Ever felt that your online life seems to be cluttered and disorganized?
In the midst of our fast paced lives, lots of things contribute to our stressors. Just one of these things is our digital alter ego and the life we lead on our desktops, laptops, smartphones and throughout the internet. So, aside from a disorganized home, cluttered desk and messed up schedules, our online and digital life management can be a bit of a hassle if we don’t know what to do.
What clutter does to our life
I myself am often bombarded by stress stemming from my desktop. I often find myself wondering how I can amass bookmarks over a short period of time or how my laptop has become convoluted by so many files that I could really do without i.e. photos, word files, songs I never listen to, movies I don’t plan on watching. I often find hundreds of unnecessary emails in my inbox, friends that I don’t personally know and sign-ups I can’t remember doing.
If our online and digital life was translated into real life situations, it might look something like a pile of dirty laundry, a bedroom unkempt, or a kitchen uncleaned. If this continues, it may result in stress and may cause confusion and mental fatigue.
In the psychology of clutter, getting organized is good for the mind and the body. Since clutter negatively affects our ability to focus and process information, the best thing to do is address the problem by decluttering.
Digital and Online Decluttering Tips
#1 Clean up app permissions
You might not now it but when checking your social accounts on your Smartphone, you may be giving unnecessary permissions to apps and websites you just don’t use anymore. Checking on them and sorting through the apps you still use can help you remove those that aren’t helpful anymore.
To do this, you first need to determine what you want to remain on your device or your profile. If you have not been using an app for the past few weeks, then revoke its permissions.
#2 Reduce subscriptions
Are you subscribing to every website you visit? Then you may be facing a newsletter disaster! It will clutter your inbox and will take you a lot of time to remove. To reduce subscriptions, think twice about the incoming subscription prompt, if you really need it, and only then input your email address. If you are just fascinated by it and it doesn’t exactly meet your needs, then pass it up.
Unsubscribing isn’t easy especially if you’ve just supplied your email address to hundreds of websites. To unsubscribe from mailing lists easily, use your email provider’s search options. Just key in “unsubscribe” and search to lift all emails that are newsletters and have unsubscription links.
One by one, follow the unsubscribe links and repeat for all websites you’re subscribed to.
#4 Keep your desktop organized in folders
If you have a desktop filled with icons and shortcuts to your files, chances are, you will have a hard time looking for things you want to access. Take all your desktop icons and keep them in one folder. Or you can categorize them into four folders labelling them: Utility, Internet, Files and/or Media. It’s exactly the same principle as organising your living room; DVDs are kept together, as are magazines and books.
#5 Kill your tabs
You can’t view your tabs all at once so why open them all at once? Kill your tabs manually or use a browser app that will kill extra tabs but let you revisit the tabs later and opt to restore them or throw them out.
#6 Delete emails
Deleting emails is a tasking job. Once, a friend of mine tried showing me something from her phone when I spotted her Yahoo Mail account with 3,000+ unread emails. I suffered a slow digital heart attack! So I improvised some tricks to help her delete those old emails dating back years. Most were from social media and newsletters.
Group emails or categorize them to help you delete them by the batch. For example, you can delete all newsletters at once or delete all Facebook notifications at once. Another tip: do not subscribe to social media notifications at all! You get notifications when you’re on Facebook, you don’t need them to be sent to your inbox as well.
#7 Check friends you don’t interact with
Check your friend list in Facebook and see if you really are acquainted with all of them. If not, unfriend them – simple!
#8 Unfriend through birthday notification
If you find it tasking to go through your friends list, check the birthday notifications everyday. By the end of the year, you will have trimmed down your friends list and decluttered your timeline to those few whom you really are interacting with.
#9 Unsubscribe from your Friend’s Facebook posts
You can unsubscribe from your friends posts. Similarly, if your friend is annoyingly sends you game requests, you can opt out of this too. Unfollow friends if you don’t want to hear their daily musings.
#10 Make passwords a reminder
If you have a hard time remembering passwords, try to make them useful phrases instead. So instead of typing the usual ‘1@3G456’ password, try ‘go2thegym’. It’s better and hopefully it helps you remember something you need to do!
#11 Group your phone apps through frequency of use
If you are using Facebook frequently, put it on home screen for easy access. Important apps should be featured on your home screen and the rest can be on side pages. If you are not using the app, it’s better to delete it altogether.
#12 Group apps by colour
Decluttering your online life shouldn’t be boring. To help with aesthetics, you can arrange your apps by colour. Group the apps by colour in one line or an entire page/screen.
#13 Check what processes are occupying memory
Sometimes, some processes and apps of your phone are occupying more memory than necessary. Check on what is eating up your memory, judge if it’s worth it and check if you can do something about it. This way, you may delete some apps and make priorities.
#14 Keep your passwords handy
Tired of remembering all your passwords to a score of websites? Try to use other software that lets you keep your latest passwords recorded for certain website. This will save you a lot of time and many headaches.
#15 Turn off notifications for social media
Avoid being notified of all your social media accounts on your phone. If you’re Facebook, Twitter or Tumblr famous, a constant phone ping can be annoying. So instead, keep your phone silent but set times to check for updates.
#16 Don’t organize personal files, label them properly
Organizing files into various folders can be defeating. It means you have to go through several clicks before you find exactly what you’re looking for. Instead, label your files properly and use the search bar of your laptop or a third party software to lift the files in a few seconds.
#17 Delete bad photos and music you don’t listen to
You’ll be surprised as to how many photos you’ve stored in your phone or your laptop unless you find the time to go through them all. Delete those that are duplicated or those that aren’t important. Go through your list of music and check if you are really listening to each of them. I have 182 music tracks on my laptop and I only listen to roughly 60 of them. So I’ll be deleting some of them right after this piece!
#19 Clean up bookmarks
I once scoured my tabs and my bookmarks only to find old bookmarks I can’t even remember saving. These bookmarks take up space and clutter that space that should be for important things you want to remember or have easy access to.
Start decluttering your digital and online experience and feel the difference!