Time for a Digital Declutter!

When I’m busy on client work my own systems can get neglected. So last month I set myself a target to do a digital declutter - small, simple tasks with a different focus each week.

Here’s what I did and what you can very easily do too:

Week 1: Dropbox and Google Drive

I need to be able to quickly lay my hands on documents or emails day in, day out so I try not to have too many folders to scroll through

- Reviewed folder structures
- Merged, deleted and relabelled folders
- Unlinked from old shared folders
- Deleted ALOT of old documents

I stick with key labels and make sure the file name is as logical as possible to help with searches.

Week 2: Inboxes

I currently have access to 12 inboxes - some are solely mine and others I jointly look after - so it can feel like a constant flurry of emails coming in.

- Emptied Deleted Items and Junk folders
- Reviewed sub-folders - deleted some old and created some new
- Flagged and filed emails across all my Inboxes
- Unsubscribed from so many mailers!
- Created some automatic filing rules

I use my inboxes a bit like to do lists so they need to be current. If it’s waiting an action or a reply it stays put otherwise it gets filed or deleted.

Week 3: Desktop & C: Drive

An easy week but a game changer for freeing up storage space on my laptop so I hope this helps you too…

- Emptied Downloads folder

Embarrassed to say I had over 6,500 documents in there dating back to 2018; many of which were large PDF documents! Clearing this freed up 35GB of storage space!

Week 4: Mobile Phone & iPad

Last but not least my phone and iPad got a much needed overhaul!

- Contacts - update, merge, delete
- WhatsApp - exit and delete old groups and mute annoying group chats (!)
- Apps - review, update, group, delete
- Photos - delete, delete, delete!
- Notifications - turn most off to reduce distractions.
- Screen Time - set myself some healthy boundaries!

I also found some time to audit my Password Manager app, Dash Lane, which I have used for years. I couldn’t run my business or life without it because my brain basically can’t remember over 250 passwords without a little hel! It did however need a bit of a declutter to remove logins for old accounts. I then made sure all my business passwords were categorised by client and my personal ones have categories like home utilities, shopping, school, banking etc.

If your digital systems are in need of a declutter then try breaking down those tedious tasks into smaller chunks to make it more manageable - and the sense of achievement at the end is great. Let me know how you get on!

Ellie Lane
Fast Lane VA Ltd