Your digital space is kind of like your offline one – if you don’t pay close attention, it can start to get cluttered, disorganised and difficult to use. I’ve noticed that in order to be my happiest, most productive self, I have to be really purposeful with the way I’m using my devices. By carefully curating our space, we ensure that there are less distractions and that our phones works with us, rather than against us.
Why You Should Declutter Your Devices
It makes you more productive – Think about it, if you can’t find your keys, it’s going to take you a lot longer to get out of the house and to where you need to be. It’s the same for your digital space. When everything has a place, you’ll spend less time wading through files trying to find the right thing, and more time actually get stuff done.
It makes you happier – Digital decluttering doesn’t just involve deleting old emails, it also involves deleting the things that cause you unhappiness. For example, maybe you’ve got old photos of a previous toxic relationship, or you follow people online who make you feel bad about yourself. We use our digital devices for hours every single day, so the things we see really have an effect on us. A regular digital declutter can put us in a more positive headspace.
1. Clear Your Deskptop
First thing’s first, it’s time to clear your desktop. This is one of those high traffic spaces on our computers that can quickly fill up, distracting us from the more important things. Delete all of the random downloads and screenshots that have been automatically dumped there and organise any ‘loose’ documents into folders. Once you’ve got a nice, clean desktop, why not add a new screensaver? I created a vision board that I use as my background. Whenever things get cluttered, I realise that I can’t see my board properly which motivates me to have a spring clean again. You can find loads of motivating screensavers on Pinterest.
2. Delete Your Downloads File
Another place that fills up with random photos, files, and documents quicker than you can click your fingers. Go through your downloads file, deleting all of the things that you no longer need and putting anything you’d like to keep into the appropriate folder.
3. Organise Your Documents into Folders
If your documents section is just a long list without any rhyme or reason, it’s time to make a change. First of all, create a group of folders that can house different areas of you life. These might be things like: school, business, goals, travel, etc. Then create folders within these main folders to further organise your documents. You could do this by class for your school folder, or location for your travel folder. Next go through each and every document, naming it something actually useful, rather than whatever you could be bothered to type when you were saving it. Pop each document into the correct folder, so that you know exactly where to find it in future. It’s time consuming but worth it, I promise!
4. Zero Your Inbox and Unsubscribe from Emails
Ah the dreaded inbox. It’s best to just pop on a podcast and face this one head-on. Reply to emails that require it, delete the ones that don’t. File important ones that you may need to refer to in future e.g. contracts, invoices, bills etc. As you’re organising, unsubscribe from anything that is filling up your inbox unnecessarily, particularly sales emails. You don’t need ASOS to show you ‘what’s new’ every day. We’ve all been there. You see a skirt you like and, before you know it, you’ve clicked through, scrolled for an hour, and spend £100 that you otherwise wouldn’t have spent. It’s unproductive and expensive. Get rid.
5. Check For & Install Updates
I can’t be the only one guilty of constantly ignoring my update notifications. Now’s the time to actually install them, so you can stop clicking that ‘remind me tomorrow’ button every. single. day.
6. Turn off Notifications
I did this about 2 years ago and it’s massively changed the way I use my phone. I turned off all social media notifications, meaning that I only found out if I’d been tagged in something etc. when I opened the app. Social media is a major time suck and constantly having notifications come up when someone likes your post definitely doesn’t help. Once again, you click through and spend the next 30 minutes scrolling. Turning off notifications reduces the amount of times you open the app in the first place, which in turn majorly reduces the amount of time you spent stuck on it.
7. Delete Duplicate & Poor Quality Photos
With the rise of apps like Instagram, we’re all pretty camera happy these days. And when we take a photo, we don’t just take one – we take one hundred. So go through your camera roll and delete photos that are a) poor quality or b) duplicates of the same thing. Pick the best photo and delete the rest. You’ll free up so much space on your phone and it’ll make it so much easier to find the photo you’re actually looking for in future.
8. Cull & Organise Your Apps
Sometimes it amazes me how many apps people have on their phone. Let’s be honest, we use the same ones every single day, whilst the others seemed like a good idea at time but sit there untouched. Delete all of the old games, random photo editors or health applications that you just don’t use. Once you’ve done that, organise you apps into folders. That way you won’t have to scroll through pages and pages of different icons to find the one you want.
9. Delete Old Notes
The ‘Notes’ app is another place that tends to get cluttered easily. We write down shopping lists, light bulb moments, Instagram captions – the lot! And they’re probably still sitting there a year later. So delete all of your old notes and commit to a habit of deleting any new ones as you go. You won’t need to today’s ingredient list for carrot cake in a year’s time, I promise.
10. Cull Facebook Friends & Instagram Accounts
This is something that lots of people avoid doing because it feels personal but, in order to make your phone the most feel-good place it can be, I’d highly recommend it. Unfriend all of those people from high school that you didn’t really know at the time and definitely don’t know now. Unfollow accounts on Instagram that make you feel insecure or who are constantly whinging about their lives. Consider completely deleting certain apps from your phone if you know that they negatively impact you. I deleted twitter a year ago because it was a massive, moaning, negative time suck for me, and I’ve never looked back!