September Tech Challenge: Organize Virtual Files

This month we bring you tips for organizing your virtual files and documents to minimize digital clutter and stress!

Recently, I spent a happy half-hour re-organizing my OneNote notebooks. It had been on my to-do list for a while, but kept getting delayed in favour of more “urgent” items.

I discussed my accomplishment with a colleague who agreed that the urgency to organize files and documents is low since she’s never NOT been able to find something she needs. But, she also agreed that there’s a difference between being able to find what you’re looking for, and being able to find what you’re looking for quickly and without stress.

The “without stress” caveat is what really motivated me to start cleaning up my files. When a client messages me, “Can you send me the latest version of XYZ?”, I respond with, “No problem!”, followed by a smiling emoji who looks smugly in control of all their documents. What the client doesn’t see is me frantically searching for a paper bag to hyperventilate into while my brain is screaming at me, “WHERE IS IT? YOU DON’T KNOW WHERE IT IS, DO YOU?! YOU’RE NEVER GOING TO FIND IT! WE’RE ALL DOOMED!”

Ultimately, the stress is a bigger time and energy waster than the searching itself. So, with the goal to reduce stress (and save the paper bags for the kids’ lunches), I’ve gathered a few tips on how to best approach organizing virtual documents and minimize digital clutter:

Choose one location for each project or client

Do you have files, documents, and notes for a single project spread across Sharepoint, Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote, your desktop, your downloads folder, your iCloud Drive, your Notes app… This is a good time to choose one file management system in which to store everything to do with that one project, and move it all.

files on a digital screen being collected in one folder

Gather all your files, documents, and notes for one particular project or client, store them all together in one location, and give each file and document a name that makes it easy to identify what’s inside

Organize the files in that location in a way that makes sense to you

The first time I opened OneNote, I was excited to make use of this new, uncluttered space. I dove in and started creating notebooks like I was Hilroy® preparing for a back-to-school sale. Before long I had created ten different notebooks for one single project. Trust me when I say that’s too many notebooks.

file organization

Organize your digital files in a way that makes them quick to find

It’s OK to jump into a new file or document management system with both feet and try it out. But if you’re subsequently looking at your files with no idea what’s in half of them, it’s time to analyze how you’re using this system by asking:

  • How can I organize my files and documents in a way that makes sense to me and makes them easy to find?
  • Am I using a naming convention that quickly identifies the contents of each particular file and document?  (Tip: Make the file name descriptive but relatively short.)
  • Do I need a separate folder to archive older items?
  • Are there any classification features of this file management system, such as labels, icons, or colours, that would better help me identify a file’s contents?

Stay on top of it

Once your file management system is organized, review it frequently to make sure it’s still serving you and use that time to also deal with any digital clutter:

  • Weekly: Check your desktop, downloads folder, and email for documents that need to be moved, renamed, and stored with other project files. Also use this time to delete and unsubscribe from any email newsletters or notifications you don’t read or require.
  • Monthly: Delete any photos on your phone or computer that aren’t worth keeping. At the end of each year, find the photos that best tell the story of that year and make a photo book.
  • Quarterly: Check for any documents you haven’t opened in over 90 days and consider archiving them.

It can feel like an overwhelming task when you first get started, but take it folder by folder and soon you’ll be enjoying the extra time and sense of relaxation that comes with knowing that you can always find what you’re looking for. Good luck with this month’s challenge, and we’ll see you in October!

Worldline Wireless gives Canadians affordable data options

We are beyond excited to announce the launch of our new Worldline Wireless division, designed to help you save money on data.

The days of choosing cell phone plans based on minutes and text messages are long gone – now, it’s all about the data. Apps for texting and calling dominate app stores and most apps rely on data. But data costs in Canada are some of the highest in the world. In a new study from UK Company analyzing 5,554 mobile data plans in 228 countries, Canada ranked 209th with an average price of $12.99USD for 1GB of data.

Our new product announcement comes on the heels of a ruling by the Canadian government that wholesale Internet rates set by the CRTC last August may be too low. This is disappointing for Canadians hoping for more affordable options for Internet services.

“Canadians have had to pay higher rates for cellular data than many other countries around the world. We wanted to give Canadians more affordable options for LTE data, and we’re doing that with Worldline Wireless,” says Mike Brown, our Chief Sales and Marketing Officer.

