Declutter your digitals
Declutter your digitals
Is your digital world needing some attention? If so, it’s not really surprising. Keeping on top of digital spaces can easily be overlooked, but if neglected, can cause us just as much stress as the clutter in our home. Although the content on our digital devices doesn’t take up much actual physical space- too much of it can sap our time, make us much less efficient and be hugely distracting
A digital declutter should follow the same process as any other type of declutter. Namely; put aside some time, start with the easy bits, work in categories, choose what to keep, store like with like and try to keep surfaces (aka screens) as clear as possible. With that in mind, lets get started!
I have to confess to a love-hate relationship with my Smartphone. They are such ingenious little devices, but boy can they take over daily life. Is this scenario familiar? You pick up your phone to check the date, an hour later you emerge…having consumed a large dose of social media, BBC News, a feature on a cookery programme…and you still don’t know the date. The distractions are limitless!
But there are some things you can do. Try to keep your phone screen as clear as possible, especially the home screen. Check apps, reducing them down to only the ones you really need. You will probably find some that are no longer relevant – delete them. Of the ones that are left, can you organise them on the screen pages to make accessibility easier? Are there any you can put into folders? For example, I’ve organised all my business apps into one folder, creatively named ‘Business’. Doing similar will make your screen much cleaner and easier to navigate.
If you use social media, consider which platforms give you the most value and try to limit the number. Are there any that have a negative effect on your mood? For example, I recently uninstalled Twitter. Although I enjoyed some of the news reports, I hated the negative trolling some posters received and some of the content really bothered me. Remember the algorithms will work hard to keep you consuming…so be ruthless.
Start here with your desktop. Is there anything stored that you no longer need? If so delete it. I like to have a fairly clear desktop, apart from a few shortcuts which gives me quick access to a apps I use daily. I sometimes save the odd file on my desktop temporarily, but I either move it into my filing system or delete as soon as possible.
You may have your own system for storing folders that works well. If not, this is what I recommend. My filing generally has four levels. I store nearly all my files in ‘Documents’ which has a shortcut on my desktop. This contains several folders with broad categories e.g. Business, Personal, Finances, etc. I then have smaller folders within each of these, which contain specific documents. I prefer not to have too many folders at this level and I keep the titles fairly broad, as it makes it easier to find what I need. Key to keeping on top of filing is getting into the habit of moving files into the correct folders immediately and deleting anything that is not needed. It takes a bit of focus and effort to do this regularly, but it’s time well spent.
Emails can build up very quickly so it’s a good idea to have a regular clear out of your inbox. A quick tip is to use the search function to look for emails in specific categories. For example, to find sales emails and newsletters, search for ‘unsubscribe’ (all newsletters should have this option, usually in small print at the end) and any email you’ve previously subscribed to should pop up. If you don’t need them – unsubscribe first – then put them in the bin. If you don’t bother to unsubscribe they will keep filling up your inbox! You can use the search function to look for other categories and either keep or delete. If you need to keep some emails you could store them in a few email folders rather than your inbox – but don’t fall into the trap of keeping lots!
When it comes to keeping on top of your digital spaces going forward, it’s a good idea to allocate some time for this every week. Once it’s down to a manageable level it won’t take long to do a quick sweep of your filing, emails and tidy up your screens. Also, when you are actively using your devices, remember to use the two minute rule. If you can do it in less than two minutes, just do it rather than leaving it, writing it down or asking someone else to do it.
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