It’s been almost 40 years since personal computers made their way into our homes. It’s been over 25 years since the first smart phone was launched. Both devices revolutionized the world and continue to change every day life.
No different than a drawer, a closet or your car, computers require maintenance, too. In celebration of National Clean Out Your Computer Day, we’re sharing tricks, best practices, and tips to reduce digital clutter in your life.
Let’s dive right into that inbox. First, let’s tackle junk. If you’re email is littered with things you don’t read, whether you once signed up to receive it or not, get rid of it by unsubscribing.
Unfortunately, not all unsubscribes are treated equal.
Today, many mail providers make unsubscribing to unwanted mail as seamless as possible by offering the option to opt out at the top of each email.Refer to image one below. It’s transparent and easy. Image two depicts the more challenging method, which requires you to scroll all the way to the bottom and find the word “unsubscribe” buried in fine print. For tidy inboxes, this isn’t such a big deal but, if you are a victim of spam, it can get tedious. If you fall into the latter, a quick method of removing unwanted emails from your inbox is to go through and select everything that is spam, then send it to your “junk” folder. Not only will this remove unwanted mail from your inbox, but going forward, the sender will be flagged as spam and skip your inbox all-together.
Now that you have reduced your inbox to only what you wish to receive, let’s talk email management.
It is best practice to keep work and personal email separate. Not only does it help promote separation and balance, it also safeguards your personal information. No matter how much you love your job, or how long you have been there, things happen. Emails received to your work domain and documents saved on work devices are considered company-owned. Store those financial sheets and medical records somewhere else!
To keep emails organized, utilize an inbox filing system.
The best method for staying on top of decluttering emails is not letting them live in your inbox. Think of your inbox as a to-do list allowing only items that require further action to live there. For example, you’ve read the email but don’t have time to reply. Let it live in the inbox to act a reminder. If an email is for information only, which requires no response but should be retained, like medical records, create a home for such documents to live. With a system in place, your day-to-day inbox becomes manageable and older, important documents are exactly where they are supposed to be. No more digging!
Got Gunk? The best way to clean your device’s screen is with a microfiber cloth. Use the same cloth, now slightly damp, to wipe down the keyboard, mouse, etc.
Review & Purge. Get into the habit of reviewing downloads, files and photos weekly. Send what you no longer need to the trash.
Back It Up. So, you have 5,000 photos on your phone or computer and you’re determined to keep them all. Okay, but do you really need them all on your actual phone? You can store them on an external hard drive or leverage services you already use and pay for, like Apple and Amazon Prime, to store photos and more. Here’s a recent article on best places to store photos, both paid and free. Not only will your device preform better, with more free space, but photos remain forever saved.
What are some of your tips to reduce digital clutter in your life? Share in the comments below!