4 wireless plans starting at $9.95

Worldline Wireless offers high speed LTE to keep you connected. We have options starting as low as $9.95 per month for light users, with larger plans as high as 10GB for heavier users. But these aren’t just data plans; Worldline has also released a new Mobile App, allowing users to send and receive phone calls using data.

What are the benefits of Worldline Wireless, beyond saving you money?

Worldline’s Wireless service has:

  • No contracts.
  • No penalties: you can upgrade or cancel your plan at any time.
  • No overage charges.
  • No fear of running out of data: we have affordable top-up options.

That’s the kind of risk-free flexibility and fairness we believe in.

“We’re always listening to our customers, and constantly fighting to provide better options for consumers in Canada. Worldline customers have been asking for wireless options for years, and we’re super happy to be able to launch this exciting new product,” said Mike Brown. “We hope these new options come at a great time for our valued customers, who may be facing additional challenges due to the coronavirus pandemic.”

More information about Worldline’s new Wireless services can be found on Worldline’s website.

Cloud vs Local: Keeping Your Data Safe

Best case scenario, the past few months gave you a lot of time to do those things you “always meant to do”. You’ve read all about the pros and cons of minimalism, started exercising at home, and found a new hobby to distract yourself from the fact that your team isn’t playing.

Have you backed-up your phone and your computer? 

If that’s another one of those things you planned to get to “someday”, what better time than now? 

It’s not likely you need convincing that backing up your computer is a good idea, but in case you do: If your computer is the only place all of your photos and documents are stored, and something happens to it, your data is likely gone. Forever. Enough said. 

But where to start?


At a bare minimum, the first step is ensure you’ve switched on any cloud backups that are part of your computer or phone operating system (iCloudOneDrive, Google, etc) which should take care of the majority of your documents, photos, and texts.

Advantages: Cloud storage is convenient. Your data being “in the Cloud” means it’s stored on a server somewhere and you can access it anytime you want from any Smartphone with cloud icon for data backupsdevice (as long as you have an active internet connection). Once you select and turn on a cloud service, it takes care of everything for you, making it simple and easy to use.

Cloud storage adds a layer of protection: your data is physically housed somewhere else so if your computer loss is due to theft or damage, your data is safe and secure. Also, cloud services have redundancies built in: your data is distributed across multiple locations so you’re very unlikely to lose it in the event your cloud service server experiences theft or damage. 

You generally pay for what you use. Cloud storage is based on a subscription model so you’re not paying for a lot of space you don’t need. 

Disadvantages: Cloud storage relies upon a good internet connection to keep updating the latest version of your data, and for restoring from a backup. So during a power outage or while travelling, any updates you make locally may be lost, and not all data may be available to you. Also, restoring from backup can take a long time, relative to a local restore.

If the data you’re storing is very sensitive, then unauthorized access to that offsite data may be a concern, but unless you have a branch of MI5 in your basement, it’s probably not going to be an issue for you.

While your operating system’s backup service will backup the majority of your content, it won’t always backup all of your computer settings or the applications you’ve installed. This can make migration to a replacement device more cumbersome than simply clicking “restore from backup”.


For a more comprehensive backup, consider a local external drive: a physical device you either plug into your computer or add to your network for all devices on that network to backup to.

External hard drive for storing data and restoring from backups

Advantages: Backing up your data and restoring from a local backup is much faster than cloud storage. It doesn’t rely on an internet connection and it’s much easier to create multiple snapshots of your data. So, depending on how frequently you backup, your data is constantly up to date and you can roll back to earlier captures.

Disadvantages: When using a local drive there is the additional step of managing the backups and performing backups on a regular basis. To mitigate this, consider purchasing a NAS (Network Attached Storage); a hard disk on your network that allows any properly configured computer within range to backup to it automatically. This is especially advantageous for families with many devices. It’s expensive but it holds a lot of data, making it a one-time purchase.

Another disadvantage is the physical location of your local drive. Having your external hard drive in the same location as your device means that if your data loss is due to fire or theft, it’s possible your hard drive will be destroyed or stolen also. 

Ultimately, a combination of cloud storage and an external drive provides the best coverage. A combination gives you the assurance of your data being safely stored at an external location, while also giving access to your most up-to-date data quickly and easily in the event you have patchy internet service such as when travelling or in a remote location.

External links for more information:

How to backup to iCloud

How to backup to OneDrive

How to backup your Android phone to Google

How to save text messages

The best external hard drives for Macs and PCs