Checklist for getting sorted before the end of the year!
Digital clutter is a huge, often invisible productivity-killer (as well as slowing down your computer over time). Before you have time off at the end of the year spend a little time decluttering so you can start fresh in the new year.
Declutter your digital documents
Go through all your documents and delete any that you no longer need
Resist the “just in case” syndrome — do you really need those old essays, or those notes from now obsolete projects? Didn’t think so
If you have a lot of files and/or feel overwhelmed, organise them by date and start with the oldest documents. Break the process down into chunks so you don’t get worn out.
Make a Zen desktop
Just like a clean desk helps you focus and be productive, so does a clean desktop:
Clean up the folders and files on your desktop
Get consistent with naming: develop some naming conventions and stick to them
Stop using your desktop as a default save location. Don’t put a mess in front of your face all day by using the desktop as a save location Choose a default save folder that you can sort regularly
Set a recurring task in your task manager or calendar to go through the default folder, clean it out and move everything to its permanent home
Find a minimalist/calm background. A new study has found that just looking at still images of nature is enough ‘natural’ stimulus to lower our stress levels.
Unsubscribe from email list/newsletters
Stop thinking “I may need these deals/this newsletter later!”, you won’t
If you MUST keep some kind of newsletter for a particular site/group, update your email preferences to receive fewer updates. There’s usually a link at the bottom of newsletters to edit your email preferences (some only offer the option to unsubscribe completely, however)
For those you really can’t do without some newsletters set up mail box rules to move items from certain senders or with certain words straight into another folder for review later
For the next week or two, every time you get a newsletter open it and either unsubscribe or adjust preferences (or set up a move into another folder rule), that way you won’t get lost and overwhelmed sorting through your inbox in one go.
Clean out your downloads
If you’ve never cleaned up your Downloads folder, it’s probably taking up a good amount of storage on your computer
Again, if you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume, sort files by date and delete in chunks
Time saver: If you’ve already backed up all important files, you can simply delete the entire contents of your Downloads folder
Clean up your bookmarks
Streamline your browser window by cleaning out your bookmarks, keeping only those you need regularly. clean-up tools exist for both Firefox and Chrome to save you the effort.
Organise and delete images
Organise your photos into folders by date and/or event
Put them in a cloud drive so you don’t have to store them on your computer. (OneDrive is a good place to keep pictures and other documents)
Delete any photos that are poor quality or unimportant.
Remember to pace yourself through these tasks so you don’t feel overwhelmed. Use a task manager to schedule and organise the above tasks, or copy and paste the above tasks/checklist to a document. Happy digital decluttering!