Expert Advice on a Digital Decluttering

If any of your New Year’s resolutions stays more organized, be sure to include your digital files as well. “Most people struggle with digital clutter,” notes Ellen Faye, a Naples-based certified productivity leadership trainer and former president of the National Association of Productivity & Organizing Professionals. Digital clutter includes anything that can accumulate on your computer and other devices, such as music, photos, email, files, or even a cluttered desktop. Still, she explains that it can be easy to miss because you don’t see it the way you see things piling up in your closet or garage.

Digital clutter can not only hurt productivity, it can also harm mental health. Faye says people lose sleep because they worry about missing emails in a cluttered inbox or never completely relaxing after work is done. “If you don’t know what work isn’t getting done and you don’t know what’s in your inbox, you can never really find peace,” she says. Thousands of emails in your inbox, over 20 open browser windows or endless photo folders are all signs of digital confusion. If it’s affecting your quality of life – by slowing down your computer, preventing you from finding a file, or causing stress, for example – it’s time to do something about it. “If you have trash in your house, do you leave it on your counter or floor, or throw it away?” asks Faye. “We want to develop the same habit.” She gives a few tips on how to tidy up your digital space.

  1. For a start, Faye recommends using the four Ds: delete if it is unimportant; Delegate tasks to family members or employees; delay and, if necessary, put on a to-do list; or do it now, especially if it doesn’t take long. “If you really want to come back [to] plan, plan or add it to your to-do list, ”she advises.
  2. Email is a common area of ​​digital development. Faye suggests moving your old emails to a separate folder. “You’re saving your inbox for important things that require action,” she says. Then “your productivity increases because you don’t read the same things over and over.” She also recommends selecting a number of emails, e.g. E.g. 150 or 500, signaling that it’s time to clean up your inbox before the crowd gets out of hand.

  3. Email is a common area of ​​digital development. Faye suggests moving your old emails to a separate folder. “You’re saving your inbox for important things that require action,” she says. Then “your productivity increases because you don’t read the same things over and over.” She also recommends selecting a number of emails, e.g. E.g. 150 or 500, signaling that it’s time to clean up your inbox before the crowd gets out of hand.

  4. Digital disposal can be difficult. If you have trouble deleting old photos or files to keep things tidy, Faye offers one final piece of advice: “When everything is important, nothing is important. You can’t find the treasure if you keep the trash. “