“Sometimes the greatest gain in productive energy will come from cleaning the cobwebs, dealing with old business, and clearing the deck.” ~David Allen, productivity consultant and author.
Today your house, closet, office, and desk get a pass. This post is strictly focused on cleaning up your computer in order to supercharge your work moving forward. Just like your physical desktop, when your virtual desktop (or email) gets too cluttered your productivity and focus drops.
I recently felt as though my laptop was getting overly cluttered and I decided to do a digital spring clean. Here are some of the tips and tricks that helped me regain my sanity.
1) Back-up your computer. (I use a G-Technology G-DRIVE external hard drive.) This will provide the mental safety net you need to delete without second guessing.
2) Identify major digital pain points. Which folders or programs make you cringe due to how blotted or cluttered they've gotten? Start there.
3) Don’t be a digital hoarder. Don't be afraid to delete. Ask yourself: When was the last time I opened this document or application? Will I use this in the next 3 months? Is this important enough to refer to or use more than once?
4) When in doubt, archive. Create an archive desktop folder or email folder where you can put items you are unsure where to file or if you should delete. Then you can rely on the built-in laptop or email search function for later recall if needed.
5) Embrace a delete, defer, or delegate strategy when it comes to email. Touch an email once and then make a decision to delete, defer, or delegate to ensure you stay out of email jail.
6) Use specific document and folder names. Categorize by dates or client/project names. This ensures easy identification at a glance or easy search-ability.
7) Unsubscribe to email newsletters. Instead of constantly deleting the same emails, take 30 seconds and click the "Unsubscribe" link at the bottom of the email.
8) Commit to a consistent work flow to stay ahead of the game.
Question: What techniques work for your digital spring clean?