Everybody hates clutter. Whether it’s physical clutter at home or virtual data clutter at work, it makes life much more difficult. With business data clutter, the time you spend searching for specific data really adds up, and that time can certainly be spent more efficiently. Keep reading to find out why you should declutter your business data and how to do it quickly and effortlessly today.
Why should you declutter your data?
Before we dive into how you can organize your business data, you should know why you’re doing it in the first place:
- You’ll be more productive;
- You’ll save money (through increased productivity and less money spent on cloud storage);
- You and your employees won’t be as stressed (trying to find your way through the clutter can get you really agitated);
- You’ll be able to interpret data much more effortlessly;
- Your business will be more secure (the less data you have, the lower the chance that sensitive data gets out in the open).
How to organize business data?
So now you know that when it comes to business data, more isn’t necessarily better, especially if we’re talking about huge amounts of data you never even use. The good news is, just a few simple tips can help get your business organized, so keep reading to learn them.
Evaluate your files by date
It can be challenging to figure out where to start your decluttering campaign. Generally, the older the file, the more likely it is to be out-of-date and useless to your company. When beginning to declutter your data, start evaluating it by date. Check out all old files: is there anything your business hasn’t used or needed for years? Then you probably don’t need it anymore, and it’s best to delete it.
Delete duplicate data
So many files get downloaded and stored in company databases twice or even more times. That’s normal, especially if there are more than a few people in your company. However, duplicate content only creates unnecessary data clutter. You should check for duplicate content and only keep a single copy of most files (unless it’s crucial information: then you might want to keep a few copies).
Categorize your files
Once you’re done deleting your old and useless files, start to categorize them. Ideally, you should group them in terms of sensitivity: keep non-sensitive public data in one category, internal company data in another, and highly sensitive restricted information in another. You can then create sub-categories for this data for easier navigation.
Keep your less important data separately
No matter how unimportant a file may seem, sometimes you just can’t bring yourself to deleting it because you’re scared you’ll still need it someday. You probably won’t, just like you won’t wear that old sweater at the back of your closet that you don’t have the heart to throw away. Well, it’s understandable that you’ll have files like that, but you should keep them in a separate folder, away from the data that you use daily. Once you have a folder with all of the files you probably don’t need, you can evaluate it every few months and finally delete the files you definitely don’t need.
Set a data management policy for the future
Once your business data is decluttered and organized, you need to take steps to maintain that order. If you don’t set any data management policies aimed at avoiding data clutter, you’ll just go back to the way things were. To keep your data organized in the future, make sure that you and your employees:
- Place files into their respective folders and categories;
- Avoid storing unnecessary data;
- Follow specific guidelines when storing files in company databases (all data should be valuable to the company);
- Review files every once in a while and delete any accumulated data clutter.
Keeping your business data organized is a difficult task that many companies fail to do. Well, decluttering data isn’t just a matter of satisfying your inner perfectionist. It’s a matter of gaining a competitive edge compared to disorganized companies: an organized company is much more productive, profitable, and employees of organized companies are simply less stressed out.
Most importantly, decluttering your business data isn’t a difficult task at all. Yes, you will need to spend a bit of time on evaluation and categorization, but that’s nothing compared to the results that will follow. Oh, and don’t forget to set a data management policy once you’re done cleaning up. Good luck!