Detox Your Computer
Digital clutter slows down your computer over time and leaves you with little space to store your files and personal data, which is why a routine e-clean up is necessary for top performance.
But this clutter is also a huge, often invisible productivity-killer. The way you set up your desktop, browser, and file folders can easily be distracting you and weakening your productivity; if you’ve always had the same set up, you may not even realize how the clutter affects you and quite possibly could be adding unnecessary stress to your day.
Below are 10 digital decluttering projects to streamline your virtual workspace.
Declutter your digital documents
Go through all your documents and delete any that you no longer need
Resist the “just in case” syndrome — do you really need those old essays, or those notes from now obsolete projects? Didn’t think so.
If you have a lot of files and/or feel overwhelmed, organize them by date and start with the oldest documents.
Break the process down into chunks so you don’t get worn out.
Unsubscribe from email lists/newsletters
Stop thinking “I may need these deals/this newsletter later!”, you won’t.
Best newsletters to unsubscribe from: online shopping deals. They’re constant and clog up your inbox. Try sites like RetailMeNot to check up on online shopping deals.
If you MUST keep some kind of newsletter for a particular site/group, update your email preferences to receive fewer updates. There’s usually a link at the bottom of newsletters to edit your email preferences (some only offer the option to unsubscribe completely, however).
Extra tip: For the next week or two, every time you get a newsletter open it and either unsubscribe or adjust preferences, that way you won’t get lost and overwhelmed sorting through your inbox in one go.
Clear out your downloads
If you’ve never cleaned up your Downloads folder, it’s probably taking up a good amount of storage on your computer. Again, if you’re overwhelmed by the sheer volume, sort files by date and delete in chunks.
Time saver: If you’ve already backed up all important files, you can simply delete the entire contents of your Downloads folder
Clean up your bookmarks
Streamline your browser window by cleaning out your bookmarks.
Delete what you can, then save the rest with apps like Evernote or Pocket.
Delete rarely used accounts
A great way to cut down on emails sent, time wasted, and passwords to keep track of is deleting accounts that aren’t necessary and that you don’t use often.
Get rid of unused programs.
If you have dozens of programs installed, but only use about 25 percent of them, uninstall the ones you don’t use.
Open “Add/Remove Programs” from the “Control Panel” and uninstall old programs. Make sure you don’t uninstall essential programs. If you are unsure of what a program does, try looking it up online to see if it’s necessary for your computer.
Delete files for which you have no use
If you make a document file for every note you need to take, delete them once you’ve used them. Remove any duplicate files. Print files you need to keep for record purposes so that you can delete them, or store them on a separate flash drive or external hard drive.
Empty your recycle bin & Clean up your hard drive
The recycle bin may hold several gigabytes of material that is not being used. By emptying the bin, you will free hard drive space and may give your computer a speed boost.
Clean up your hard drive. Click on “Start” and select “Accessories.” Select “System Tools.” Click “Disk Cleanup” to remove temporary Internet files, system error logs and other files that can be safely removed from your computer.
Detox your desktop
Do you have a file — whether it be a spreadsheet or PowerPoint presentation — you use a couple times a week? You should probably keep those around on your Desktop, but almost everything else should go somewhere else.
Delete or move files off your desktop if they’re not in use. Put documents into folders based on their subject. Photos, music and video files also should have an organized place on your computer.
Take files from your desktop and add them to folders. This will make your desktop look much cleaner and make it easier to find files.
Invent a file-naming system
Perhaps the best way to prevent all future mishaps is create a simple file-naming system that incorporates both a date and a useful description. just use short, clear names for you and be consistent with the style or format you use.
Before you save something new, remember to first ask yourself “how will I search for this in the future?” A simple solution is to put the noun first, such as ‘Insurance, Auto;’ ‘Insurance, Homeowners;’ ‘Insurance, Medical.’” By placing the noun first in the file name you reduce time spent searching and stressing.
Once you get your computer in a more organized state, take care to maintain this order. Try doing a small cleanup of your computer once a week, or at least every few weeks. Be diligent about organization and only install programs that you know you’ll use often.
Computers are powerful productivity machines, but like anything else, they must be organized from time to time to remain dependable and easy to use. Take these small steps and you can prevent plenty of headaches in the future.