(OPINION EDITORIAL) One of the easiest ways to boost creativity and productivity is to do a spot of cleaning- both physically and digitally.
As more and more of our lives have moved digitally – our hard drives and cloud storage have become the 21st century junk drawer. It’s about time for some spring…er…autumn cleaning, and one of the places that could use straightening up is our tech.
Digital clutter not only eats up memory – a premium on phones or tablets, but it slows us down, makes us feel like we have too much going on, and blocks the gorgeous photos that we set as our wallpaper. Here’s a few tips/ideas to help jumpstart your list:
1. CLEAN THAT DESKTOP
Like a messy workspace, a dirty desktop on your mac or pc looks terrible! Clean up those files and folders, and delete those application shortcuts you don’t need. Put a nice zen or minimalist background (or a picture of your dog/child/Subaru) to show off that shine.
Smart Folders – Set up your folders and documents in a good folder system. Organize by subject or date, and know when to toss old files. A logical folder system means you don’t waste time hunting through things.
For the most part, we receive way more retailer notices then we can ever use. If you find yourself ignoring those, just go ahead and unsubscribe – or at least reduce the email in the preferences options found at the bottom of every email. You can also junk old RSS feeds!
3. Toss the Downloads
The downloads folder in your mac or pc gets anything you pull from a browser. That’s often a digital junk drawer that takes up a lot of space on your hard drive. Sort by date, and either delete or organize what’s in that folder.
4. Cut the Lights and Sound
If you have movies or music you don’t listen to, delete it from your phone or hard drive space. Chances are, most major media services remember your purchase and can be downloaded or streamed in the future.
5. Close or Forward unused email accounts
If you have unused email accounts that you don’t want, either close the account or forward to an active email – this is especially great for those university emails that you don’t remember your password to because you graduated in five or ten years ago.
6. Slow that Camera Roll
Your camera roll on your phone is another big user of space. Delete any photos that are poor quality or that have no value. Import or organize your photos in something like Dropbox or Google Drive if you need to make space.
7. Clear out your inbox
That little red notification icon on my iPhone drives me crazy. Regularly keeping your inbox clean can not only help you find emails easier, but ensure you don’t miss a bill or important communication.
8. Use email filtering
If you can’t bring yourself to empty your inbox, use filtering to move emails to certain folders, like IMPORTANT, IGNORE, COUPONS, etc. Filtering tools exist in Gmail, Exchange, and iCloud Mail.
9. Uninstall Applications and Software
If you have software you don’t use on your computer – take it off. You can always download it again. If you’ve been afraid of deleting Flappy Bird from your phone – it’s okay. You can always re-download purchased phone apps as well.
10. Delete the Social Media Noise
If you have friends, pages, and follows on Facebook or twitter that don’t bring you any value, cut them out. Or be liberal with the unfollow/unsubscribe/mute functions.
Get to it, Lars
In many ways, digital clutter is just as bad for us as physical clutter. It detracts from our enjoyment and takes us away from the content and work we want to get to. Take a few minutes, cut the kilobytes, and don’t let tech take your time. Get cleaning!