Grappling with Spring Cleaning

The ‘front’ bringing rain/snow has morphed from a 2-day wonder to a 5-day march through our area –

Which means I awoke to a cloudy, misty day – with well recovered muscles, joints just a tad stiff…

And, sadly, a voice/speech pattern degraded once more to Elmer Fudd status…

I’m blessed in that most know about my stroke and journey to recovery – so the amount of talking I do need to engage in on these days, doesn’t end with hard questions or too much small-town gossip regarding my mental or sobriety status – – 🙂

Spring in Colorado Brings Grapple

Picture of Grapple

Some years ago, my oldest son arrived home from a day at school to inform me that the white stuff, not snow, not hail, is:


He also announced, according to his science teacher, Grapple only occurs in two very restricted areas in the world – one of which we lived in.

Since I’ve moved around a bit during my life, I can report –

Either my son heard wrong –


My definition of  what is Grapple doesn’t match, exactly, the scientific definition of what falls around Pikes Peak this time of year-


It’s range of occurrence is more widespread than previously reported.


Days like these also lure me to doing some Grappling of my own –

As in,

“To engage in a struggle or close encounter”

When the sky is strewing Grapple hither-thither I’m easily lured into Grappling with various topics –

Once I’ve wasted enough time contemplating, pondering, Grappling…

I engage in Spring Cleaning Tasks

No…. not my house….are you daft?   Did I not just vacuum and dust the top shelf of the bookcase around Christmas?  Of 2013?!? 🙂

I chose to spend today Spring Cleaning my Digital House.

Because I want more Time for Life.

Isn’t that What It’s Really All About?

Earning a living with Time left over to have a Life?

Since so much of my Earning a Living time is spent in Digital Life, I continually guard against it nudging up too closely to Real Life –

I spent Today Manifesting Real Life Time –

(Yes, you, too, can create and bend time at will – it’s done through magical processes, one of which is periodic Spring Cleaning – another option is going off the grid)

My Digital Spring Cleaning activities have become part of my “Go To List” of Fun and Easy things to do when the days of low-inspiration and energy appear…

Just think what my house would look like, if only I were willing to see vacuuming and dusting from the same perspective,…

My idea of Fun & Easy May Differ from Yours….

Okay – but if you’d like to explore the possibility of Time Manifestation, read on…

If you’re already one of those super-organized souls and have all the free time you wish for, move along, nothing to see here…


Truth be known, I am, at heart, either a project manager or efficiency expert –

Then Again –

Maybe I’m just lazy –

Plenty of employees quietly curse the Project Manager who says,

“Yup – I set the milestone for 72 hours, over a holiday weekend –  you can do it.  I’ll be out of cell phone range at the lake house, so I’ll touch base with you on Tuesday.”

While Bosses who Sign Paychecks exclaim,

“Why on earth did you waste 3 hours researching/building a solution?   When you could have just used my outdated-cobbled-together redundant tools? And, while I’m thinking of it, I must also berate you for the overtime you logged last week OR send you a “Receipt Required” email admonishing you for the work you persist in performing during your breaks.”

I’ve witnessed both ends of the spectrum – and everything in between –

I Am protected from curses – I don’t have a lake house….

Bottom line – If I’m spending time on something I think can be done quicker, with same end results, I set about streamlining…

Which I always assumed most others did, as well…

But many observations over the years indicates this (lazy) approach may not be as prevalent as I thought  – –

In fact, I continue to witness folks who are further behind the curve than I am, if you can imagine it, in some basic Digital House spots –

Without further ado – lets start with the list of tweaks to do on your Grappling Fun Day –


I’ve been rather slow to adopt all the neat tricks & tips to really streamline my email system, but, 9 times out of 10, my Inbox looks like this:

Image of empty email Inbox
Can you hear the crickets chirping?

Alas, so many who call me for help have an Inbox (or Desktop, or hard disk)  that resemble

below list X the cubed total of miles journeyed by the  Starship Enterprise):

Picture of Average Inbox
Gotcha! This is actually my spam box screen shot – which I only visited because I needed a pic of a ginormous list – –

How to get from Endless Lists to Crickets Chirping in the Void?


