Tips to declutter your digital life
QUESTION: What are your thoughts on digital clutter in comparison to physical clutter? Do you have any advice?
While digital clutter is not as problematic as physical clutter, it still needs to be addressed.
Even though it doesn’t take up physical space, digital clutter does tie up a lot of our mental space, contributing to increased mental drain — especially as our lives revolve more and more around anything digital. Physical clutter is “worse,” however, because of the fact that it ties up not only our mental energy, but our physical and emotional energy as well.
So just like your physical clutter, minimizing it will definitely help improve the “quality” of your life. Here are some areas and ideas to help you begin the process of consciously minimizing digital clutter and benefit by gaining greater clarity.
Email Inbox: In the same way that you remove the mail from your mailbox daily, apply this same habit to your email inbox. One thing that really helps is to answer an email immediately if you know it will take you less than two minutes. If it will take longer, move it to another “work in progress” folder. This way when you look at your inbox, you won’t feel as overwhelmed by visual clutter.
Past Documents: Take a look at your “Documents” folder. Do you need everything in there? Probably not. I bet you could discard half of the documents and not miss them. Sort your documents by date. Go to the beginning and start deleting obsolete folders or files.
Desktop Icons: Opening your computer to a clear desktop is akin to walking into work and sitting down at a clean desk. Remove as many icons and create folders for less-used icons so that your computer desktop looks “clean.” You’ll be so much more productive!
Photos: Make a decision to delete all photos and images that serve no purpose. Just like you wouldn’t put bad photographs in a physical album, don’t keep images just because you have the space on your hard drive to do so. Make it a habit to delete bad photos as you take them.
Contact information: Look through your contacts and delete old contacts and update current ones. This will ensure that your communication is efficient. After all, opportunities come through our contacts, so keeping this relevant and “in the present” will be to your advantage.
Email Marketing: Unsubscribe to any newsletters that are no longer of value to you. I use the app “unroll.me.” It’s free, and with one click you can unsubscribe to anything you don’t want. It helps you to efficiently sort through the rest of your subscriptions and only lets into your inbox what you do want. It “rolls up” the rest for future viewing.
Desktop Background: Select a minimalist background — one that does not clutter your eyes or mind. You will be surprised at how this will improve your attention span.
Do you have a question for Alice? If so, send it to alice@ yourhappinessu.com. Alice Inoue is the founder and Chief Happiness Officer at Happiness U, a friendly educational establishment, where you’ll find inspiring classes geared toward personal growth and self development. YourHappinessU.com.