Digital Dusting

As blossoms begin to bloom and the days become warmer, we can happily acknowledge a new time of year.  That’s right, it’s Spring Cleaning Season.  As you break out the dusters, mops, and the never-ending line of cleaning products to clean your floors, drawers and closets don’t forget one additional place to clean — your computer. Odds are that, like me, you have never done a full clean-up of your technology.

One night, in a fever of spring cleaning I decided to tackle my own computer. I was tired of getting software update notifications and having my desktop filled with random documents I used once so I followed the tips listed below. The outcome was very fulfilling. No longer was I bogged down by hundreds of “Buy one get one free” emails or searching endlessly for  my important documents. I could just open my computer and immediately get to work, and for someone who likes to procrastinate as much as I do, that is a big deal!

So get out your digital duster and make space for a faster computer, cleaner desktop, and (hopefully) a  more productive digital workspace.

Eliminate Clutter

It’s time to pare down those document files. Resist the “just in case” and the “I might need this later” syndromes. (Think of me as your virtual support group and trust me when I say “you won’t”). Don’t be a digital hoarder. If the information can be easily replaced do not keep it.  Start with the oldest documents and get really comfortable with that delete button. Once you have deleted the old items, organize the remaining files into folders with clear/concise names. Now you are ready to organize and delete pictures. If possible, move them to cloud storage or another external hard-drive; this will clear up space on your computer. Finally, delete all of those items in your download folder, you’ve moved these long ago and no longer need them. Repeat this affirmation “Delete, delete, delete!”  Feel better?

Detoxify Your Emails

Now that we’ve cleared out the junk on your desktop it’s time to clear out your inbox.  Take a hard look at folders you use don’t consistently and the dreaded email subscription addiction. Take some time to go through all those newsletters and email lists and unsubscribe from the ones you don’t read, or even open. For the next week or two make an effort to open every newsletter you receive and either unsubscribe from it or edit your preferences to best suit you. This will allow you to get to the important emails a lot faster without wading through the junk mail sludge.

Button Up

Your documents are decluttered, your email is streamlined, and your old downloads are gone; now  you are ready to protect  your valuable information. Update your antivirus software, run a scan on your computer (Kaspersky provides free security scans from their website) and update all of your passwords at least once a year. This will ensure that your accounts are protected from hackers. Finally check your computer type and see if you need to manually defrag your computer (Windows XP users I am talking to you). In short, defragging is a maintenance task required by your hard drives to put your  data in sequential order so your computer doesn’t have to work as hard to read the info. Many computers automatically defrag your computer but it is important to check and make sure this is being done consistently.

Cleaning might be a chore but it is an important tool for keeping  your information organized and your life less stressful. Let us know if our tips helped or if there is any information you would like to know more about!


Image via iStockphoto koya79
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