Lean 30: 14 – Managing Accounts and Documents

Pamela Chan, BCFamily.ca/Editorial

Lean 30 : 30 days of keeping it lean and old school online. More

Maybe it’s because the year end is approaching. Or maybe it’s because my husband keeps asking me to delete photos from our tablet.  Whatever the reason, I’m jumping all over the digital map shedding digital weight in my files and thinking about all types of documents and records that I manage. It’s not an easy job and there are many challenges.


I have way too many E-mails in my Inbox.

Yikes! I have way too many e-mails in my Yahoo account. I will not embarrass myself by admitting how large my inbox is because my other online accounts are just as large. It’s time to search for a specific sender and delete 100s (hopefully 1,000s) of e-mails.  On my Hotmail account it’s much easier as there is a scrub function.  This is a job that I will have to hack away at day, after day after day.  Now if only I would delete or file away messages when they come in.  The problem is that many junk messages come in as well.  This is where the “send all messages from this sender to the trash can in the future” function works well.


I’m not sure that my selection of board topics makes sense

My Pinterest board categories are so random. TED/PechaKucha?  I mean really?  That’s so niche.  I need to create better topics.  Then again they work for me even though they might not be the best list of categories or make any sense. Scratch that idea.


My Twitter follow/follower ratio on my main account is completely out of balance.

I keep saying I need to improve my lists before I add more people but I can’t seem to decide on useful categories for the lists. The thought of going back retroactively to manually add people to my list is overwhelming and never makes my To Do list.  I need to make lists of the people I’m following on Twitter so I can regain control of my homepage.  It’s simply swamped with tweets. Many of them are from websites and bloggers pushing out content.  We all do it but I’m also looking for the conversations in the midst of the hard sells. They can get lost.

I follow people who don’t follow back which eats up follow/follower ratio real estate.

I’m also following accounts that don’t follow back even though the owners initially reached out to me.  It’s time to start deleting!

I’m not following back followers.

There are many accounts following me that I’m not following back. (This goes back to the list problem.) When people engage with me I can check to make sure I’m following them. Otherwise I don’t think they’ll really care if I’m not seeing their content.  If they’re not engaging with me, most likely I’m not on their radar.  If they follow and then unfollow in a few days, without engaging with me,  because I didn’t jump on the follow button – well they weren’t very serious about connecting, were they?

Digital Photos

I need to deal with my digital photos

I need to delete photos. I need to back up photos. I need to… photos!  What a nightmare. This year I’ve tried to push all of my photos over as copies to Google+  Correction – I’m still doing this task. I’m half way through 2014 and have 3 years to cover on my lap top.  If Google+ ever goes down in a serious way I will be in trouble. I don’t want to think about this.  But at least I’m backing up my photos and that’s a start.

Last year I had a computer specialist in a local business back up our hard drive before work was done on our computer.  Then the computer died, we uploaded the copy and found that a whole year of photos and videos from the first year of our twins’ lives was gone.  I asked my husband to go to another part of the house while I hit the roof (almost literally).

Backing up photos is a serious challenge.  I could use USB sticks but my files take up a lot memory. Did you know that portable, external hard drives are very sensitive? If you jostle one or drop it you will not be able to fix it.  It’s unfixable.  I was surprised to find out that the two people I know who take the most photos don’t seem to have a system. (Based on what they told me.)  Backing up to CDs doesn’t seem to be a wise option either because that technology could go out of date and CDs can be damaged easily.  The saga continues.


My homepage is a mess.

No, I’m not going to delete my account.  I don’t share demographic or personal/professional information that would be of interest to nosy strangers – including potential employers.  I’m realistic about privacy expectations.

No, I’m not going to do a New Years Cull of my Friends list.  I don’t mix personal and professional goals together on my personal Facebook page.  The Unfriend/block functions should be used after careful consideration.

My main problem is that my homepage doesn’t function well. Facebook filters into it what their computer algorithm thinks I need.  I can imagine a completely different Facebook where information is organized and accessed in much more useful ways.


I need to be vigilant about only following people who engage with me on Tumblr.

I have two Tumblr accounts.  One is connected to BCfamily.ca and suffers from an identity and usage crisis, so it doesn’t get used very much. On my personal Tumblr account I recently deleted connections to all profiles that don’t follow my account.  The exceptions would be popular sites that I really like.  Engagement matters on Tumblr.  I follow enough sites (about fashion, interior design etc.) and don’t have to worry about finding content.

My Christmas card list

I receive a lot of flack for sending out Christmas cards.  With increased costs and less cards coming in, it’s hard to defend my habit.

I receive a lot of grief about my Christmas card habit. Every year I explain that I enjoy sending and receiving Christmas cards.  It’s not a lot of money to spend once a year.  All of my explanations fall on closed ears.

Why do you do it?  It’s too expensive? Nobody sends you cards anymore.  Oh yeh, Christy Clarke sent you one. That doesn’t count. Bla, bla, bla.

I shortened and changed my list significantly over the years. I agree – there comes a time when it just doesn’t make sense to send a card to someone who hardly ever – if ever – sends a card and doesn’t even bother to contact you anymore to share basic news on topics such as an engagement, marriage or the arrival of a baby.  No, I’m not going to delete elderly relatives and old friends who’ve been a great support to me over the years.


I need to ensure that I’m connecting online with the people I’m meeting in person.

I hardly manage this site at all.  It’s pretty low maintenance.  My main concern is to keep my profile up-to-date and to try to make contact with people I know in the community.  When I meet new people at conferences, I should be more diligent about telling them on the spot that I will send a connect request on LinkedIn.  LinkedIn is not my personal social media account. It’s my electronic version of the old business card collection. When I make a decision to connect with someone I pretty much stick to it. So there will be no culling from this list.

My hard files

So many documents. So little time.

Papers.  Clippings.  Old files.  Documents.  Old reports.  I can’t even describe the full array of documents that I have in file boxes in my home.  Most of this content is in my studio and – yes – I do have to go through it this year.  It’s a massive job and the challenge slowly builds every day as more documents come into the house.  I need to have a more vigilant system to deal with what comes in so that I’m not saving too much. While at the same time I need to greatly reduce and organize what I have.  The most effective way to deal with this problem is on the days when I feel very cross about this issue.  That’s when I can be very clear about what I want to keep and what’s going to fly into the garbage bag.

My CDs and Cassette tapes

They’re becoming antiques but I can’t let them go.

Yes, what’s that second item? I have a shoe box or two of purchased and mixed tapes.  They’re cultural artifacts. My cassette player doesn’t work very well but I’m not getting rid of them. I know I should put my favourite songs from my CDs into digital format and junk them all but quite frankly I’m too lazy.  I still like popping CDs into the car stereo so that my five year olds can listen to different types of music. It works for me so I don’t care if I look like a person who’s hopelessly old fashioned. At any rate, I prefer the term “retro”.

How are you coping with digital data and data artifacts?  Is your home sleek, organized and under control or are you snowed under? (I feel like I’m somewhere in between.) Do you have any tips or messages of hope to share?

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