  • ToDo
  • Waiting for Info
  • Waiting for Approval
  • Done

I actually monitor my email throughout the day, in direct defiance of all the Time Management Experts who tell me not too –

I check hourly, label for “ToDo” or handle and label with one of the 3 remaining options – then skip right back to what I was doing before I took a break to stretch my back, mind and check to see what might have happened the in the world the last 50 minutes –


Do you still have the coworker who believes the boss isn’t monitoring their email/Facebook time? (yeah, like that’s possible….)

Or the friend/family member that sends you numerous cute items and then emails an hour later to see why you haven’t acknowledged their brilliance in sharing said information with you?

Or the customer or boss that asks, “Why isn’t this done yet?” to which you skip over to your “Waiting for Information/Approval list” and click to forward the one you want from the list of 6, to send in response  – with an added  smiley face introducing the email request from a 2-3 weeks ago…

(Yes, I said 6 or so – Seriously, if I’ve been waiting for more than a month, on you, it’s archived and no longer my problem – I can still find it, but I ain’t looking at it every morning when I view my “What Shall I do Today?” options….)

Yes, you may like, even love, these folks, but, really, enough is enough!

Set Some Email Filters

Your email application rules may vary, but here’s an example of the rule to set:

IF <> sends message with <Fwd:> OR <Cat> And <Piano>  in <SUBJECT> THEN  LABEL  “Dentist Office Reading” and REMOVE from INBOX.

As you go along, you’ll find tweaks to add to your automated filters – such as

  • <petitions to provide modesty garments for cows>
  • <bras found to cause cancer>

Yes, you could scan the inbox list to find what you need – delete what you don’t – but why?

Too much time….

And seriously, don’t you really want a Dentist Office Reading list, full of light-hearted or ludicrous material, generously provided by those you know and tolerate, to distract you from the sounds of tiny drills and the screams of victims patients later on this afternoon?

I thought so –

While you’re at it

Spend some time on your  other files – Organize ’em – back it all up and  you’ll be glad you did…someday…when you bid a teary farewell to the computer you loved that now only has the energy to show you a blue screen…

Browser Book Marks

I’ve alluded previously to the fact I’ve been in deep research mode since last November –

What I didn’t confess to was  my  browser bookmark area – which looked rather like the Junk Drawer in my kitchen that holds everything I don’t have time for, now, but might actually want again…


When I research,  I read and follow links willy-nilly

I gaze over the opened link, and either close or click on “Bookmark This” when my brain states…

“Definitely worth checking out, WHEN:

  • I finish current project that initiated this search in the first place
  • Have such-and-such set-up first, because best to do it in order to prevent re-work
  • Stability/Developer Maintenance record is established
  • I’ve researched the company/developers/etc.
  • I can afford to move to this option
  • I need to ensure current tools are set-up to easily migrate to this, later…”

“Save BookMark” – Click –

Into the Junk Drawer of Browser Land –

Surely, I’ll surely remember this Gem and what it contains – I’ll organize it later –


Train wreck in progress….

Sadly, I didn’t take a screen shot of my ‘BEFORE’ clean-up process – you know how bad I am at documenting, properly, my own little personal projects – BUT I did take a screen shot of the AFTER:

Image of Organized Bookmarks Toolbar
Ta-Da! Will let you know if it works or not….

See that nice empty space to the right of my Bookmarks Toolbar?

Before cleanup, my Easy Access Toolbar was filled across the full screen of an over-sized monitor,  with a little button at the right that said,

“Wait!  There’s a Long, Long List of More things you Saved, but didn’t organize correctly, Please, Spend some quality time scrolling here..”

Could I use the “Search Bookmarks” tool?

Well, yes, I could, but heck, that’s even more typing when I could just hover-click

(all you Mac Users/Keyboard specialists out there – quit sniggering – it’s a process in progress….)

Since I recklessly click the “Bookmark this Page” button nearly as often as I click “Like” and live in an area where slow internet service often occurs, every time I have to search to once more find what I know is there…

I waste time –

Anywhere from 2.7 seconds up to 12 minutes…

(It’s a wide, self-reported spread – seriously, you thought I built an app to track how much time I waste re-inventing the wheel?  Now that’s just silly….)

