With digitalisation and the convenience that it brings, it also can be quite overwhelming. There are articles and essays to read, music to stream, people to follow, and more. It can be a full-time job just to keep one’s digital life in order.
Is Wanting Less Better than Acquiring More?
Many philosophers might maintain that happiness is wanting less rather than acquiring more to focus on what matters as opposed to allowing technology to bombard our daily lives with appealing notices that are often more of a distraction than anything else. Uninterrupted connectivity provides deluges of information to form a digital frenzy and clutter our minds and negatively affect our moods.
Where to Begin
The first step to achieving a clearer mind is to declutter your digital life. This means auditing every digital aspect of one’s life, whether Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, or others. This should be followed by removing what you no longer wish to use or follow, and then reorganising what remains.
The digital disorder will not clutter up your office or living space, but it does require a lot of attention on the part of your brain. One of the challenges of digital chaos is that we have a lot of different inputs competing for attention. All these digital solicitations can be stressful and exhausting. When mental exhaustion takes a toll, it becomes all but impossible to focus as well as make decisions. Limiting social media noise, undesirable emails, notices, and reminders will significantly contribute to a clearer mind.
How to Organise Your Digital Life
Reorganising your digital life will require patience on your part especially when sifting through thousands of emails. Do not expect to resolve things immediately or quickly. Take it slowly and fulfil a different task daily until you have completely reorganised.
Eliminating digital clutter requires several basic steps that include:
- Reviewing all your digital activities and material including your accounts, files, etc.
- Deleting anything you no longer want or need.
- Reorganising the things that remain.
- Instituting new habits to keep your digital life organised.
How to Tackle Documents
Electric bills, bank statements, credit card statements, and whatever documents you are storing in your computer need to be reorganised in a backup system such as an external hard drive, an internal hard drive, or cloud storage that you can access when needed.
Begin by backing up everything and storing it so you don’t lose anything that might be important in the future. After backing up, all files need to be audited. Where you are storing specific files, what they contain, and how you have organised them need to be verified. Check if some of your files are already synced to a Google Drive, Dropbox, or similar.
Be strong, delete the files you no longer need or want, and eliminate any duplicates. If you have too many files to audit rapidly, place them all in a ‘To File’ folder and work diligently to file or delete them.
Create a folder system where similar files can be stored within categories. Within these larger general categories, subcategories or sub-folders can be inserted. Work, private life, family, finances, or other important areas can be created. In the case of a financial folder, subfiles for the bank, taxes, property, rent, etc, can be inserted. Make general categories simple and few.
Clear off your computer desktop. A cluttered desktop is like having a cluttered desk and will complicate your finding specific files when you need them. Move these files into one of your principal folders. Anything you don’t need should be deleted. Also, remove and eliminate temporary folders and downloads. In the future, save files in the proper folder.
Organising your digital life is especially important if you run a business. If you are working with sensitive online documents in folders or files or have large data storing rooms that require constant surveillance, consider getting really organised and also investing in IP based technology such as NVR security systems, which can be exceptionally useful and allow you to remote monitor at any time, anywhere.
Organise Accounts and Passwords
Updating easy, insecure, or old passwords is crucial to your safety as is avoiding using the same passwords for more than one account. Use a password managing service that can be accessed with one master password, so you can store unique or difficult-to-remember words. Delete all accounts you do not use and opt to use MFA for extra protection.
Photos scattered everywhere make finding a specific one difficult, which is where photo organising come in. Back up all your photos and store them as you did with your documents. Proceed to create category folders and subfolders depending on how you prefer to store such as by date, year, or by events such as trips or family get-togethers. Delete photographs you don’t want.
Consider not storing your photos on Facebook, Instagram, or similar due to privacy concerns. Remove photos from social media and store them on the cloud or an external drive. Also, consider moving photos off your smartphone and into files on your computer or onto your means of storage.
Decluttering Streaming and Music
The same methods used for organising documents and photos are great for the organisation of music and any streaming services you may use. Choose a storage solution and back up and store your favourite songs or pieces. Create a folder system for the organisation of your music collection such as a folder for each artist or composer. Delete any duplicates you find. Streaming service music can be organised into playlists.
Organise Your Emails
Organising emails may be the most challenging task of all. Begin by clearing out your inbox, know that you will not read every one and probably have no reason to keep many of the ones you have. For messages you do choose to keep, move them to the archive. Unsubscribe from sites or businesses that send you emails you are no longer interested in. You can create labels or folders for emails if it aids in the organisation of emails. Another important habit to develop is to not use your emails as a to-do list. Use available filters to keep your inbox cleared. Check your email two or three times per day but do not check constantly.
The Social Media Challenge
Over-reliance or dependency on social media (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter) can be distracting. Most of us use these tools to stay connected with family and friends, but there is no point in staying wired 24/7. You can take a break together or reorganise by using as few apps as possible. Reduce who you follow, remove your feed, bookmark pages for easy consultation, and make lists to scroll only to things that interest you. If you want to declutter. Remove apps from your phone so that you don’t waste time scrolling. Mute notifications and allocate a specific amount of time for social media activity.
The number of apps used any day of the week is huge. Many apps installed are never used. Delete any apps you don’t use. Limit apps to one for each purpose and sort apps into folders to declutter your smartphone’s screen. Turn off any notifications and move files from your smartphone to your computer.
Organising your digital life is just as tedious as cleaning your home, but doing so will enable you to avoid distraction, focus more, and enjoy a clearer mind.