Virtual Spring Cleaning: Tips for Organization in an Online Environment

Spring has sprung, and it’s about time to clear the dust bunnies out and open up the windows! However, as much of the world has spent their time working and going to school virtually for the past year, I figured it would be helpful for a blog featuring the best tips for online organization.

In this article, I’ll share the best tips I have for organizing your email, keeping track of your digital files, opening up space on your computer and phone, and ways to keep virtual learning interesting.

Organize your Gmail

The first step to organization is opening up space for everything! To do this, create labels to separate emails into. Create labels that make sense for you. These can include separate labels for work, school, and activities, or you can break it down further.

Personally, I have labels for:

  • Housing
  • Campus Life
  • Work – Career Development
  • Work – Leasing Agent
  • Activities – The Wheel
  • Activities – Choir
  • Classes
  • Financial Aid
  • Honors
  • Miscellaneous

To make it more fun, you can always change the color of these labels as well.

Clear out your email

Once you have created space for all your important emails to go, you may begin the sorting process. You can take many different approaches, but this is what I would do:

  1. Go to your inbox. Start deleting emails that are no longer relevant  and important.
  2. Once you are at a point where you are ready to begin sorting, select all the emails that you intend  to save for a certain label. You can sort these into that label.
  3. Repeat this process for all of your emails until they are all sorted.
  4. If you find  you need a new label for certain emails, create one!
  5. As new emails come into your inbox, deal with them and then sort them into their appropriate label. I find it easy to keep emails that I haven’t dealt with in my inbox as a sign that I need to reply to them or deal with them.
  6. Within each label, star emails that are important as a reminder to not delete them.
  7. Every couple of weeks, go through your labels and delete emails that are no longer important or relevant.
  8. Don’t forget to clear your trash!

Keeping track of digital files

When it comes to keeping track of digital files, Google Drive is an especially great tool. Much like creating labels in your email, you can create folders in Google Drive to sort your documents into. You can sort any way you like, but I find, as a college student, that having a folder for each of my classes is incredibly helpful.

I name each folder as such: (COMM 3070 – Gender & Rhetoric; or ENGL 2202 – Lit Theory). I also select a color that speaks to me for each folder. As I create new documents, I label them as such: (COMM 3070 – NINA Rough Draft) so that I can easily sort them into their folders later.

Once I complete an assignment and turn in it, I sort it into its proper folder. So, when I go to my Google Drive, the only assignments I have yet to complete will show up at the bottom, below an alphabetical list of my folders. This makes your work-in-progress documents and projects much easier to access.

Two more tips for better organization within Google Drive include creating folders within your folders, to separate out different projects, creating folders for miscellaneous things or resumes and cover letters, so you don’t lose track of them.

Open up space by deleting photos

If you take a lot of pictures but want to save storage space on your laptop or phone, download Google Photos! This app will back up all your photos to the cloud, so you can delete them off your devices.

I keep my favorite photos and important photos on my phone, and delete the rest after I know that Google Photos has backed up the rest of them.

Cleaning up your Social Media

Click HERE to go to an article I wrote about keeping your social media professional!

Fun ways to keep digital learning interesting

Another way you can work on cleaning up virtually is to find fun ways to keep digital learning interesting! Below are some fun ideas for you to get started:

  • Switch up your screensaver each month
  • Add profile photos to your student account; update them every so often
  • Switch out your background every so often
  • Switch from light to dark mode or vice versa to change it up!
By Mandy Hay
Mandy Hay Career Assistant Mandy Hay