Most of our lives are digital today, and it is great because it helps keep physical clutter at bay. But over time, we may get to a point where we’ve increased our digital clutter so much, that it causes us to become overwhelmed. Research backs us when we say that digital clutter induces just as much anxiety as a messy workspace. So this National Clean Your Virtual Desktop day, we have put together eight digital areas of your computer you need to clean out.
Yes, it may take some time, but the benefits far outweigh the time invested. It’s our guarantee!
Just like how you clear out your mailboxes every day, apply the same principle to your email inbox too. Your email inbox sees all types of emails – essential emails, newsletters from opt-ins that you’re no longer interested in and spam emails. According to this email statistics report, the average person receives about 94 emails per day. So, it’s common to feel as though your inbox is flooded and backlogged.
Here’s what you can do – First, delete all non-essential emails that are more than 30 days old. While you’re at it, unsubscribe from all the newsletters that don’t spark your interest. Once you’ve got that out of the way, create folders for your existing emails so you can find them easily in the future. You’re 90% there. The next 10% involves you to monitor your inbox daily. If you can answer an email in 3 minutes, do it right away. Add whatever is left to your daily-to do list.
If your work involves research, creating or designing, you’ll know how important this one is. We download a lot of files on a day-to-day basis without realising how quickly it can clog up our storage. If you are overwhelmed by the sheer volume of your downloaded files, sort the files by date and delete them in chunks. If you’re a step ahead and already have all your important files backed up, go ahead and delete the entire contents of your download folder and you’re good to go!
Take a hard look at your Documents folder. Do you really need to keep everything that’s in it? Hanging onto files that you don’t need just makes it harder for you to find what you need. Not to forget, it also decreases the speed of your computer and clogs up storage!
Start by deleting duplicated files and move on to deleting files you don’t need. If you do not want to delete them completely, consider moving them into an external hard drive. Make sure to rename file names, so they are easy to find in one go.
📁 Old Programs
When you buy a computer, it already comes with several apps and programs, and chances are you’ve already added a bunch more to that number. While you’re in your digital-purge zone, uninstall all the apps and programs that you no longer need. If you haven’t used it in the last ten months or so, you probably don’t need it.
Keep in mind that uninstalling is different from deleting a shortcut from your desktop. Uninstalling apps frees space – simply deleting shortcuts doesn’t.
💻 Desktop Icons
Your desktop is the equivalent of your office desk. Just as a clean workspace allows you to concentrate on the task at hand, a clean desktop page will also make you feel less stressed. Pin your most-used icons to the taskbar at the bottom and keep only the bare essentials on your desktop. It can even be beneficial to keep similar programs in one section—for example, Microsoft Office programs in one area and Adobe Suite in the other.
Don’t underestimate the power of a clean desktop. You won’t ever know until you try it!
Decluttering photos is similar to the other steps we have discussed above. It may not seem like it, but pictures have a quick way of accumulating over time. Think of it like this – You wouldn’t want to keep bad/unnecessary photos in a physical photo album, so why should you keep them in your digital one?
The first step to cleaning out your albums is to delete any blurry photos, duplicates, low-quality ones or ones that don’t mean anything to you. Then, create separate albums and add the photos to them.
Take a look at your browser. How many bookmarks do you have saved? Way too many? Well then, it’s time to streamline your browser window by cleaning out your bookmarks. Analyse each bookmark and delete the ones you no longer use or need. Deleting is simple : Right Click > Delete.
Now once you’ve done that, use a folder system for quick navigation. Isn’t that the reason you bookmarked the page in the first place?
It’s now time to take out the trash, literally! Once you’ve deleted all those old files, photos and apps, they may be out of sight but are still lingering on your system, taking up space and waiting to be re-accessed. Nothing is gone until you delete it from your recycle bin.
Declutter and trash the trash!
Decluttering all these digital areas will undoubtedly take you a bit of time. But since your bookmarks are now clutter-free, just save this post there and come back to it whenever you want to!
Want to learn about staying safe online? Here are our best practices for password security!