My laptop background was covered with so many files I couldn’t even make out the faces of my children, husband, or our cute little dog anymore. I had files hidden behind other files, random PDF’s I didn’t recognize anymore, my trash was overflowing. It was a nightmare! How and when did it become such a mess?!?
Even worse, I opened my downloads folder to find obscure documents dating back to 2013; including school uniform checklists, past soccer season schedules, takeout menus, campground reservations and hundreds of other files I didn’t even recognize.
Family pictures uploaded from my phone, downloaded from friend’s Facebook feeds and scattered in various folders on my computer made it impossible to track down that one photo of so and so’s 3rd birthday when their cousin was making a particularly funny face.
The ultimate digital disaster? Unanswered emails. Hundreds of them. Sitting there, waiting, staring, begging to be opened, read, answered.
Sound familiar? Just like any part of our life, if not regularly maintained and evaluated, our digital ‘life’ can get out of control and scattered in every direction, making it impossible to find important documents, emails, and even those funny pictures you’d like to dig up.
Enough is enough. The digital aspect of our life isn’t going anywhere. In fact, the average person spends 11+ hours per day on some sort of electronic device, so we should probably learn how to be organized and efficient while doing so.
Here are some quick tips that you can start right now to get yourself back on track and reclaim control over your digital space and content. Set your timer and spend just 15 minutes per day completing these tasks and you’ll have your sanity back in no time.
-Don’t delete emails, unsubscribe. Many of the emails we receive are from past interests, purchases and lists we joined. It is the law that most mailing lists must include a link to unsubscribe within a few clicks of your mouse. Take a few seconds and unsubscribe from emails you no longer read or want so they don’t continue to clog your inbox.
-Keep your computer home screen clear. If you are familiar with the minimalist habit of keeping flat surfaces clear, this should come more naturally. Take a couple of minutes to put things away that you have saved to your computer. Create folders if needed, move items to the trash, empty the trash, clear your downloads.
-Clear your phone. The areas that cause the most grief seem to be old text threads and hundreds of pictures that are duplicates. Instead of refreshing Facebook for new stories every few minutes while standing in line, delete old text threads and pictures that just didn’t turn out right.
-Clean and organize old digital content. This may take some consistent effort and time to complete, but taking five minutes here and there to tag and move pictures to their proper folders, save documents in easy to find files and deleting items you no longer need will save time in the long run and free up space on your computer.
Using computers and digital devices for everyday tasks and communication isn’t going anywhere soon, so do yourself a favor and save your sanity by keeping digitally organized and decluttered.