do the following things, and don’t let yourself go down a rabbit hole! In other words, close the Pinterest tab, the Facebook tab, Log out of Instagram if you can for at least 2 HOURS and dedicate some time to making your digital life a little less scary!

1. Online Password Manager

I recommend this to ALL of my clients and am amazed how few people have heard about these services. 1Password and LastPass are just two Password Managers that have helped loads of people keep passwords secure and create unique, complex passwords for each site logged into, and tests your online password security as you work. Here’s a great article by Neil Rubenking of PC World on the variety of options available to consumers today: The Best Password Managers of 2017

I won’t even go into how important it is to use passwords correctly as I am BORED talking about that subject! But let’s just say it’s time for you to get organized in this most crucial part of your digital life. TODAY.

2. Update your Credit Card on file

Remember that new Credit Card you got with the chip in it, so secure, yay! Did you remember to contact all of the accounts where you might have a credit card # stored for auto renewal or auto payments such as:

  • Health insurance premiums
  • Your website Domain registration
  • Your license plate renewals
  • Digital subscriptions to crucial software you use every day (email, website hosting, design software, industry software, etc.)

Nothing more upsetting than having to backtrack and try to fix these problems after the fact! You probably received an email from each account at the beginning of the year reminding you to do this. That email that you never read.

3. Cloud Storage

If you aren’t already using Dropbox, Google Drive, iDrive or one of the myriad cloud storage options for backing up photos, documents, and email then you might feel a bit overwhelmed when trying to retrieve a file. But even if you have one of these in place, you have to stay on top of it and designate folders and subfolders and prioritize your DIGITAL STUFF.

I use a combination of some of these services and it has increased my productivity immensely. Dedicate some time to setting it up with a structure that is easy to follow and you’ll be sooo happy that you did! Check out this article by Michael Muchmore and Jill Duffy of PC Mag which compares online cloud storage services for you: The Best Cloud Storage Providers and File-Syncing Services for 2017

4. Separate Social Media- Work and Personal

This can be tricky, but if you do it right it can also be a great stress-reducer. Having a designated place for home-related items and work-related items is essential, but the lines often get blurred online. I work from home and run two businesses, one of which is more of a lifestyle business so I often blog about my world and personal life (Read here). But I set up clear boundaries which are important.

Recently I divided up my social media accounts between my businesses and personal life. It has helped me so much to reduce stress and feel like I was in charge of these accounts and not the other way around!

For my web design business I focus primarily on:

  • Facebook Business Page 1
  • Linked In
  • Twitter

For my online e-commerce biz I focus on:

  • Facebook Business Page 2
  • Instagram

For my personal life I focus on:

  • a Personal (private) Instagram account (that’s it- just one account!)

I got rid of my “personal” Facebook page for many reasons*, but primarily my daughter hasn’t had one in years and we prefer to stay in touch via Instagram, Face Time and phone calls. It wasn’t so much a “Quitting Facebook” totally, but rather a re-direct of where and how I spend my time on the Social Media behemoth we all love/hate. You can read about that decision here: Quitting Facebook and a Week of Quiet.

*NOTE: You must have a “personal” Facebook page to have business pages, so I created a minimal profile and accept no friend requests. 

5. Email

We all know that there are thousands of ways to organize your emails and I am not here to dispense that advice. But I have found one tip that has brought me relief:

STOP checking your email constantly.

That’s it! Set aside time each day and dedicate that time solely to answering email. I do this first thing in the morning, midday and at the close of business now and am greatly relieved. My clients know that if they have a web emergency they can text me. No one has abused that and my email is no longer overwhelming me.

So there you go!

Hopefully acting on a few of these areas will help relieve stress in your digital life! And if you’re still feeling stressed at work, plug in your earbuds and listen to the sweet sounds of spring while watching this relaxing video of bees in my crabapple tree in spring!