Spring Clean Your Digital World

Look around in any waiting room and you’ll see "tech neck” everywhere. People checking Facebook during an oil change, manning email during the half time of a youth basketball game…you name it, we are on our screens. But, instead of playing Angry Birds during your next 15 minutes of wait time, why not clean up your digital clutter? These days we don’t only wrestle with physical clutter - we have to swim through a lot of digital clutter, too. Here’s a few items to check off your ‘spring cleaning’ checklist:

  1. Change up Your Passwords. Okay, you’ve heard this one before. You should have unique passwords for all your sites, and you should change them up periodically. And there is a reason you’ve heard it before. You don’t need this to be the year that your password is your dog’s name +the year you were born. So go ahead, mix it up and address your passwords. (Heck, you could even finally use a program like LastPass or OnePassword (to help you recall all the new passwords. )

  2. Delete old apps. Once an app isn’t useful on a daily (or at least regular) basis…guess what folks, it’s clutter. Even if it counts your steps or shows you live-action footage of elephants in Africa, do you really need it taking up space on your phone? I’ve even got a kids doodle app that hasn’t been opened in…(cue embarrassing moment. ) Go ahead - take it down.

  3. Turn off Unnecessary Notifications. Really - do you need a bicycle race app telling you you’ve almost made it to the next level? Turn off those interrupting, nagging and annoying reminders. Steer clear of daily updates and reminders. Your sanity will thank you.

  4. Practice safe social. Go to the apps section of your social media accounts and clean out your social media log-ins. It may seem easy to log-in to a new account with Facebook so you don’t have to remember a password, but all those companies now have your info. Take some time and unravel that disconnection.

  5. Attack your Inbox. Inbox zero may be unattainable, but there is no way our brains can manage 50+, 500+ or 5,000+ emails in our inboxes. Don’t worry about combing back through ages of emails at this point in an effort to sort through them all. It’s a new year - start fresh. Archive all your old emails prior to 2016, and move forward with the current year. (Hint, hint: Unsubscribe from the flashy, good-looking email you think you want to read but never get to. It just distracts us from what we really need to do - and makes us feel guilty as it sits there, unread. Try a service like Unroll.me to help you digest the emails you DO want to keep. It will make your email MUCH more manageable.

  6. Tame your Photos. I guarantee we’ve all got selfies we don’t want, random-app-edited photos of kids with fat faces, or photos of our shoe. Do yourself a favor. Delete all those files - easy to see at a glimpse in a smart phone’s photo app - and then ensure they are backed up to one of your favorite cloud-based photo storage options. Don’t rely on your phone to keep all your photos - or even an old-fashioned thumb drive that you drop in a desk drawer. Get with the program, and get those files up in the cloud for security.

  7. Move your Music. Like photos, music takes up a LOT of space. Instead of keeping all your music on your local device, check out a service like Google Music, Subsonic or leverage Apple’s iCloud to store your music.

  8. Don’t forget the outside. Think of all the places we put down our phones (restaurants, bathrooms…) only to pick up the phone and put it on our face. Yuckola. So, turn of your device, gently wipe the surface with a dry microfiber cloth to remove surface smudges. If dirts remains, spray a small amount of distilled water solution onto the cloth, and try again, wiping off the outside and case area of the device, too.

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