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A few weeks ago, we had the Digital Organization Challenge to help out our readers get rid of Time Squanders. We showed you, through the challenge, how to make those small changes that lead to major results over time by removing your time squanders. We shared how you can get organized with your files, notes, and photos, even if you have thousands of disorganized files all over the place.

Based on the comments and emails (hundreds!) we received, it seems that the challenge helped so many of you got organized. We got so many great feedback as well as amazing stories from those who participated.

The challenge has officially ended but it doesn’t mean that if you missed it, you can no longer go through it.

Here is the 5-day challenge:

Just to remind everyone, here’s a list of prizes we’ll be giving away:

  • First Prize — Apple AirPods Max (Don’t worry, they work for Android too!) ($549 value)
  • Second Prize — Amazon Kindle Paperwhite ($150 value)
  • Third Prize — Copy of 1 Habit For a Thriving Home Office: Killer Habits of the Most Successful Home-Based Business People on the Planet, including a chapter by Brooks! ($25 value)

And without further ado…

The Organization Challenge Winners

Apple AirPods Max – Jill H

The digital suggestions were fantastic! Though I named files in a detailed fashion, still finding them was difficult – frustrating and a big time waster. The structure of how to categorize things in particular always seemed tricky – I either had too few or too many folders in which to file things. The Triple A method – Active, Assets, and Archive – was logical and the best way I have found to file my electronic documents. Old inactive files no longer mingle with newer documents, and my reference files are much easier to find since they are set off by themselves in Assets. Even the DropZone folder idea, though simple, has allowed me to save things and keep working at pace, allowing me to go back later and file and/or name more specifically when I have the time to process it (and find it easily!). Finally the Duplicate Cleaner Pro has snagged literally thousands of small, unnecessary files from a graphics program I could simply delete. Getting rid of digital junk is a relief!

I also have moved this electronic challenge over to my physical files – taking time to organize and file in a specific place so papers don’t build up, while giving myself a “DropZone” that I can process during the week. No more old and new mingling. I have gotten rid of 1 1/2 filing drawers of physical documents – good-bye!

Thank you for all your help and suggestions! This challenge has done far more to organize me than any other help and suggestions for organizing to date. I look forward to a continued sense of peace while I work, a defined home for every file, and a clear desktop both on and off my computer. AE Team, you ROCK!

Amazon Kindle Paperwhite – Diane T

I was surprised at how much of an impact the challenge had on how I do things. The biggest thing was Triple A and where to put things. I have had things scattered all over the place and it takes so long to find what I am looking for. The concept of specific things going in specific rooms in your house made a LOT of sense for me. Dividing things into Active, Asset and Archive is HUGE. Now I want to go over everything and sort with this concept in mind. I see that it can apply to everything. It will take a while to get stuff sorted, but breaking it into smaller chunks starting with my current stuff and working my way back is manageable. I have started on all my digital files, my paper files in my filing cabinet, my music in my closet and bookcase. It even works with clothes. If everything has a specific “home” and I have purged the unneeded, packed away the archive and set up the assets and current files, it really works.

Thanks so much for the challenge.

I use the Dropzone and it does also help using current folders along the side – great idea.

5 Winners of Habit For a Thriving Home Office (Book)

Eugenia Z

I’m super excited to be one of the winners of the challenge, but the real win was actually doing it! I learned it’s easy to organize digital files by just taking a step at a time, with a really affordable time investment each day. Thank you so much!

Rachel M

I’ve been a longtime fan of Asian Efficiency, and prior to the pandemic, was an Inbox Zero person (most of the time!)

However, the emotional, financial and physical impact of the last year on my energy levels and emotional resilience meant that something had to give …

… I chose to let go of my old routines to have the resilience to cope with a changed world of work and different commitments.

Now it’s time for me to recover the emotional and mental resilience benefits that I get from a well-organised digital life. I’m implementing the simple (and therefore easily achievable) Triple A method, knowing that the Dropzone will keep everything in line going forward, whilst I devote some time to working on backlog each week.

I’m using Renamer and Duplicate Finder to handle the thousands of photos that I take (and keep) for work purposes. As a creative worker, I’ve always found it helpful and soothing to ‘relax’ with administrative and organisational tasks and I’m a fan of AE because they understand the importance of elegance and aesthetics in productivity.

Thanks for this timely free training, which has regenerated my love for the finder window :)

Munadil S

The challenged enlightened me in many ways. Previously I used two top level folder – OnGoing and Archive for my files. But I was not sure which thing will go where. And my 3 years experience says I hardly made anything Archive during the year. This challenged helped figure out the problem. My previous structure didn’t have any Assets folder. I used to put my photos under OnGoing inside My Photos folder. But I learned that these are the types of files (along with scanned docs like my certificates, ID cards etc. ) that demands specific folders for management. I also learned when to archive what. Learned a hidden trick to bulk rename multiple files in Windows Explorer that I never used before. But these were not all ….

The most important thing I get from this challenge is I was very much inept in organizing my notes. They are all scattered. And after the challenge and I am in much better position to deal those scattered notes from now on. Hope I would be able stick to the schedule set for routine DropZone cleanup for this challenge forever. Thanks for arranging the challenge.

Stephen T

I took the Digital Organization Challenge with the objective of getting myself organized by learning from Asian Efficiency. There is always something to learn from all the great people over here.

The challenge has made an impact to me in the aspect of being digitally organised, keep things clear, and focused so i can find those files or notes easily. I can even simply access to my digital contents with my mobile phone anywhere & anytime easily now.

Thanks to the AEF Team!

Rachelle S

It was a great challenge and that was fun enough! It has changed my habits. The most helpful change was creating an “Inbox” folder that I save every document to and a time block to clear it everyday at 4 pm. I was overwhelmed with the files I had on my devices, but this has helped too to tame the daily amount and created momentum to clean up the rest!

That’s A Wrap

Thank you to everyone who participated and to everyone who sent in their entries!

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