It’s spring and for all of us techie folks, that includes a digital spring cleaning. It may not seem as though a cluttered digital space impacts our productivity, but it certainly does especially when it comes to organizing digital files. Not only that, it’s distracting. Consider these six tips to help with decluttering your digital space:
Clean up your desktop
If you can’t make out the image behind all of the icons on your home screen, most likely you probably have too much stuff on your desktop. It’s hard to find what you need and it’s too easy to get distracted. So delete the files or apps you don’t need. Then organize what’s left into folders. For example, place all invoices in a folder for the month they are due. When it’s time to pay them, they’ll all be located in one place.
Manage your inbox
Use your inbox to store only unread messages. Once you open an email, either take action on it, delete it or move it into a mail file folder. Don’t leave it to clutter up your inbox. There are also a number of programs that will automate your email management.
Unsubscribe from all those mailing lists you don’t know how you got on. Better yet, setup multiple accounts: a personal account, one dedicated to banking and finances, and a “throwaway” address to use for signing up for services, social media, and online purchases. For example, Unroll.me will help you unsubscribe from unwanted messages with one click.
Load up your browser and clean out bookmarks
Delete everything you don’t want and organize the rest into folders. Clear your browser’s cache, temporary internet files, and the downloads folder.
Delete files no longer needed
Sort your document files by size with the largest ones first. Just click on the “size” column heading in your document list. Starting with your biggest file, delete the ones you no longer need. It will be visually easier to find a file and you can create additional storage space for the files you really need.
Clean up photo files and organize them according to your folder system (and if you don’t have one, create one!). Keep originals and delete duplicates that may be cropped versions or resized versions that you don’t need. Consider tagging your photos, a feature found in many programs, to easily search them later.
Now is the perfect to take all those great photos you forgot about and get them printed for display or share them with family.
Go through your music and reorganize what’s out of place. Rename those untitled files like “Track06.mp3”. Fill in missing album artwork. Purge old music, transfer to an external hard drive, or burn to an archival CD.
Now that that’s done…
Empty that recycle bin and watch your free space increase! If you have an external hard drive or backup system in place (and you should!), take the opportunity now to backup your newly organized files.
Use a screen cleaner and lens cloth to wipe down your displays, clean your keyboard, and give your computer and devices an overall cleaning.
A spring digital cleaning will make a huge difference in productivity.