Technology and social media are so very integrated into our lives these days, especially as students. Working full time, studying and running a blog I need make sure that the technology I use complements my needs. And, just like clutter on your desk or mess in your room, disorganised and messy technology can hold you back from being productive and working with a clear and focused mind. A simple declutter of your technological life is a fast and effective way to eliminate distractions and gain a fresh mindset, allowing you to do your best work.
Decluttering is about getting rid of what you don’t want or need, and simplifying everything that you see. It makes everything you see something that you want to see, something that makes your life brighter or inspires you. The aim today is to apply the same technique to our technology in a kind of “spring clean”. The effect that decluttering technology can have on your life is pretty amazing and, with a few simple tasks, I think that you’ll notice the difference too.
For me, email gets cluttered so easily. In fact, I always feel like I spend more time deleting pointless emails in my inbox than actually reading them! My biggest weakness is “brochure” type emails from clothing and other retail stores. I usually sign up to them to get that all important “10% discount code if you sign up to our online newsletter!” and then just never bother to unsubscribe if I’m no longer interested in them. Getting rid of emails you no longer want to receive saves important emails from getting lost in your inbox.
So, let’s keep the process simple. Starting at the top of your inbox:
- Ask yourself if you want to keep the email. If yes, create a folder for the category (something like university or work) and file it away. If no, delete it.
- Next, ask yourself if you want to keep receiving emails like this. Generally, important emails such as those for your study or work you won’t have to worry about, because they won’t be the ones spamming you with daily emails. Any sign-up brochure type newsletters that you don’t want to receive anymore will require you to unsubscribe. This can be done by clicking the unsubscribe link that is usually located at the bottom of an email. It’s just a click, so there’s no excuse not to do it!
- After you’ve done that, search your inbox from all emails from that email address and delete all those old newsletters that are sitting in there.
- Then just keep going until your inbox is clear and all those important emails that you want to keep are filed nicely into folders.
Once you’ve cleared out your inbox, it’s a good idea to get used to deleting/sorting emails as they come in. This keeps your inbox fresh and stops it from getting cluttered all over again. You’ll never miss an important email due to clutter again!
If you have a number of email addresses in your technological life that aren’t necessarily separated for a reason, consider combining them. For example, I used to have a few variations of personal email addresses that I used to sign up to newsletters for stores (I’m realising now that I might have a serious online shopping problem…) but there was no reason for me to have more than one personal account. Consider shutting down accounts you don’t need (after making sure that nothing important is being sent there) or forwarding all your emails to a single one.
Since phones are pretty much the gravitational centre of our technological life, it’s important to keep them organised so that we can use them to their maximum potential. First thing you want to do is look at the apps on your phone. Which ones have you downloaded and never used? If you’ve never used an app, delete it. If you haven’t used an app in years, delete it. You want every app on your phone to be something that you use, otherwise it’s just taking up unnecessary space that you could be using for other things. Remember, you can always re-download something if you ever need it again. If you have similar apps that do the same thing (for instance if you have 2 calendar apps or multiple to-do list apps) use only one. It’s not only better for organising your phone, but also easier for you to manage.
Photos are the next thing. Does anyone else do the thing where they only need to take one photo of something, but end up taking like ten of the same thing? Oh man, am I ever guilty of this. It’s not necessarily a bad thing if you delete the photos that you don’t need. Which I never do. And that’s the reason my phone is always so cluttered with photos and I keep getting that annoying little pop that says “storage almost full”. There are a two ways to combat this:
- delete duplicate photos that you don’t need
- transfer photos to your computer and store them there.
Clears up your phone AND gives you room to take more photos. Win-win!
Since computers are something else that most people use daily we want to clean these regularly as well. Think about it: If you have a messy room and you’re looking for something it’s going to take you longer than usual to find it. And even then you fall susceptible to the old “Oh! Look at this other thing that I found that isn’t what I was looking for but definitely is going to distract me“. The same thing occurs with computers. If you find yourself wasting time when you go to open a paper to work on, only to spend half an hour going through old photos from that holiday in 2011, then it’s time for a clean out.
This might be a bigger task because we tend to store a lot of our technological life on our computers, but it’s well worth spending the time on it. If you took the step of the moving all your photos from your phone to your computer, make sure you go through them and delete duplicates or any that you don’t need. In fact, do this with all photos/images on your computer. Delete anything you don’t need or want anymore. Put your photos into folders so you can easily find them when you need them.
Next, go through your documents as well and delete anything you don’t need. How many of you still have old assignments from 6 years ago sitting on your computer? Unless you can think of a valid reason to hang onto them – Delete them. Create folders to organise everything you keep. It’s a great idea to have a folder labelled for the year (or semester and year), and then include a folder for each class so you know exactly where to go when you need anything.
Decluttering your technological life isn’t just about clearing out the physical memory of your items. You can also declutter your social media! I use social media to connect with friends, but I also use it to find inspiration and motivation in my everyday life, my work and my blog. This means I want to open a platform like Instagram and immediately be shown pictures that I love.
Most social media algorithms are extremely smart now and show you things based on what you have previously liked or interacted with. But you still need to follow the right accounts and people. So, if you feel like you want to revamp your social media and be inspired by new things, check what you’re following. Unfollow accounts that don’t inspire you and find some new ones. If you have too many friends on Facebook either remove those you don’t see or talk to, or utilise the option of not showing their updates on your feed.
Declutter your technological life!
What are you waiting for? Get started today by spending just five minutes deleting a few things you don’t need. This kind of organisation will simplify your technological life and allow you to focus on what you want. Really, these are just some of the ways you get rid of the clutter and there are so many different things you can clean out, you just have to spend a little time on it. Following even one of these tips can make it easier to stay on top of everything. With clearer, more organised technology in your life, you can focus on what matters, and put your time and effort into the important things.
Got another way that you like to keep your technological life clutter-free? Leave a comment below and tell me about it!
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