Summer seems to be finally on its way, a sign of brighter days ahead. Not only is this one of the most opportunistic times of the year, but this also makes for the perfect time to do a (digital) spring cleaning.
Perhaps you’ve taken the time, while working from home no less, to clean out your closet or de-clutter your home by throwing out unwanted furniture or downsizing on kitchen supplies.
Your physical space seems much more organized, but what about your digital space? How is your hard drive looking? Most probably, if you’re like me and thousands of other daily computer users, your device could use some tidying too.
With that, it’s time to walk each of you through steps towards a more organized computer & workspace, which will help you feel as organized as you did when you tidied your home.
Why You Should Spring Clean Your Computer
Tidying your computer might seem like a tedious task on the surface, but think about it deeply for just a second: how much faster would your computer be if you gave it a digital (spring) cleaning from time to time? How much more organized will you feel?
The answer is, of course, we would feel completely organized and our devices would run at (near) optimal speed. But organizing your computer is time-consuming and thus we’ve likely disregarded how important this type of cleaning is for too long.
The tradition of spring cleaning should also be applied to your computer. Picking a day each year to solely dedicate your time to cleaning up your computer will go a long way in preparing you for the year (and the thousands of documents) to come.
Don’t believe me? Well, perhaps you soon will. Let me know if this sounds at all like you…
My Personal or Work Computer Problems
Personally, I realized I needed to clean my computer when one day, finishing up working from home, I saw how cluttered my desktop had become. Usually (and this is a bad habit, I must add), I would use the desktop as a dumping ground for screenshots or downloads.
As you can imagine, the desktop would become cluttered in a matter of days. I would then “clean up” my desktop by creating a new folder then using Ctrl+A to select all of these individual files at once before dragging and dropping them into this folder.
I then proceeded to title this new folder “Misc.” since I couldn’t recall exactly why I needed all of these files in the first place. This process continued for several days and I told myself that I would eventually clean up that folder.
Well, the day never came. I then began to struggle to try and keep track of my documents in one centralized place. In trying to clean up my desktop, ultimately I made myself even more disorganized than I was to start.
Simply putting all of my items in one folder, whether on my personal or work computer, wasn’t going to cut it. I needed to deal with these images and various documents in a smarter way. I needed to get organized.
I needed to unlock the power of the portable document format.
The PDF was the only way I was going to get out of this mess in an organized fashion. You can build out an interactive to-do list which should be the first step to getting organized, (and yes, organizing my computer is the first task that we’ll tackle) as well as create your own customizable progress tracker.
PDFs, for those of you who don’t know, are a fantastic tool for getting you and your documents organized.
By converting folders (yes, ENTIRE folders not just the individual documents) into PDFs, I was essentially storing all the data I could into a storage format that was ideal for gathering information in a more centralized fashion. Which, when it comes to my work computer, it was an effective way for me to organize all of my accomplishments for the quarter into one readable, archivable document.
So how did I manage to make organizing my computer such a breeze? Well, much like doing repairs around the house, I got out my trusty PDF toolkit and immediately got to work.
Here’s the digital guide to spring cleaning your devices using Soda PDF:
How-To Digitally Spring Clean Using Soda PDF
PDFs are quite frankly the most underrated tool for keeping yourself and your desk or objectives organized.
There are many reasons why you should be using PDFs in your everyday life, and a digital spring cleaning certainly applies here.
But in order to spring clean your desktop or various Misc. folders, you’ll need to equip yourself with the right software solution. I suggest using Soda PDF, the easy-to-use application that is available on desktop and online, and that has all of the PDF tools you’ll need to get organized in seconds.
Now that you have Soda PDF at your fingertips, it’s time to start cleaning up!
Merge Various File Formats
If you’re like me, you never would have thought that a Microsoft Word document could be merged with a Microsoft Excel file.
Well, with Soda PDF, merging various file types can not only be done, its virtually easy to do!
I began to select my files from my aptly titled “TO BE ORGANIZED” folder. Once I had my files selected, I simply right-clicked and then went to the Soda PDF 11 icon. From there, I had many spring cleaning solutions that were just a click away:
I selected to merge these files and Soda PDF began to open up:
The software didn’t merge the files right away, rather it gave me some time to review the files I selected to ensure that these were indeed the documents I wanted to merge. How thoughtful, I thought.
When merging files with Soda PDF, I could add even more files or even entire folders to merge together. Impressive!
Thus I added a few more files, then clicked on Merge Files. In a matter of minutes, all of these various documents were now in one central place: my newly created PDF! It’s like cleaning up the kitchen and putting all the pots and pans neatly into one drawer. Feels good to have a clean counter—or rather a desktop—doesn’t it?
Furthermore, I could review the files and pages and decide whether or not I wanted to Split a certain page range into its own PDF.
For my third quarter, I was tasked with a few projects to get done. By splitting this newly organized document into a separate file, I was able to organize all of the work I was able to get done into one file folder for easy access:
Thus, merging documents doesn’t mean those files are forever stuck together. The Split tool is yet a further feature that can allow me to organize my files to my specific document needs.
Insert Comments & ATTACHMENTS
Now that I’ve split my document, I decided to set a reminder for myself. I began to highlight the PDF that contained all of my Excel files that showed my Q3 objectives had been met:
I then began to add a note for myself as to why I highlighted a certain portion of my PDF. After all, highlighting is great for a quick visual reference, but what will a few highlighted words mean to you next spring? Exactly.
I added a comment as a reminder for why I highlighted the text in the first place:
Once my comment was added, I decided to download the email message that proved the fact that my supervisor was happy with this change. I then attached the email into the PDF (yes, Soda PDF is awesome like that):
I now had not only got myself and my desktop cleared of clutter, I was now able to remind myself through the use of Review tools of why these documents were so important in the first place.
Looks like my computer and I were springing into action and organizing ourselves for the year to come. All thanks to a few simple, painless clicks to utilize the PDF to its fullest.
But I wasn’t out of the mess just yet.
Archive Your PDF
Lastly, a good trick to cleaning your computer and keeping your files organized is to convert your PDFs into the PDF/A format.
By archiving your files, you’re able to store your information and data in a more secure format. The PDF/A is perfect for long-term digital file preservation of your data.
As you can see, simply following the right-click and open with Soda PDF 11 technique, I can easily turn my organized PDF into an archivable document format in seconds.