Short list of things I’d rather do than Searching/Waiting on the Green Circle of Death

  • Write a 2,000+ word blog post
  • Chat via comments with fellow bloggers or catch up on reading and clicky-clicking of  the “Like’ button
  • Search on drought resistant, fast growing, but not invasive, ground covers, in the color purple, using the cool Latin names and pics posted by others as a starting point for research
  • Throw some water and dehydrated veggies in slow-cooker for vegetable soup for supper
  • Email a link to a customer or community member, “Hey!  Are you still struggling with such-and-such?  Ran across this tool- might be a solution for you”
  • Call my neighbors to check in and see how they are, since I haven’t run into them at the Post Office recently or stopped work to chat while they drove slowly by wondering just when all those old tires will be covered with dirt or removed from sight…

Organizing your browser bookmarks/options settings takes a little time, a little planning and best serves you when you re-visit your system every so often –

My Toolbar has been reorganized to contain “Research” – and I’ve set a reminder to visit it every month and read, delete or move to ‘Website Tools” area of the neighborhood.

(Again, in direct defiance of those who suggest researching new tools the last two weeks of the year – WHAT?!?

That cuts into my reading/documentary hiatus AND everyone Knows New Year’s Eve is for drinking enough to numb the pain while you compile your end-year numbers and shove them into the tax preparation software…)

While you’re at it…

Change those short, used-for-a-decade-passwords.

I gather from all current information, repairing damage from being hacked is time-consuming..

Choose long ones, the longest allowed – Consider these fun combinations that will take a few years for algorithms to crack and entertain you as well –

  • Names of Constellations coupled with their meaningful connections to those fantasy short story characters you’ve created
  • Flowers coupled with the flavor of beer you like to drink that can also be used to trap common pests
  • Geological names for rocks coupled with how many times your fingers have been smushed plus the number of times you’ve helped your mom re-arrange her rock garden
  • Types of Trees coupled with how many times your dad reminded you to not use a chainsaw without steel toed boots plus the number of links in a circa 1300s chain mail shirt
  • Vegetables coupled with scaled numbers from 1-1000 on how much you love, hate or struggle to grow ’em plus number of times you’ve been hailed out and started over
  • Nicknames of People who have ticked you off coupled with the form/date you predict Karma will catch up with them

Note* Don’t spend too much time on the last one – rumor has it your thoughts create reality which means, too much time or concentrated thought and you didn’t leave it up to Karma to take care of, you simply just ensured your own little karmic dance later for such ill wishing – 🙂

The rules for password security are ever evolving, but you can make ’em long, change them frequently, remember them and have fun with the whole process….

Just By Sharing this tidbit with you…

I’ve painted a bulls-eye on my cyber life – but, hey! I believe it important enough to take the risk.

Those who talk about passwords and security or dare to actually give you how-to advice on the matter, are,  apparently,  favored targets for dedicated-to-their-hacking-craft souls…

Since I’m Already in the Danger Zone –

I’ll remind you to also get into the habit of taking full advantage of the all the nifty, two-step authentication methods available –

Make sure to only initiate those 2-step methods that allow you to quickly bypass the system via another route when you accidentally drop your 4 year old Blackberry phone into a bucket of mop water, because you were mopping while talking on the phone – Seriously, what else are you going to get done while mopping? Drink?  Trust me, you’ll just spill your wine while wringing out the mop…

Spend your ‘don’t-feel-like-doin’-much’ days on this short list of grunt work –

Create that Magic Free time for next week when you’re all geared up to get 50 projects done in one day and don’t have time for distractions – –

And now for your rockin’, dancin’ pleasure:


6 thoughts on “Grappling with Spring Cleaning”

  1. Oh my… You can come to my house any time you feel bored LOL.. and Grapple away till your hearts content.. And being able to do all you do after your stroke is amazing.. I have no doubt that what ever you undertake to Spring clean will be done with gusto 🙂

    Ps I just emptied my spam box on WP and rescued two WP friends.. 🙂

    Sending HUGS xxx


    1. Spent time today booking two appointments this coming week to help organize/spring clean the digital world of others – seems I’m not the only one with the Spring Cleaning Bug! LOL


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