When you start up your computer do you dread sifting through your emails? Do you spend ages looking for that document you saved in some obscure file path that seemed to make sense at the time? Often electronic clutter gets dismissed as unimportant however it is just as damaging to our focus and productivity as physical clutter. Here are my top tips and tricks for streamlining your computer files so that you never have to spend ages searching for something again!
- Try not to save items to your desktop as this will make it cluttered. Instead save them under a logical file path and create a shortcut to that file path on your desktop.
- Create logical file paths! As a general rule, a eight year old should be able to intuitively find items you have filed. For example, the file path for this article is:
Creative Writing/Blog/Articles Both Series and Weekly/2014-15 Articles/2014-15 Weekly Entries/11 March Decluttering/4 Decluttering Weekly Posts (22nd March)
NB: Notice the numbers at the beginning of some of the folder names? This helps sort folders into a logical sequence rather than automatically sorting them alphabetically (for example, if I were to write down the days of the month they wouldn’t save in chronological order so this is a handy way around that!)
- Now create all the logical file paths for the content on your computer and transfer your documents into them – this will initially involve going through your current file paths and discovering exactly what you have stored on your computer and deleting any unnecessary documents.
- Organise your desktop icons for your programs by type of program. For example, I have one column for media, one column for virus, malware and spyware programs and one column for MS Office.
- Create logical folders in all of your email accounts as mentioned above and place all your emails into their respective folders. Take care to flag emails that need to be followed up at a later date so they remain obvious. Delete all unnecessary emails.
- Declutter and sort your emails weekly.
Do you secretly have electronic clutter? What do you file paths look like? Could anyone use them? Do you have tips and tricks of your own for getting rid of electronic clutter? Please share your own tips and tricks in the comments below, I’d love to hear from you.