Declutter Your Digital Life

Though our professional and personal lives are moving away from paper, our digital lives can still be filled with clutter.  The more time we spend working through e-mail, downloading journal articles or combing through RSS feeds, the more messy our digital lives can get. Use these 6 tips to clean up your inbox, tidy up your files and tackle your digital clutter.

Clean Up Your Contacts: Most e-mail programs have a feature that cache your contacts and autofills e-mail addresses as you type.  While this can be a good thing, it can also create confusion when a contact moves addresses or uses multiple e-mail addresses. Spend the time now culling and organizing your e-mail contacts to avoid confusion later.

Move E-Mails Out of Your Inbox: By keeping your read e-mails your inbox, you risk the chance of missing something important on days when keeping up with your new mail gets daunting. Mail providers like Gmail allow users to create labels and file message away for later access.  Once you’ve addressed the e-mail, take advantage these labels and folders. We all know physical clutter can be overwhelming and digital clutter is no different.

Use Dropbox: We’ve recommended the file syncing service before, but the benefits cannot be overstated. With 2GB of free storage space you can keep files PDFs, documents, photos and more organized and accessible from your smart phone or any computer you use.

Simplify Your Feed: If you have dozens of RSS feeds, chances are you’re over subscribed. Though it’s great to get your news and information from a variety of sources, trying to keep up with every blogger or new agency that you once found an interesting article from can leave you stressed. Don’t get us wrong, there’s nothing inherently bad in subscribing to a lot of RSS feeds, but when managing them consumes your time and energy then it’s time to begin the re-selection process.

Ban Clutter From Your Desktop: Your desktop on your personal or work computer is the gateway to your digital life. At the end of the day — or week — move all files you don’t use daily off your desktop into broad topic folders.

Create an Effective Go Bag: If you are a clinician that works at multiple sites or grad student on the go, making sure that you have what you need with you is a priority.  You’ll be the best judge of your own needs, but plan ahead bag by stocking designating one bag to always move around with. Stock it with items like a flash drive, laptop extension cord, writing utensils, business cards and your favorite worksheets for clients. When you keep your bag stocked, you can spend less time wondering if you remembered the necessities and more time on your work.