Tips to Decluttering Your Digital World
Are you spending too much time online trying to read emails, post consistently on social media and keeping your sanity in check at the same time.
If so, it may be time to clean up and organize your files and here are a few tips to decluttering your digital world.
Think about it, how many email addresses do you have? Between personal email addresses, work email address and perhaps a businesses email address, you may have too many. I actually had 5 and oftentimes when I opened up one of these accounts, I got heart palpitations!
I literally had to schedule time to unsubscribe to the sites that I may have signed up for to get info or a free product and them some of these sites have shared or sold my email address. I definitely needed to read the fine print because the next thing I knew, I was getting emails from companies that I would never ever have subscribed too on my own!
You may not have time to clear out all of your inboxes in one sitting but you should schedule some time every day to cut down on the email clutter:
- Create file folders: Set up inbox folders, set them up for customers, e-books, magazines/newsletters, blogs, to-do folders, finances, family, and a to-read-later folder, etc. This helps you store the emails that you want to keep, without them cluttering up your main inbox.
- Schedule email time: Just like setting up time for most everything else we do, you may need to schedule time on your calendar every day to read and reply to emails. Whether it’s 30–45 minutes in the morning and then 30–45 minutes at the end of the day. Try not to check in during the day unless you are waiting for something, like a doctor’s appointment or travel update. Oh, and if you have a lot of downtime in your daily schedule, sync your inbox with your Smartphone so you can knock them out while waiting in line or at the doctor or dentist’s office while having your car serviced or commuting…just not while driving.
- .Take action on every email: either reply, delete, forward or file it into the to-read later folder. Reply then delete or file: reply to all the emails that can be answered immediately, no procrastinating or leaving it for later, after you have replied to the email, delete or file it.
- .Unsubscribe to Newsletters: Just not mine! After you have replied to emails spend time unsubscribing from any newsletters that are no longer of interest to you. All newsletters should have an unsubscribe button which is usually at the bottom of the page. It may take more time to hit unsubscribe as opposed to just deleting it, but take the time to unsubscribe because not having to see them every day in your inbox is a real time saver.
- .File the remaining emails: Whatever is left in your inbox should be emails that you need to take action on at a later date. It might be a newsletter that you want to read, an invoice that needs to be sent or a bill that needs to be paid. Spend a few minutes filling these emails into their appropriate folder. For documents such as a magazine or a download from your favorite blogs, save it in your document folders on your computer’s Dropbox or iCloud, that way it’s downloaded and easily accessible when you are ready to read it from whichever device you are using.
- De-clutter and Purge: Delete the virtual spaces that you don’t use or need. Make an effort to downsize your virtual world. You don’t need to have an account for everything, nor do you need to be following everybody. Take time to un-follow people, blogs or organizations that are no longer of interest to you because they are just cluttering up your space — physically and virtually. You know the people who over-share, over-post or are just plain annoying or you’ve outgrown them. Your news feeds should not be filled with negativity; it should be a place where you connect with people who enrich and enhance your world.
- .Refresh and Update: Refreshing your profile, look at your bio, your profile photo, your email signature, and your links. Does it still reflect who you are? If not, refresh and update them. You know people often say that if you became a missing person, you would never be found because most people’s profile pic looks nothing like them in real life thanks to the filters and other enhancement apps!
- .Renew and Revitalize: Now that your virtual space is clean and organized, you may want to breathe new life into it. Follow new people, blogs and organizations, ones that are in alignment to your values. Redesign your backgrounds and cover photos. Renew and revitalize your virtual world with a new Twitter background, a new Facebook cover photo and perhaps a new font for your email signature. Head over to Canva.com to create new backgrounds and banners for your social media platforms.
Organize Your Computers and Devices
.Are you overwhelmed when you open up your device or laptop to try and find a document, file or saved webpage? Is your smartphone or tablet full of apps and games that you never use? Now is the perfect time to organize your devices and files. Here are just a few ways to get started.
- Favorites Bar: Just like your email folders, create folders for your Bookmarked sites, (recipes, photos, music, fashion, blogs, etc), and file those bookmark links in the appropriate folder.
- Documents: Organize and create folders for your current documents, it becomes super easy to file away any new documents. I use Google Docs which are easy ways to locate all your documents and can be accessed, shared and emailed for collaborations.
- Photo Files: Your Smartphone is probably filled with photos that you have taken on your phone. You can either upload them to an online storage like Flickr, SmugMug, Picassa, Google Photos, Photobucket, Amazon Prime Photos and iCloud or file them away in your hard-drive.
- .Passwords: It can be a nightmare remembering all those passwords for all the virtual places you check into. There are so many rules; some you need capital letters, others you need to put in characters, after a while, you can end up with a bunch of different passwords that makes it virtually impossible to remember them all. If you use passwords that are easy to remember, someone might guess them. If you used that same easy password for a lot of different sites, one hack can compromise your sensitive data on all of those sites at once. And if one of those compromised sites was your email account, the hacker can click the password reset link on other sites to take them over as well. Find and use a password saver app to keep them all organized and not posted on little sticky notes on your computer, in the car or in your purse/wallet.
- Apps: Now it is time to go through all your apps on your Smartphone and Tablet and delete the ones you no longer use. If you haven’t used it in the last year delete it you can always reinstall if/when you do.
- Programs: Having too many programs are not only stressful to sort through, they slow down your computer. Get rid of all those programs you have downloaded but never or rarely use. In the future try and find an online version of the program instead.
Now that you have your email boxes decluttered and your virtual work organized, go grab yourself a cool one, sit back and listen to a few episodes of Out & About with Antionette podcast!