We spend much of our lives in the digital world and using devices like smartphones, laptops, desktops, work computers, school computers, tablets and so on. Just like we make resolutions to clean our workspaces and home spaces, it’s important to set aside some time at least once a year to clean up our digital lives.
First, you’ll want to develop and stick to a system for backing up your digital information. Sometimes technology fails, and many of us know how it feels to lose work or important documents. There are some things, like family photos, that just can’t be replaced. Start backing up your files in the cloud and/or on an external hard drive.
An external hard drive will also help you save space on your devices. You can store files on a hard disk that you don’t use on a regular basis, but you want to keep in a safe space. Such a hard drive is a great place to file away large photo files, music, videos, and files from past projects.
Once you’ve decided how you’re going to backup your information, start attacking the clutter on your devices. Start by going through and cleaning out programs and apps you downloaded but don’t use anymore. Next, set up folders for keeping files organized; creating a reliable folder system also means you’ll be able to find files quickly and easily when you need them.
Along those lines, remember to name your files efficiently and effectively. Not giving a file a proper name makes it hard to tell what the file is without opening it and skimming through it. Name a file something short and precise, so you can come back to it later and remember what you’re looking at.
Once you’ve gotten this far, there are some small details to consider, depending on your needs. The following is a list of tasks that will help you organize your digital life. Use it as a checklist if you like:
Update your online profiles
Life is busy, and we don’t always have the time to update our online presence. It's a good idea to update your profiles once a year. For example, many of us need to update our LinkedIn profiles with our new jobs, experiences, and skills. You might also want to consider deleting online profiles on social networks you no longer use.
Clean out your inbox
Email is such an integral part of our day-to-day lives now that it can be hard to keep up and keep our inboxes clean. Take a moment to organize your emails into folders, delete useless emails, and archive emails you’d like to keep, which will make checking your email a lot less stressful. You can search by email address or subject so that you can clean out all of your email notifications, like those from Facebook and Amazon, at once.
Keep your devices up-to-date and running smoothly
Check to see if each computer and mobile device is up-to-date. You may need to update your operating system. While you’re at it, clear the cache as well, update your subscription to protection software that checks for viruses and spyware, and defragment your machine (if you are using a PC).
Throw out repeats
Go ahead and delete any duplicate files or bookmarks. You may also need to take some time to clean your desktop shortcuts.
Turn clutter into digital files
It may sound counterproductive to add more files to your computer, but this is an excellent opportunity to decrease the physical clutter in your life by going digital. To save space in your home, sell your used books and start using eBooks. They are convenient and don’t take up any space. You can also digitize your photo albums; just be sure to create backups of these files to avoid losing precious memories. Download music to get rid of your CD collection, and scan documents, so you can make more space in your filing cabinet.
At this time, you may want to physically clean your computer. It's good to have a can of compressed air on hand and a microfiber cloth to take care of the built-up dust or fingerprints.
We hope these clean up tips have been helpful for you and your devices!
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