“For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” ―Benjamin Franklin
Spring has arrived and so comes the task of Spring Cleaning. Eliminating physical clutter is a great way to start fresh and create a cozy and inspiring workplace, but there’s one aspect of clutter that often gets overlooked: digital clutter.
There’s no denying that we easily let our digital space become overwhelmed and disorganized, but it’s just as important to clean it out if we want to stay productive.
Here are six simple steps to develop an organizational workflow that streamlines your file storage process and improves your efficiency.
1. Email Efficiency
Time to tackle that inbox! You remove the mail from your mailbox every day, so why not apply the same principle here?
If you can answer an email in less than two minutes, do it right away. If it will take longer, move it into a “work in progress” folder.
You can also make archive folders for every aspect of your life (“Work,” “Friends,” “Travel,” “Bills,” etc.) and move all of your read mail to the appropriate folder once you’ve gone through it.
2. Dig into those Documents
Now it’s time to dig into your folders and start to do some deep cleaning.
Organize your documents in whatever system is most logical for you (folders labeled “Taxes”, “Resumes”, “Creative Writing”, etc.).
Similarly, with photos and videos, you’ll want to create subfolders for both years and events.
If you don’t want to delete certain files completely, consider moving them into an archive folder so they don’t clutter your most-used document folders anymore.
3. Desktop Decluttering
There’s nothing more distracting than logging onto your computer and seeing a desktop covered with random files, application shortcuts, and folders. Put important documents into folders, sort through your media, and delete all your shortcuts.
Once you finish you can even swap out your wallpaper for a fresh, new start. A clean desktop clears your workspace and allows you to concentrate on the task at hand.
4. Uninstall Old Programs
Chances are, your computer came with dozens of programs already installed, and you’ve likely added to that number.
While you’re doing your digital purge, take the time to uninstall any outdated software or programs that you no longer use. If you haven’t accessed it in the last year, you probably don’t need it.
5. Social Media Sendoff
How many Facebook groups do you belong to? Are they still providing value to you? If not, unsubscribe from them. The same is true for business pages you have liked or followed, if they are no longer useful to you, it’s time to say sayonara.
What about friends you barely know that you are following? If they aren’t a regular part of your life, unfollow. You don’t have to unfriend, you can simply unfollow and they’ll never know. This way your feed is not being cluttered with posts you have no interest in.
6. Get in the Groove
As you clean up your digital clutter you will be amazed at all the ways it helps you regain your focus. Just like removing physical clutter, removing digital clutter clears space to allow you to spend time on what adds value to life.
Devoting a few minutes each week to clearing out some digital clutter will help you feel calmer and keep you at maximum productivity.