Long gone are the days where our desks were the only untidy things in the office. Nowadays our inboxes are imploding, our Google calendars are out of control and don’t even get us started on our download folders. We’re long overdue for a desperate declutter of our digital space to help us both work more efficiently and feel a little less stressed in the process.
If you’re in need of a slight digital detox but don’t know where to start, we’ve created a checklist to keep your digital space clutter free.
Delete those emails
It’s an arduous task but sometimes a little digital organisation is needed and where better to start than sifting through that impounding inbox.
If you’re one of those people who have 10,000 unopened emails and counting, it’s time to tackle the issue. If it’s a general email address you use for purchasing things online only, the chances are you’ve been signed up to hundreds of newsletters that aren’t necessarily of interest. Start by looking through and unsubscribing to all of the ones that you aren’t interested in – except The Handbook of course…
If it’s a work email and you’ve been OOO for a few weeks, those emails have no doubt come trickling in. A handy tip I like to do on my first day back in the office (if you can get away with it without your boss knowing of course) is keep my OOO on so you can keep sifting through the emails that aren’t important and the ones that you need to reply to.
Download the apps
In an attempt to declutter your phone, you might need to start by actually cluttering it with more apps. But hear us out! There are some really great apps out there that can help get on top of your digital organisation, from sifting through day-to-day menial tasks at the touch of a button to apps that are designed to help you give up your ‘droomscrolling’ addiction.
For those needing a little help to stop scrolling their day away, look to apps like Forest. It’s designed to help you stay focused, defeat the distractions and cut back on your screen time – you know that little notification that comes up weekly on your iPhone to tell you just how much you’ve been spending scrolling on TikTok instead of working… It comes with an environmental push too – the more time you spend staying focused, the more trees you can grow and create a ‘digital forest’. They’ve teamed up with a real-tree planting organisation, Trees for the future, to plant trees for real so you’ll be helping do your bit for the environment in the long run too.
For the note takers of the workforce, Evernote is another great app that helps organise the notes you’re taking. It’s an app that helps you take down notes more easily, as well as adding images, audio, scans, PDFs and documents to the template in the process. A whole lot easier than the scrappy notebook you’ve been shakingly scribbling notes in.
Sift through that download folder
Working in the digital industry, I’m constantly downloading images, documents and huge files that are cluttering up my download folder. I make sure to sift through my download folder at least once a week just to keep on top of everything. If I’m finished with a project and I have a backed up file online, it’s getting shunted into my digital trash can. Not only will sifting through this regularly help you stay on top of your current projects, but it’ll also help free up space on your computer helping it to work more efficiently.
Clean up your desktop
Just as important to keeping your stress levels at bay as a clean desk is, it’s time to tackle that desktop. Ask yourself: what do you actually need on your desktop? How many screenshots of pointless things do you need clogging up your desktop background?
If you are someone who loves to have things on their desktop, the best way to keep on top of what’s important is by categorising them into folders, but then again, it’s even better if you can have these in the documents application too as it leaves you with a blank space on your desktop, helping you to stay organised and reduce those stress levels.
Keep on top of your finances digitally
Fed up of the monthly bank statements coming through your letterbox each month? These days most companies have the option to go digital, whether it’s for the water bill or the dreaded monthly credit card statement.
There are plenty of ways to keep on top of your finances digitally too, from Quickbooks which is designed to help freelancers and small businesses with accounts to Moneyhub, which keeps an outline of your spending, bills and connects you to financial experts if and when you need them.
Find more helpful money management apps here
Do the computer update you’ve been putting off
An easy one to contend with but one that I always put off. Do those computer updates that you’ve been putting off for 354 days and counting…
It’s worth mentioning here, that although these can take a few hours, it’s a task that does help you out in the long run, keeping your computer running and up to date on the latest software.
Close those tabs
Another task you’ve no doubt been putting off for who knows how long. CLOSE THOSE TABS. I repeat, CLOSE THOSE TABS.
I get stressed when I have more than four open at one time so when I see my partner with three windows open with 30+ tabs, my heart rate starts to rise. Dramatics aside, it is important to ask yourself how many YouTube tabs you need open at one time, especially when you’re just watching cat videos on repeat…
Deactivate useless accounts
This sort of links to the newsletter subscriptions I touched upon earlier, but the chances are that you’ve got 100+ accounts active online that you are being spammed with through newsletters, text messages and more. Sort through the ones you use on a regular basis and deactivate the rest. At the end of the day, if you need to make an account again, then you can!
Back your photos up to the cloud
Heading back onto the phone and it’s time to talk about the ‘cloud’. As much as we might not like to admit our reliance on the cloud, it is incredibly handy for helping to unclog your phone’s storage system. Just make sure you keep track of your icloud password because otherwise they could end up lost on the big wide web!
Clean up your socials
And lastly, we arrive at social media. There are several ways you could tackle this one…
Firstly, ask yourself: what is TikTok/Reddit/Instagram/Twitter/Facebook/any other social media I’ve no doubt forgotten doing for you day-to-day? If it’s causing you stress and anxiety, perhaps it’s worth deleting the app off your phone for a while to recuperate and see what your thoughts are in a few weeks time.
If you’re dedicated to the ‘gram but want to reduce your usage, look to apps like Forest to help limit your screen time.
Lastly, think about who you are following. About a year ago, I went on an unfollow spree across all of my social media apps and unfollowed the hoards of people who weren’t making me feel good about myself. Whether it’s the constant comparing or your values don’t align with this influencer you’ve been following, there’s no harm in stepping back and actually saying to yourself, this person isn’t doing anything for my mental health and removing them from your timeline.