June 8, 2016
Organizing clutter is an ongoing battle for most people.
Accumulating stuff seems to be the default mode, and over the years it can get out of hand. Back in the day, that meant the closet or the desk, but nowadays, it also means your computer and any other gadget you use regularly. Digital technology has made life easier, no doubt, but it has also made it a lot messier.
If you have been remiss about organizing your digital life, then you have a big problem. You will have to deal with it sooner or later, and sooner is better. Here are 10 tips for organizing your digital life using digital tools to make it more manageable.
Upgrade your software
Does your computer crash often or your apps stop working all of a sudden?
This might mean you have not updated your software. In most cases, software developers provide updates on their software for a reason: the old ones don’t work so well. Ignoring prompts or deferring updates to some other time merely means you are working with programs that may be costing you time and resources.
You may also be vulnerable to security breaches without knowing it. You can become more productive and secure if you take the time to update all your regular programs and apps whenever available, instead of waiting until you have to.
Clean up your inbox
Yes, it has to be done. An overstuffed inbox not only causes stress, but you might even miss important e-mails.
You can easily cut down on your inbox clutter by using apps that filter incoming e-mails, such as Google Inbox for Gmail users. To unsubscribe in bulk try a tool such as Unroll.Me.
Of course, you still have to set the parameters, but it sure beats clicking a box for the 3,000th unread messages in your inbox.
Clean up your desk(top)
The only things that should be on your desktop are your recycle bin and shortcuts to your most frequently used apps. If you can hardly see your desktop through the mess of icons, you definitely need to check out Fences for Windows or Synchronize! Pro for Mac.
Clean up the system cache
Everything you do leaves a footprint in your system cache, so you want to wipe it clean. You can use Disk Cleaner, which is built into Windows 10, or find an app like Dr. Cleaner for Mac.
Clean up temp files
Most people ignore temp files because they are out of sight, but a lot of them can slow you down. You usually get rid most of these every time you reboot your computer, but not all, and over time it can accumulate. Use CCleaner regularly to find and remove temp files your computer creates every time you open a website, create or modify a file, or download stuff.
Remove old files
Remove documents, images, videos, downloads, and contacts you have not used in months or years. You can back them up in an external hard drive or the cloud (you can use Bittorent Sync for this, which is free for personal use, and has no size limit) if you feel anxious about losing something before deleting them permanently from your system. Yes, that includes your photos. Your computer should have a built-in app for making backups. Do this at least once a year to keep your computers and smart phones working at peak levels.
Uninstall old software
Maybe you had a printer that died a couple of months back, and you have a new one now. You will not need the old software, obviously, so go ahead and uninstall it. In Windows, go to Control Panel, click on Program and Features, and uninstall that and anything else you see that you never use. In Mac, head on over to Home, click on Library then Application Support, and drag and drop all the apps you don’t want.
Organize your files
Now that you have removed all the stuff you don’t need, you still have to organize whatever’s left. You can do it the old-fashioned way, creating folders and putting stuff in, or you can use FreeCommander for Windows or FastCommander for Mac.
Organize as you go
Now that everything is in place, and there is a place for everything, make sure you don’t start making problems for yourself again. New files need to be put in the right folders as they come in. Delete old files as you receive updated versions, archive photos and back them up to the cloud, and clean up your inbox on a daily basis. This is the only way you can keep up and be productive.
There is no reason to become overwhelmed with a cluttered digital life. You can use a plethora of digital tools, many of which are free, to help you become and stay organized. It might be painful at the start, but you have to do it. Once you do, you will be much more relaxed and productive.
Mary Kleim is a creative writer. She is working for several online projects. One of them is a writing service AssignmentMasters. She uses her knowledge of productivity to keep life balance. In the future she is planning to launch her blog dedicated to self-development.