Here’s How to Organize Your Digital Clutter Once and for All

Here's How to Organize Your Digital Clutter Once and for All

This post was written by Abby Quillen.

There is a connection between excessive junk and other areas of your life. When your desk is messy, or your closet is in a chaotic state it’s unsettling, and can stop you from completing other tasks.

Decluttering is a chore, but it can have a huge effect on both your personal and professional life.

Getting rid of digital clutter is not that hard.

Unlike a purge of your closet, or storage unit, digital clutter is easy to discard. You won’t need garbage bags, or boxes, and you won’t have to take multiple trips to goodwill.

When digital data piles up, it slows you and your devices down. It hinders your ability to be productive. In this article, we’ll offer advice and strategies to get your digital clutter under control.

Taking Control of Your Digital Clutter

1. Get Organized.

The first thing you need to do is identify the problem. If you need to use the search function to find a file on your desktop, or documents folder, you’ve got a problem.

Even a little structure can help you declutter, share, move, and easily track down files.

Follow these steps and you’ll start to notice a massive difference in the efficiency of you and your devices.

2. Have Categories and Folders.

Instead of organizing by location, organize by category.

It may be tempting to start with your desktop because it’s the first thing you see when you start up your computer. But by moving through each category, your desktop will be decluttered naturally.

Start by creating folders for every file you have. Pictures, videos, documents, and music should have their own folder. Sub-categories like medical records and bank statements, can also have their own folder in your Documents folder.

3. Create Naming Guidelines.

Develop a consistent, meaningful, and descriptive way to name each of your files.

Documents: descriptive keywords-type of document ex: digital-decluttering-article

Images: descriptive keywords-month-year ex: Headshots-July-2017

Emails: Use descriptive subject headings ex: Marketing, or Internal

Like any large task, the hardest part is getting started. Depending on how long you’ve left it, decluttering your digital past could take a long time. You’ll need to go through everything on your computer, mobile devices, external hard drive(s), or in the cloud. Before you start, tell yourself that this is a necessary project and the result will be worth the effort, then dig in!

Start by purging the following:

  • Poor quality photos and videos;
  • Duplicates and extremely similar photos;
  • Photos or videos that are no longer meaningful, or hold sentimental value to you.

4. Backup Important Files.

Now that your unimportant files are gone, make sure that you back up everything that remains. Hard drives don’t last forever and the last thing you want is to lose your important files to malware, viruses, or a technical issue with the hard drive itself.

Experts recommend saving important data in three locations.

For instance, save one copy on your computer’s hard drive, one in a cloud service, and one on an external hard drive.

Instead of decluttering when there’s an issue with your computer, set up a decluttering schedule to stay on top of everything.

While a “once a year” purge will feel good at the end, some files, and emails don’t have to stick around in your inbox for months.

Now that you have eliminated the digital devices, apps, files, and emails are taking from your life rather than giving to it, you’ll feel less overwhelmed when you start up your computer in morning. And will log off without feeling the dread of your digital mess.

Most importantly, the what you see on your screen will be the things you need to see.

Here’s an infographic on how to downsize your digital clutter by the eReplacementParts Blog.

Get The Lifestyle Designer's Digest

Sharing my adventures in lifestyle design, building an online business, and growing this blog. Join me for weekly updates.

Previous ArticleNext Article

8 Tips for Women to Help Grow Their Career

8 Tips for Women to Help Grow Their Career

Why are there so few female CEOs? It’s a commonly discussed topic in the Australian business landscape, and often highlighted as an issue in society.

This has been made evident in the inaugural Robert Half CEO Tracker, commissioned by specialised recruiter Robert Half to identify common traits amongst the leaders of the ASX 200-listed companies. The research found the top position in the workplace is still male-dominated, as the majority of ASX 200 CEOs are men (94%). Only 12 ASX 200 CEOs are women.

It’s an unfortunate fact of the current C-suite employment market, with women underrepresented in top positions – a fact that applies to not only ASX 200-listed companies.

Despite this, it’s well known that diversified boardrooms with women represented across leadership positions bring enormous value to organisations and the wider business community. This is not just because of their wealth of experience and knowledge. But also because of their diverse perspective applied to business strategy that’s required for any organisation to succeed.

Whilst looking at the low percentage of female CEOs, within our Executive Search branch, we’re seeing a strong push for diversity from companies looking to hire at the C-suite level. Organisations are actively specifying diversity in their recruitment agendas, and not only just based on gender, but on an all-inclusive approach.

While there still is a long way to go for women to be represented equally at the boardroom table, it’s encouraging to acknowledge just how far Australian women have come and actively promote steps they can take to further their careers in the business world. More can always be done to empower women within the workplace. And understanding the common professional characteristics of top Australian CEOs is a great place to start their C-suite journey.

For women looking to hone their personal attributes, CEOs need to be clear communicators who are capable of both giving direction and accepting expert opinion. And as with all leadership positions, exceptional people skills are essential. By being assertive, forward-thinking and willing to take risks, ambitious women in the workplace can ascend the corporate ladder to the top job just as fast as their male counterparts.

How Women Can Grow Their Career

energy focus and productivity tips for anyone working from home all day

1. Know what you really want.

Think about what you want to achieve in your career – and why. Ask yourself some important questions:

  • As a senior executive would you be willing to work long hours and take up extra responsibilities?
  • Do you like to solve complex problems?
  • Are you comfortable as a leader?
  • And, crucially, how do your family feel about you pursuing a career as a business leader?

2. Develop a career plan.

Determine what you want to achieve, and work out a detailed career plan. This will be a blueprint that maps out your journey to the top of your organisation, allowing you to focus on your ultimate career goals.

3. Work continuously on your leadership skills.

Developing leadership skills is an ongoing process and an essential element for women pursuing a management position. By developing your technical, managerial and social skills, you are more likely to climb the corporate ladder – and be better prepared for the challenges you face along the way.

4. Communicate (more) directly.

Well-developed communication skills are essential for all managers. Yet men and women often have different communication styles.

Women usually take on a more modest tone, and often tend to communicate in an assuming way (“wouldn’t it be better”, “could we perhaps”, etc.). However, for a male audience – who usually communicate in a more direct way – this style of communication can suggest you lack confidence or are unsure about the matter at hand.

5. Take risks.

Women are usually less inclined to take risks than men. Yet this is part of being a leader. If you can prove you are willing to take calculated, carefully considered risks, you’re more likely to assume a managerial position.

6. Offer to take on certain tasks, even those nobody else wants.

A willingness to take on additional projects or raise your hand for tasks that others are sidestepping, can showcase your skills beyond your normal job duties. This is a great way to demonstrate you’re a team player, who is willing to go the extra mile for the company.

7. Do not be afraid to stand out.

All great leaders stand out from the crowd. As a manager, it’s likely you will have to make tough, and at times, unpopular decisions, so be prepared to set yourself apart from others in good times – and in bad.

8. Build your network.

People like to work with people they know. So do not underestimate the possibilities offered by traditional and online networking. Building your network can be important to getting ahead.

About The Author

Robert Half Executive Search specialises in the search for and placement of executive leadership talent across a broad spectrum of function areas and industry sectors.

By being assertive, forward-thinking and willing to take risks, ambitious women in the workplace can ascend the corporate ladder to the top job just as fast as their male counterparts. Here are 8 tips to help women grow their career