Mystic Aquarium

Every month, I typically start with a few tweets to friends and followers asking if you’ve cleaned out your inbox. Generally, I like to say that if you haven’t read mail from the first of the previous month, just archive it now since you’re not getting to it. However, my monthly maintenance routine is slightly more detailed than that. Here’s what I do around the first of each month; perhaps you have a routine that helps to boost your productivity, too.

1. Archiving old mail. I follow my own advice here and archive everything I know I’m not getting to.

2. Mark all as read. Once I’ve done my morning reading (I typically read for about 90 minutes every morning), I’ll flush out everything and hit Mark all as read in my blog readers. Stuff that’s older and laying around rapidly loses its value anyway.

3. Delete old syndications. I’m subscribed to a lot of podcasts and other digital downloads. I flush out the old ones each month, whether or not I’ve read/watched/listened.

4. Remove barely used or unused apps. This is something relatively new. I go through my apps on my iPad and pull ones that I downloaded that looked cool or something. If I really want them, I can always grab them out of the cloud again, but I do place a premium on a relatively uncrowded iPad.

5. Organize my hard drive. Each month, cruft accumulates, from PDFs and text files to data dumps to office memos. This both slows down my machine and slows down my brain, so I get stuff into folders and get the desktop clear.

6. FULL BACKUP. No excuses. I have a small portable 1 TB hard drive that I do all my backups on. Backups are one of those things you just leave overnight and the next day, you’re done.

7. Full hard drive defrag. I find this really speeds things up for me on my Mac.

8. On the topic of blogs, I remove any that I haven’t read that month and search out five new blogs to subscribe to every month. This is absolutely essential, because if you just keep reading the same stuff over and over again, you stagnate.

9. Review and purge my to do list. Stuff always accumulates in there that I know I’m not going to do. Every month, a good bunch of it heads for the digital dumpster.

10. Desk clearing. Those few folks who have been to my physical office space in metrowest Boston know that it’s not a large office. To the extent that I can throw away anything non-essential, I do.

Those are my 10 things that I do at the start of each month in order to create conditions conducive to productivity. What do you do as part of your regular monthly reboot routine?


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