The end of a year is a great time to clear the clutter from your life, which allows you to start the new year fresh. Many people use this time to declutter their physical belongings to make room for new items they acquired over the holidays. As the world becomes more digital it’s important to step back and declutter our digital life too. In this post, I share my tips to do just that, including ways to clean up your mobile phone, cloud storage, and your computer.
Why is Visual Clutter Bad?
An article featured on the website newsGP documented the negative effects that visual clutter can have on the brain. Our brains naturally are drawn to order. Visual clutter and disorganization increases mental overload and can reduce our working memory, making it harder to focus. It can also lead to feelings of increased anxiousness and stress.
We spend so much time connected to our devices, that we may not realize they are creating added stress.
Benefits of a Digital Declutter
Clearing visual clutter from your environment increases your ability to focus and process information, which can lead to increased productivity, and an overall feeling of less stress.
My reason to declutter my digital space is to reduce the amount of visual clutter in my life and to make my online space more efficient (less junk to sort through before getting to the important stuff).
Digital Declutter Your Smart Phone
I just upgraded my Google Pixel 2XL to the new Pixel Pro 6. Google makes it really easy to transfer your info from old to new, but instead, I used this as an opportunity to clean out the garbage that has accumulated over the last 3+ years, and only port over what was still serving me.
You don’t need to wait until you upgrade your phone to declutter it. Now is as good a time as any, so pick up your phone, find a cozy, comfy place with minimal distractions and follow these simple tips.
- Review the Apps on your phone and delete any that you are no longer using.
- Organize your frequently used Apps into folders. I have folders for Health, Travel, Shopping, Banking, Google, Social Media. I like using folders to keep the screen looking clean. Apps I don’t use frequently but I still have a need for are not placed on the home screen.
- Turn off notifications on Apps. I turned off all notifications, except to emails and fitness tracker. I don’t want to be bombarded with notifications throughout the day.
- Use a cloud storage service to free up space on your phone. I use Google’s Drive for files and Google Photos for pictures. These sync seamlessly and I can access from any of my devices. Other cloud storage servies include Dropbox, Microsoft OneDrive for Android users and iCloud for Apple users.
- Choose a background that “sparks joy” to increase the pleasant experience you have with your phone.
- Now that your phone is decluttered it’s time to put it down. Check your screen time in your phones settings. I was surprised at how much screen time I was racking up in my free time. I am going to make an effort to put down my phone more and find activities that don’t require a screen.
Digital Declutter Your Online Space
Your online space includes your digital memberships, subscriptions, and social media accounts – basically any online presence you have.
- Unsubscribe to newsletters/promo emails you don’t read – Tip in your email inbox search bar, enter the word unsubscribe. Most subcription based content will contain the word unsubscribe making it easier to scroll through your emails. I’ve been doing this over the last week and to my surprise I’ve already unsubscribed from at least 30 newsletters that I was receiveing and not reading because they no longer served me.
- Scroll through your social media accounts (facebook, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube…) and unfollow or unsubcribe to any account that no longer serves you, that includes friends and family members. If you don’t want to unsubscribe you can always turn off the notifications (or mute them) so that they don’t appear in your feed.
- There has been a surge in cyber hacks. Now is a good time to review your online accounts. This will be easier if you use a Password Manager, scan the websites you have listed and update the passwords or delete or close the account if you haven’t used it in a while.
- Go through your favourites or saved websites in your web browser and remove any site you no longer visit.
Digital Declutter Your Computer
- Cleanup the desktop. I run my business using a Microsoft Surface Pro 8. This is also my personal laptop. I like keeping the desktop clean. I have 2 folders – one labeled Personal where I save all my personal files, and one labeled Blog where I temporarily save all my blog files and content.
- Choose a background that makes you happy. I choose a theme that has a black background that rotates between 18 animal portraits, mainly because it is a minimal design and animals make me happy.
- Backup important files. Because I save all content on the desktop in either the Personal or Blog folders, it is super easy to backup the folders. I backup to an external hard drive. I have one for my personal lfiles and one for my business.
- Remove programs you no longer use or need, like last years Tax program, or old games. This frees up space and makes it easier locating programs in the menu.
Save for later!
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