Decluttering and organizing is always at the top of everyone’s to~do list at the beginning of a new year. Have you thought about cleaning up your digital devices? I have 13 ways to declutter your digital devices to be more efficient and gain time.
When you think of decluttering, do you usually think about your closets, bathroom drawers, under the kitchen sink or your office? Those are great areas to clean up. But since we all live in a digital world, those areas need attention, too.
Starting after Thanksgiving, I gave some serious thought to how I could be more efficient. What was taking up my time and keeping me from being as productive as possible?
I took steps to discover where I was spending my time and whether that time was beneficial to my business or not. I came up with 13 ways that I could declutter my digital devices. It was definitely an eye~opener.
I’ve created a DECLUTTER YOUR DIGITAL DEVICES CHECKLIST for you. You can sign up to receive at the end of the post.
Declutter Your Digital Devices:13 Ways to be More Efficient and Less Stressed
Do you know how much time you spend on different tasks in your business? I didn’t. Some tasks seem to take forever and some seem quick.
Do you know how long it takes to get projects done? How much time on Social Media? How much time finding things on your computer?
You can use all sorts of apps to get the answers to those questions. You can even set the timer on your iPhone as a simple way to discover what takes up your time. Then you can figure out if that is time well spent.
After a week of checking myself, I discovered that some things were taking up way too much non~productive time. I had to pinpoint where I could cut out or eliminate time~wasting tasks.
In the end, I identified 13 ways to declutter my digital devices. These items are not in order of importance ~ I’ll leave that decision up to you. All can be very beneficial. Pick the ones that you feel will make the biggest impact on your productivity.
# 1 ~ DECLUTTER YOUR EMAIL
I read recently that we spend 28% of our time on email ~ scroll, flagging, deleting, and reading. That’s a lot of your daily work time.
Do you receive emails that you never open? I did. Some were from businesses, some were from business resources that I didn’t need.
I decided to unsubscribe from lists that weren’t benefitting my business. In the past 6 weeks, I have unsubscribed from approximately 100 emails.
Here are my tips for handling your inbox:
- Be realistic: if you haven’t opened an email in 3 ~ 6 months, unsubscribe.
- Create folders for business or important addresses so you don’t have to search for them.
- Flag really important emails and prioritize which ones you read first.
- Most important: save emails for later in the day after you have completed your more important tasks.
#2 ~ DECLUTTER YOUR SOCIAL MEDIA
Scrolling through Social Media is one of the biggest time~wasters for productive people. Like email, I’m now limiting Facebook and Instagram time (20 minutes each a day) to late in the day.
I’ve set a timer on my phone that limits my Social Media time. How to do that on your iPhone?
- Go to SETTINGS
- Click on SCREEN TIME
- Click on APP LIMIT
- Click on CHOOSE APPS
- Click on SOCIAL
- Check the APPS you want to limit, then Click on NEXT
- Set the TIME LIMIT you want
You won’t believe how much time you will gain by limiting your Social Media time. It’s actually so freeing and you won’t miss a thing.
TIP: Limit your Social Media time to after you have completed priority tasks.
# 3 ~ LEAVE FACEBOOK GROUPS
Facebook Groups are my favorite thing about Facebook. But the number that I joined had gotten way out of control ~ which contributed to way~too~much time spent on Facebook. Since I was limiting myself to 20 minutes a day on the program, I wanted that time to be worthwhile.
I spent too much time scrolling through Groups that I didn’t benefit from (not that there weren’t great groups). I counted and I belonged to 47 groups. I only truly used about 14 of them ~ all of which were business support groups that I used several times a week.
This is one of the best ways to declutter your digital devices. Another big time-saver.
#4 ~ LEAVE MEMBERSHIPS
Have you subscribed to memberships that you no longer benefit from? Are you spending more time in the membership than you are gaining in productivity? If so, it’s time to leave them. How to decide?
- Have your interests or business focus changed?
- Have you learned everything you can from the membership?
- Is the membership style a good fit for you?
- Does the schedule for the membership Zooms, Q & A’s match your schedule?
I know sometimes it’s hard to let go. I recently canceled a membership that I highly valued. I loved the leader and the topic which was very beneficial to my blog. Unfortunately, the scheduled Zoom times conflicted with my schedule and I rarely watched the replays. Also, the cost was my single highest monthly expense.
There was another course membership that I was very interested in that I wanted to join. The cost was somewhat less. (I did join this course/membership before the end of the year and I’m so glad I did. So far, I have made the right decision.)
#5 ~ DECLUTTER YOUR DESKTOP
Does your desktop look like a sea of blue? At the end of the year, every square inch on my desktop was covered in blue folders. Even though the folders are in alphabetical order, it was sometimes hard to find the one I needed.
With the new year, it was time to make a change. What to do?
- Are there folders that can be completely deleted?
- Are there documents/images that aren’t in folders? Either delete or move them into an existing folder
- Can you combine folders with like topics into a single folder? For example, I label folders first by year, sometimes with a month, and then by subject. I moved all my 2021 folders into one 2021 folder.
After deleting several folders and combining others, my folders are 1/3 the space on my desktop screen. It looks so much neater and cleaner. My stress level is much lower.
I wish I had taken a screenshot of my before desktop, but here is what my desktop looks like now.
# 6 ~ CLEAN UP YOUR NOTES
Everyone has a system for keeping important information. I use NOTES on my iPhone, iMAC, and now my MacBook. I love that I can enter a NOTE on one device and it appears on all the others.
I love that NOTES are in alphabetical order. But I noticed that I also had NOTES with outdated information and info that I just didn’t need anymore.
Fewer NOTES mean less time to scroll to find the one you need. Every minute counts and they add up.
