Do you open your computer only to feel dismayed by unread emails, disorganized files and out-of-control photos? Here’s how to get everything shipshape again…
What’s the real story when you fire up your laptop? Do you get to work with the task at hand or find yourself sucked into a disorganized desktop vortex? If you’re anything like us you probably try your best to stay organized but often find yourself battling 372 unopened emails, a virtual junk yard of random files and 52 blurry photos of your dog that auto-uploaded from your phone to your computer.
No matter how organized you are in the rest of your world, a cluttered, messy digital life could leave you feeling anxious and unproductive. So how can you face the fear and restore order to your digital world?
“When your computer desktop is cluttered it will lead to an immediate feeling of stress,” says Shelina Jokhiya, founder of DeCluttr Me.“If you can just get everything in order you will feel more efficient and productive.”
Here are her essential tips to kick your digital clutter to the curb…
Follow The FAT Rule
It’s super stressful to see an overflowing inbox so your new email mantra is FAT: File. Action. Trash. Either file your email into a relevant folder, take action to answer or delegate it or toss it into the trash. Remember you can’t answer everything. If it doesn’t add value to your life then don’t sweat it. The goal is to make sure your inbox is empty at the end of each day. Avoid constantly flitting to your inbox by allocating two to three times a day to follow the FAT rule.
How much of the traffic in your inbox comes from unwanted subscription emails? Use unroll.me to instantly see a list of all the subscriptions you are signed up to. They will now bypass your inbox and you can chose which ones you want to unsubscribe from. From now on whenever an unwanted subscription appears immediately scroll to the bottom of the email to click the ‘unsubscribe’ option.
If you have a lot of files on your computer and cloud, it may seem daunting to start decluttering them. Start by removing the duplicates via programs such as Duplicate Cleaner or Tidy Up that you probably already have on your computer. You could also search for any folders called ‘New Folder’ and remove any that are empty or rename them.
Next create a few folders to organize the remaining documents on your computer. You could have a folder called ‘personal’ and sub folders for travel, ID documents, insurance, car, home and banking. Spend 30 minutes a day sorting through 10-20 documents, either filing them in folders or deleting them. Within a short space of time, you will have cleared the clutter and created a proper system to file the documents.
Clear Out Your Photos
Smartphones allow us to take photos easily but they also clutter our devices with massive files that use up space and slow down their efficiency. Whenever you can take time to delete the photos that you don’t want off your phone. If you need to save space then use the app Dropbox or an external drive to store them. Don’t have time? Hire a photo organizer to do the hard graft for you. Yes these people really exist!
Streamline Your Music
Do you listen to your music on every device? No, then keep your library or iTunes on just the ones you do use. If music files are clogging up your storage space then make the effort to go through and delete the songs you no longer like or really need. If you do this for an hour a day you’ll be done in a week and will have a lot more space to utilize. iTunes even has a remove duplicates option to ensure you don’t have the same song twice.
Purge Your Apps
Apps on your desktop use a lot of memory. Remove the applications you don’t use from the dock and keep your desktop as clear as possible. If you have a mac try drcleaner.com to get rid of unwanted files, applications cache and duplicates. Invest time Just like a cluttered house your digital world won’t be transformed overnight. Stick with it and think of how good you’ll feel once it is done. Removing the clutter will give you back vital time to do the things you really want to do.
Charlotte Ward is a British writer, tree hugger and toddler entertainer. She is based in California where she can be found enjoying the outdoor life with her husband, son and hyperactive dog-child.