Walking into a clean and organized work space fills us with energy and focus. The walls are bare, except for the occasional piece of artwork, the floors are clean, surfaces are uncluttered and ready to use. Everything is in its place and easily accessible, you don’t have to scrounge through drawers to find a pen or document. These kinds of offices give us a clear head, and allow us to do our best work.
Does your digital workspace mirror your physical workspace? Do you get the same feeling when you open the lid of your laptop, or are you bombarded with a cluttered desktop and a dozen restored tabs on your browser?
Do not underestimate the value of an organized digital workspace. Chances are the majority of the work you do is on your computer, and your productivity and enjoyment depend on your easy navigation and organization.
Just like keeping your desk and office tidy, you can reduce digital clutter by building good habits. Make these changes, and you’ll optimize your digital workspace.
Get your inbox under control
Do you wait a week before checking your mail, walking by it each day watching it collect and grow? Or do you check it every day and keep what’s important while tossing the rest? We’re hoping it’s the latter, which is the same way you should treat your email inbox.
We know it’s tempting to let that inbox number grow higher and higher, after all, it’ll always be there, waiting to be looked at. Don’t do it.
Unsubscribe to newsletters, advertisements, communities that no longer add value to your life. Don’t just delete, unsubscribe, since many sites send their subscribers content on a daily basis, which adds up fast. Unsubscribing only takes a few moments – just look for the “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of the email, or near the top, next to the sender’s email address if you’re using Gmail.
Create a folder structure
Folders are there to make your life easier, so use them to your advantage. You should have folders for different clients, tasks, contracts, etc. Create a folder structure with categories and “subfolders” that makes sense to you. Most importantly, remember to take time to save to the correct folder, so you can easily access the document instead of spending forever searching for it.
Know when it’s time to delete some tabs
How many tabs do you currently have open right now? Can you even remember what they’re about? If it’s fewer than five, we’re impressed. Keeping a dozen tabs open is often because you don’t want those important pages to get tossed back out into the internet and lost forever. Working, researching, browsing, checking the news, it all adds up until it becomes excessive. If you’re a super multitasker or just have a tab problem, then The Great Suspender is the next browser extension you need to install. This extension automatically suspends unused tabs to free up system resources.
Even though the Great Suspender might increase your computer’s efficiency, having more than 7 tabs open can get confusing and decrease your efficiency. Try to periodically prune your tabs to keep yourself focused on the task at hand.
Clean up your desktop
A messy desktop is like working from a cluttered desk – it looks overwhelming and it gets difficult to find what you need. Your computer has to work to load all those little icons too, so removing them will help speed up your computer. Ideally, your desktop should have as few icons on it as possible.
A clean desktop reduces distractions, and if you ever do need to save something to your desktop for quick access, you’ll actually be able to find it!
Never remember your passwords again
Just like the amount of time spent standing in line or being stuck in traffic, the amount of time spent on failed login attempts is bound to be a new statistic at some point. It happens to everyone, but it’s no less frustrating, especially if it leads to you having to recover and create a new password.
If you use more logins than you can count (as many of us do), then try 1Password. 1Password saves all your passwords and login information for every site you visit with one click. This is especially a benefit to professionals who need multiple secure passwords, which are lengthy and near impossible to remember.
Use cloud storage to reduce digital clutter
Even better than sorting, deleting, and organizing files is not having them on your desktop at all. Next time you need to start your next writing project, do it in google docs instead. You’ll never have to worry about a failed hard drive or lost work from forgetting to save.
If you’re already using Dropbox – great! If not, it can save you a ton of space and make sharing files extremely easy. Using the Dropbox extension, you can automatically upload files to Dropbox, instead of downloading to your computer.
Clear up space
If you’re storing too much data on your computer or phone, eventually you’ll see the effects as it starts to load software and apps more slowly. Go through all your downloads, pictures, documents, and programs to see what can either be uninstalled, deleted, or stored on an external hard drive.
Backing up media and documents that aren’t being stored on a cloud is good practice anyway. Remember, all hard drives eventually fail, and you don’t want to be sorry when that day comes.
At iQ we provide spacious, clean, and attractive office spaces because we know how much your surroundings impact performance. The same applies to the kind of atmosphere that exists on your computer screen. Don’t let technology bog you down – keep your digital spaces clean, free of clutter and watch your productivity gains soar.