De-clutter these five digital dumps

Desk clutter
By Eleanor O'Neill, Student Blog

2 February 2017

A cluttered office or messy workstation can have a negative impact on productivity and add to stress in the workplace. But what about your digital desktop?

Overflowing inboxes, persistent notifications and a disorganised virtual file room can be just as distracting and time-consuming on-screen as their physical counterparts.

Here are five areas of your digital life that you should really de-clutter.

1. Desktop

When you log on in the morning, are you greeted by neatly arranged rows of icons for the programs essential to your work?

If not, you may want to consider removing seldom-clicked shortcuts and rearranging your desktop layout to keep frequently used applications together.

A change to your background may be in order too. Try out a minimalist wallpaper that's easy on the eyes.

2. Programs

How many software updates have you delayed, indefinitely in the last month? Waiting for things to process and, in some cases, re-start may be a short-term annoyance but will help your computer perform better in the long run.

Also, consider uninstalling programs you don't need or use anymore to free up space on your hard drive. Remember to liaise with IT before doing this to a work laptop! 

To do a more in-depth tidy of miscellaneous software, go to Start > Accessories > System Tools and select Disc Cleanup. On Macs, you can either assess disc space manually or download an app like Disk Cleanup Pro to sift through on your behalf.

3. Folders and files

Rather than over-using your search bar, have a good clear out and think about how you organise your files.

Make sure all your folders have relevant names and are actually needed. You know you have a good system when a stranger could navigate their way through with relative ease.

You could also probably get rid of a decent number of old documents and media as well.

4. Email

Be honest, is your email inbox overflowing? A good rule of thumb is to answer anything that will take less than two minutes and file the more time-consuming stuff away until the end of the day.

For extra help to keep on top of things, SaneBox filters mail like newsletters, subscription services and social media updates into a separate folder, and sends you a summary.

There are also some simple steps you can take to silence notifications and set reminders.

5. Switching off

The best way to avoid distractions while working is to exit unnecessary windows and programs altogether. Do you really need your internet browser open while you type up a document? Should your email be keeping you from filling in that spreadsheet?

Limiting how many things you have taking up your screen at once can go a long way toward helping you focus on the task at hand.

Did you find this useful? How cluttered is your digital life? Tell us in the comments below.


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