Eliminate Digital Clutter In 4 Easy Steps
Do you feel overwhelmed, anxious, unproductive? Do you open your laptop and all you see is a hot mess? That you don't really even want to open your emails because you know there'll be a never ending list of emails dating back to the summer of 2015? I used feel the same way!
What if I told you there are some really simple steps you can take to tackle and eliminate those feelings? That you actually feel in control and happy knowing exactly where you need to go to locate that document you saved 4 months go? Let's get onto the good stuff!
Step 1: Email Inbox
- Empty the trash and spam folders. If you are overwhelmed by digital clutter, chances are you have that niggling anxiety in the back of your mind seeing that number 27 next to your Spam folder. We both know you do not need to worry about it because it is spam BUT. Clear it out. Empty it. Clear inbox, clear mind. That includes the spam and the trash folder.
- Unsubscribe from lists. I cannot stress how much joy doing this brings me. I am a self proclaimed shiny object junkie. Any beautiful Facebook ads that pop up, I sign up. And before I know it, I have a 100 emails coming in daily. And that’s just the newsletters. This is where Unroll.me comes in. It has been a total life (or at least sanity!) saver. I go through this once a month, rolling up all the newsletters I want to keep, unsubscribe with a click of a button from the ones I don’t need and train for it to keep useful emails in my inbox. If a name pops up you don’t recognise or you know you haven’t opened an email from them since who-knows-when - hit that unsubscribe button. Thank me later!
- Delete or file emails as soon as you read them. Don’t keep them in your inbox thinking you’ll come back to them later. You can see where I am going with this, right? You *THINK* you will go back to it later. Make it a habit so that when you commit to opening an email, you read it and you 1) action it and 2) file it/delete it. If you know there are emails you’d like to eventually refer back to, create a folder called Read Later and drag it there. Once a month, go through that folder and remove everything that you don’t need.
- Open and sort every email at the end of the day. There is nothing nicer than going to bed with an empty inbox. No doubt you will wake up to emails again but it is mentally good to know you have dealt with everything you could. If you had followed the previous point (we all have our moments!) we wouldn’t be here BUT if you do have any emails left in your inbox then make it a point to empty it before you turn off your laptop for the day.
Step 2: Browser bookmarks
- Delete bookmarks you no longer/hardly ever use. Same as with the emails we like to keep but never go back to, it is so easy to save a website to your bookmark bar and leave it to wait for better times. Go through your browser bookmark bar at the end of the month and clear out any links you don’t need.
- Use folders in your bookmark bar. Swiftly moving to the next tip. Rather than having hundreds of links floating around, create folders for your most needed categories. File the links you still want to keep but don’t use as regularly. As an example, I have bookmark folders for business related blogs I like to refer to, a folder for my clients so I can easily access sites I need to do my work, a personal folder for muffin recipes and the next bathroom makeover project.
Step 3: Desktop
- Delete documents you know longer need. You know all the screenshots and images you drag to your desktop? All the files you download and save? Go through them at the end of the day, delete what you don’t need and save the ones you want to keep in your Google Drive or Dropbox. Treat your desktop as a temporary place to store current documents and move them all to their “home” at the end of the day.
- Delete shortcuts to applications you hardly ever use. Keep your Dock (Mac users) and your desktop (Windows) clutter free and only keep the apps you use daily.
Step 4: Cloud Storage
- Create folders by category, project, task, date or any way that makes sense to you the most. As an example, in my drive I have a folder for Hello Virtual Assistant. WIthin that folder I have a folder for Clients, Business Related Courses, my Blog, Resources, Documents… The list goes on. Then within each of these folders I have additional folders. So within my client folder there’s a separate folder for each of my clients. Within by business related courses I have a folder for each of the courses I am taking. You get the idea. This makes it really easy for me to know where I can access any information I need at the time.
- Give all your documents a descriptive name. Saving a blog post named as blog post 2 isn’t exactly helpful. Saving it as “4 Steps To Eliminate Digital Clutter” makes it really easy to search for without having to go through several folders.
That's it. Now, this all may seem quite overwhelming right now but once you get into the routine of doing these simple tasks daily and weekly, you will notice the difference already today.
@@Eliminating digital clutter: follow these 4 steps and witness the transformation of your (digital) life.@@
What are your favourite tips for tackling digital clutter?