Another reason to delete, delete, delete. I estimate that so far I’ve deleted 20% of my NOTES.
#7 ~ DECLUTTER YOUR IMAGES
Do you have thousands of images on your digital devices? I’m not talking about the photos of your kids on your iPhone. I’m referring to the images that you take for blog posts, Social Media or other business~related needs.
Images are one of the biggest users of computer storage. Plus, it takes more time to locate an image you need.
Even before I started my digital decluttering plan, I’ve organized my images into folders by year, blog post, Social Media, and other topics.
When decluttering your images, don’t forget about the other images that you have saved on your computer:
- original images that you uploaded from your camera before editing them
- folders with images for Social Media
Ask yourself: Do I still need them? If not, delete to declutter your digital devices.
TIP: Don’t forget to name your images before uploading them to blog posts and other places. This is a must for SEO and it makes it so much easier to find an image you need.
# 8 ~ DELETE UNUSED APPS
Apps ~ love them or hate them ~ they can make our digital devices more effective.
Until we have so many on our phones that it’s hard to find the one you need. I bet you have duplicate Apps; I found that I do.
So get those Apps that you don’t use shaking.
- Delete any App that you don’t use on a regular basis.
- Identified other Apps that you never or rarely use.
I had 8 Photo Apps, 2 translation Apps and 2 weather Apps ~ bye~bye.
Your iPhone storage will appreciate it.
Group Your Apps ~ I recently started grouping similar Apps and it was made it so much easier to find and use them.
- Photo Editing ~ PicMonkey, Lightroom, Clips
- Video Editing ~Splice, Zoomyy, YouCam, iMovie
- Finance ~ banks, Venmo
- Tools ~ Calculator, Dictionary, Grammarly, Flashlight
- Shopping ~ Amazon, Target, Joann, Etsy, Lowe’s HomeGoods
- Social Media ~ IG, FB, Linkedin, Tweeter
- Google App ~ drive, sheets, photos
- Travel ~ Uber, Lyft, American, Southwest
# 9 ~ DELETE UNUSED DOCUMENTS/DROPBOX
I’ll bet that you have documents on your computer that you don’t use.
- Are the documents no longer relevant to your business?
- Is the topic out of date?
- Do you no longer write about that topic?
- Do you have duplicates or very similar documents that can be combined?
If you have saved these documents in Dropbox (or downloaded docs to Dropbox that fit these criteria), then it’s time to delete them.
I can’t believe how many documents I have from years ago that just are out of date. Or the information is no longer correct. A deep decluttering is needed.
#10 ~ DELETE UNNEEDED DOWNLOAD FILES
We all download documents to our computers: PDFs, course information, checklists, guides, and printables. I save (and sometimes rename) those to an applicate folder on my computer.
But the original document stays in your DOWNLOAD file. Those are cluttering up your computer. Your DOWNLOAD file is another place to declutter.
# 11 ~ CLEAN UP YOUR GOOGLE DRIVE
Your Google Drive is another place where too many files can clutter your efficiency. If the document has served its purpose and you don’t anticipate needing it again, then delete it. It may not take up space on your computer, but it does mean that it takes longer to find a document.
# 12 ~ DECLUTTER YOUR PODCAST LIBRARY
I love Podcasts. I discovered them in 2019 and have been a fan ever since.
Occasionally, I’ll add one that I’ve heard or read about to my Library. I’ll listen to a couple of episodes to see if I like the content and the host. I’ll either continue to listen to that particular Podcast or forget about it.
I noticed a few months ago that I had about a dozen Podcasts in my Library that I didn’t listen to. They were just taking up space. It was time to declutter my digital Podcast Library.
Do you have Podcasts that you don’t listen to? I recommend taking inventory and unsubscribing from those. Another example of “don’t use, delete and declutter your digital devices”.
#13 ~DECLUTTER YOUR PASSWORDS
Where do you keep your Passwords? I know there are APPS that will safely store your Passwords.
I use a two~fold system that works for me:
- When I create a new account, I add the user name and Password to a folder on my NOTES. It’s projected with a code.
- I also save my Passwords to the Password area in Settings on my iPhone which is protected.
Having both these areas for Passwords is convenient and easily accessible. I know that if I forgot to add the user name and Password to my NOTES, it will be in my Settings.
Of course, sometimes there are user names and Passwords to accounts or log-ins that I longer need or use. The fewer passwords on your devices, the higher the security.
TIP: If you unsubscribe from a program that required a password, be sure to delete it.
Yes, it does require deleting them in two places, but it’s worth it to have the confidence that I can find them when needed.
MORE TIPS TO DECLUTTER YOUR DIGITAL DEVICES
- Decide which of these areas needs to be decluttered first.
- Make a list in order of importance to you.
- Designate about 10 ~ 15 minutes each day to start decluttering your list.
- Set a timer to keep you on track.
- Decluttering your digital devices is a task for your least productive time of day ~ maybe late afternoon, while you are sitting in carpool line or waiting in the doctor’s office.
- Once you have completed decluttering your list, set a time next month to go through it again. This time will not take as long.
- Don’t fret if you have to miss a day. Decluttering your devices will wait for you.
I’m about halfway through decluttering my computer and my iPhone. I hope to finish decluttering my list in a week.
I sincerely hope that these suggestions to declutter your digital devices will be of great benefit to you. It certainly made me feel really good to clean out my devices.
Get your DECLUTTER YOUR DIGITAL DEVICES CHECKLIST now. Click on the image below.
If you also need ideas for decluttering your office, check out how I cleaned up my office.
If organization is your jam, read these 10 Statistics on Organizing to see where you stand.
This is one post to really keep handy and PIN to an Organization Board.