January Reset: 9 Helpful Tips for Digital Decluttering
Be honest. When was the last time you cleared out your inbox? How’s your downloads folder looking? Have you hit 15,000 photos on your phone yet?
Clutter doesn’t just build up in our physical lives – our devices also need a bit of attention to keep them organised.
In this week’s blog, we’ll guide you through a simple digital January reset.
Start with a digital inventory
Before diving straight in, assess the situation. Take stock of your devices, accounts, and files.
Check your laptop, your work device, your smartphone, your tablet; whatever you use on a regular basis. Then consider the digital spaces within those devices that should be prioritised, which could be your image library, your mailbox, or your cloud storage.
Once you know what needs to be done, you can work out your priorities and build a plan of action.
Organise your files and folders
A well-structured file organisation system will not only help you organise your existing files but will help you keep them tidy going forward. Use clear, intuitive folder names and categorise files logically. Colour coding can help quickly identify different subjects. Folders should be no more than two-three deep to keep files accessible.
Delete or archive files you don’t need anymore and back up all important data to a cloud service.
Clean up your email inbox
It’s not unusual for inboxes to be bursting at the seams with irrelevant correspondence. The amount of emails we receive today makes it almost a full time job keeping an inbox in order. A full on inbox clear-out would take some serious time, but here are some quick ways to help you declutter:
- Unsubscribe from newsletters or promotional emails that aren’t providing any value. You can make it a habit to unsubscribe as and when these emails come in to gradually reduce the amount of newsletters appearing in your inbox over the course of the year.
- Use filters and labels to sort your emails by sender, subject or priority.
- Archive or delete old or irrelevant emails.
- Set up a folder or label for the current year, quarter, or month, and move your emails there. This will break your emails up into more manageable chunks that can be easily organised.
- Don’t forget to refresh your email signature to ensure it has all your correct information.
If you need assistance organising your Outlook, reach out to our Digital Productivity Consultant and Trainer, Tonia Meakin. She’s an expert in all things Microsoft and will help you stay organised, efficient, and productive, in Outlook and beyond.
Clean up your social media
Most of us have multiple social media accounts and it can be difficult to keep them organised. Accounts can easily become overrun with unread messages, posts, notifications and spam. To declutter your social media accounts, here are a few quick steps you can take:
- Delete or deactivate accounts that you don’t use or need.
- Unfollow or mute accounts that don’t add value to your life, or make you feel down.
- Clear your message inboxes and delete any spam or unwanted messages.
- Delete or archive posts that you don’t want to keep.
- Adjust your privacy and notification settings to suit your preferences.
Review your subscriptions
This next one will not only help you organise your digital life but could also save you money. Review all your subscriptions and cancel any you don’t need or use anymore. This includes streaming services, membership sites, cloud services, and applications. Checking your bank statements could help you identify any subscriptions you’d forgotten about.
Along similar lines, review all your online accounts. Delete unused accounts, update passwords and implement multi-factor authentication if available.
Review and delete unused apps
Apps can clutter your device, deplete storage, harvest your data and drain battery. Reviewing your apps and deleting the ones you seldom use can help you optimise device performance. If you’re deleting an app, ensure you cancel your subscription or deactivate your account too.
Old, unused apps can also pose a security risk. If you’re not using it, it’s likely outdated and vulnerable to compromise. Make sure to keep all your apps updated – security updates are brought out constantly to correct any vulnerabilities or bugs.
Clear your desktop and downloads folder
A cluttered desktop and downloads folder can have a huge impact on productivity, as well as slowing down your device due to storage issues. Move files to appropriate folders rather than leaving them to rot in your downloads folder. This creates a clean, distraction-free workspace, speeds up your computer and saves you time because you’ll be able to find things more easily.
Excessive notifications can overwhelm and distract. You may feel like you’re not getting anything done because of constant interruptions. Customising app notifications to suit you can minimise distractions and help you get more done with your day. Similarly, you can turn off work-related notifications outside of work hours to ensure you aren’t distracted by work-related matters in your downtime.
Invest in digital tools
Use productivity apps and tools. Project management apps, note-taking tools, and calendars help streamline tasks and enhance efficiency. I wrote about my favourites here.
Need Help with Data Management Solutions
Here’s to stepping into the new year with a clear, focused mind and a more organised digital life. We can help you keep your data under control with effective data storage, backup, and management solutions, as well as productivity training to help you get the most out of your applications. Contact us to schedule a chat.