Although most people are familiar with the importance of decluttering one’s home, too few realize the value of reducing digital clutter for the benefit of their personal and professional lives. In this article, we will describe what digital clutter is, discuss the benefits of reducing it, and give recommendations on how to accomplish this.
What is digital clutter?
Digital clutter is anything that causes or adds to the disorganization of your files, data, and digital devices. Some common examples of digital clutter include crowded email inboxes, devices using too much storage space for unused apps and pictures, as well as having hundreds of files on your desktop.
As with physical clutter, digital clutter heightens stress level and anxiety and lowers your productivity by making files more difficult to find. Digital clutter also increases cybersecurity risks, slows down your devices—which also impacts your productivity—, and has a negative impact on the environment by using more power.
Digital clutter is a widespread problem
According to experts, the average American currently has the following amount of digital clutter:
- 7 open tabs in their browser
- 20 desktop icons
- 13 unused phone apps
- 582 saved smartphone pictures
- 209 GB of cloud storage
- 4 external hard drives
- 654 GB of external storage
Benefits of reducing digital clutter
- By reducing digital clutter, an individual will immediately feel mental relief and be able to better focus on their work tasks.
- With less clutter to navigate through, you will be able to spend less time finding the files and data you need and more time working with them.
- The more digital data you have, the more susceptible you will be to hackers. The risk of a data breach increases when you have files and apps that you do not monitor regularly.
- The more data you can remove from the hard drive of your desktop, laptop, and smart phone, the faster your device speed will be. You will be able to accomplish tasks more quickly and effectively when you can easily access files and take advantage of optimal computing power.
- The less data on your hard drives, the smaller your carbon footprint will be.
Recommended ways to reduce digital clutter
IT experts recommend taking these steps to reduce the amount of digital clutter in your personal and professional lives.
- Clean out your inbox. Remove all spam, block junk emails, unsubscribe from outdated newsletters, and delete unimportant messages.
- Keep your desktop screen clean. Although most people like having shortcuts to apps on their desktop, experts recommend deleting as much software and as many files as possible. They advise people to simply use the search box on the Start menu to find apps and files.
- Practice more efficient web browsing–do not have too many tabs open and control your bookmarks. Your brain will become quickly overwhelmed and stressed when you look at a device with too many tabs open. Try to keep the number of open tabs to a minimum while working on all devices. In addition, there is no need to keep bookmarks for websites you rarely if ever use, so they should be monitored and deleted regularly.
- Delete unused apps. Having too many apps will cause your devices to lag and run slowly. Make a point of uninstalling apps you never or seldom use. Also, be wary of vampire apps, which are continually running in the background, eat up your storage space, and will drain your battery.
- Reduce the number of photos and documents. There is no reason to have blurry pictures or duplicate photos stored on your devices, so it makes sense to regularly delete these images. You also should not keep document duplicates or unimportant documents. In addition, experts recommend using external storage devices dedicated to photos and specific files to free up the storage on your main devices.
- Organize your folders. After uninstalling apps and deleting unnecessary photos and files, it makes sense to place your files in specific folders for easy reference. Experts recommend keeping a close eye on the Downloads folder, as it tends to accumulate files loaded from the internet. A good rule of thumb is to clean out your folders every other month.
- Avoid social media and turn off notifications during work hours. There is nothing that disrupts your work productivity more than getting constant notifications and interruptions involving social media. Experts recommend turning off notifications and avoiding social media accounts during work hours. If this seems too difficult, workers should set aside some of their lunch hour or other break time to access these accounts.
- Install software updates regularly. Security and productivity experts recommend keeping a close eye on when software updates become available, and they advise workers to quickly install them. These beneficial updates will enable your software and devices to run faster and will also provide security patches that keep hackers at bay.
- Utilize selected apps for help. Experts recommend researching and utilizing a limited number of applications that are designed to help companies and individuals limit their digital clutter.
Consult with your IT Support partner
We recommend you take the time to discuss ways to reduce your company and workers’ digital clutter with a trusted IT Support partner like Network Depot. These experts will assess your company’s current state of digital clutter and recommend actions to take to resolve any issues. By listening to their advice, following the recommendations in this article, and utilizing effective tools, your company’s workers will be able to limit the amount of digital clutter in their personal and professional lives. With a reduced amount of digital clutter at your organization, you will be better able to achieve your unique objectives.