As if managing paper clutter wasn’t enough, digital clutter can also be hindrance to your life and productivity. What is digital clutter? Word documents, multiple versions of a file, photos – JPG, PDFs, video files, everywhere in your hard drive and/or phone. Originally it was okay to save everything since we had unlimited space, right? But having lots of digital clutter can add the same, if not more, stress than a huge pile of papers.
If you find yourself wasting time looking for files, sorting through emails, or just feeling like your pictures are all over the place, it may be time to take control of your digital assets:
- Prevent It From Coming In – Treat digital items with the same sort of diligence as you would with mail or telemarketers. Get your email on anti-spam lists, unenroll from recurring emails, and only download attachments that you plan on using.
- Take Control of Email – Find a simple system for Eliminating Email Overload. A lot of digital clutter can stem from email, so having a good system will spread to other things you do.
- Design Your Ideal Folder System – Spend a few minutes outlining how you would best organize your files, based on your priorities. Sometimes we fall into the trap of setting up files based on daily necessity, which can lead to duplicate folders and a general lack of direction or vision. Click here for step-by-step instructions on how to design a folder system.
- Have a Backup System – Invest in an external drive or cloud service to back up your files, photos, and movies regularly. Having the peace of mind that everything is being saved for just in case, will help you feel more comfortable with only saving files that are really important.
- Keep Work and Home Separate – Have a separate email address for buying things, personal emails, and separate file folders for personal and work documents. Keeping these items separate allows you to focus on work and remain professional. Remember that if you are employed by a business, government, or institution they do not want a footprint of your personal life on their equipment.
So with a few simple steps and some planning, you can take control of your digital assets. Looking for more tips and tricks to minimize digital clutter? Click here for more ideas from Becoming Minimalist.