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Digital Clutter 101: Organize and Declutter Your Laptop in 3 Easy Steps

 

Umm.. What does your laptop or computer look like? Are your files and folders all named randomly or whatever “code” you think works for you? Trust me, I’ve been there more than once. However, clutter = less productivity and the same is true for your laptop.

So, this month, take out time to weed out the clutter and get your “workstation” organized.

Seriously, for most of us work-at-home moms, our laptops are our workhorses. Whether we write online or do transcription or manage a business, our laptops and computers hold the keys to it. We read, store, file, write, file, store, read. Yes. It is easy for digital clutter to creep up on you and overwhelm you just like physical clutter does.

How Does Digital Clutter Impact Your Work

1. You end up saving the same information twice or even, thrice in different files because you can never locate the original file. Yes, even with the Search function, sometimes, it just doesn’t work.

2. You never get around to reading all those free (or even paid) eBooks that you buy because just looking at the long list overwhelms you.

3. You keep installing programs or apps on your laptop to boost productivity but actually, end up killing it.

4. Your digital photo albums gather digital dust because you don’t know what to do with them and can usually never find the right photo for an article or blog post.

How to Declutter Your Laptop for Increased Productivity and Greater Peace

I did say, “3 Easy Steps” right. So, here you are:

Time required: 30-45 minutes. That’s right!

Step 1. Clear Your Desktop Icons

Set a timer for 5 minutes and quickly “delete” all desktop icons that you haven’t used or have forgotten about. Really, if you don’t know what it does, do you really think you’ll use it.

Step 2. Weed Through Your Folders

Next, spend a good 30 minutes weeding through your folders and files. Follow the basic rules of decluttering , “Anything that isn’t used or needed gets trashed”. Also, combine files and folders that have similar contents. I mean, do you really need two folders for “article ideas” and “blog inspiration”?

Step 3. Get a Dropbox and Evernote Account

Finally, spend 10 minutes setting up a Dropbox and Evernote accounts and use them to store information, photos, eBooks and more.

Step 3.5. Sync your Dropbox and Evernote Account on your smartphone and you’ll be able to share information and view documents stored on your laptop on your phone as well.

Keep Your Laptop Clutter-Free

While it is relatively simple to declutter your laptop, you also need to keep it so. So, here’s what I do:

  • I read most of the eBooks and information products I download on my Droid using Dropbox and I take notes in my notebook. Once done, I delete the file. Yes, read and delete. It keeps my Dropbox account fairly freed up as well.
  • I have a simple folder for blog photos. I save photos using descriptive titles and a simple Word document in the same folder for Credits.
  • Digital photo albums are subjected to a monthly purge. Anything that is blurry, vague, a repetition (yes, we have plenty of those) or just not interesting/sweet/sentimental enough is deleted.
  • Use a simple filing system. Have main folders for each client or business and in that create sub-folders or files with relevant information. Similarly, create a main folder for eBooks or information-to-read and then, create sub-folders according to niche or topic.

Is your digital clutter sapping your laptop’s and your productivity? How do you declutter your laptop or computer?

Photo Credit: Rob DiCaterino

Prerna


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Comments

  1. Great tips! I use Dropbox, but find that I tend to let that clutter up, too, with too many folders and not everything making it to its designated folder. This has reminded me to set some time aside to get that back in shape so I’m spending less time wading through the old documents and to only keep the new (and relevant) ones around. Thanks for sharing these great ideas!

  2. I need to do this ASAP. I have Evernote and have not used it optimally till now. Thanks for the tips Prerna.

  3. Great post! One other tip you might consider is getting a macro app like Keyboard Maestro or using Automator to launch apps, files, etc. I do this to keep my doc clutter-free. You can even hide the dock completely and switch back and forth between apps with your hotkeys.

    All of my frequently used apps launch from key combinations I set up as well as several web pages and files. I also use it to paste in email templates and a host of other tasks and it saves me a lot of time.

    You can find Windows apps that have the same functionality as well.

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