No Dusting Required: Reasons to Digitally Spring Clean

When's the last time you thought about a digital spring clean? Check out this video for tips or read the transcript below.

Spring cleaning is a hot topic right now. The latest Real Simple magazine has spring cleaning all over and everybody's excited for the fresh start and the second quarter of the year and new goals. But with spring cleaning, I have no interest in telling you about how to dust your blinds –important – but I really don't know how to talk about that.

What I do know how talk about would be digital spring cleaning, which can really be helpful for both work and home life, being productive, and feeling self-improvement. It seems minor and it seems not important sometimes, but we’re like “What's that? Why would I bother?” But the increased time that you save and then feeling non-cluttered can really help.

For digital spring cleaning, I like to go through and make sure on my computer that things are running efficiently.

And so, when is the last time that you thought about checking your virus software and checking that you have the latest versions of things installed. A lot of people don't worry about this until it's too late because they run into a problem like, the computer decided to die on them and they don't know why. Part of that is from digital spring cleaning or any time you do it – any time of year technically, but this idea is that we're cleaning up our digital files and computers. That would be one thing, to make sure virus protection is in order.

Are there any programs on your computer or that you're no longer using?

Did they show up on your startup screen and slow down your computer actually and you constantly find yourself closing out of it? For a long time, I had Spotify but I wasn't using it, but it would show up and I kept closing it. Well, about just uninstall that and save myself the time.

So, try that. What's happening on the computer and your home screen, but then also, browser extensions would be important. I'll tend to gather browser extensions especially as they relate to productivity or time management and like, “Ooh, I like this.” I'll try it and sometimes they stick and sometimes they don't for what I'm using or it comes and goes. Maybe I'll use something for a couple of months and then I'll move onto the next thing, so it just depends. That's actually a hack to productivity because a lot of times people think you have to find the one method that works, but for a lot of people including myself,

I find that I try different things and see what sticks over time.

So, cleaning up browser extensions, deleting some of those, and finding new ones if you're stuck on something. If you're struggling with something like, “I know I need to do better with organizing my digital receipts, but how do I do that?” Just type it into Google, taking the time to type in “how do I deal with receipts” and maybe you'll find that new browser extension that you enjoy.

Then the other thing would be email, so what does your email inbox looks like right now and can you do some cleaning up there? Going through e-mails that are no longer needed and for me a lifesaver recently has been that unroll.me and there are a couple of different versions of this and the one I use is free. But unroll.me gathers all of my subscriptions from e-mail into one email. I get one daily report that says, “Here’s the 400 emails that you would have gotten today if they weren't all condensed into one.” And yes, Gmail’s promotional tag helps organize this but this makes it even easier in one email. That has helped me with digital cleaning and saving time in the long run and also money because I'm not opening those e-mails to be able to spend more money on the latest and greatest or a new swimsuit for summer, which is on the horizon.

The other thing I see are folders on people's desktops. How are you organizing the files you're saving?

Maybe you have a new set of files that you're working on but they're all just getting crammed into one folder. Can you streamline that process and add a short shortcut to your desktop to make sure that you have easy access to it instead of it being buried down into multiple folders? That would be something to think about. The overall message here is even though it seems like it takes time to be able to digitally spring clean, it actually saves time when you set aside time to be able to streamline these processes, delete what's not working for you, clean up what is, find new things that might work for you.

Another way to do that would be to ask people to see what they're doing on their screens and what's syncing up from their phone to their laptop to the cloud.

What's working and what's not working and what can you adopt for this spring to make things more efficient in your life? Keep me posted. I'd love to hear what you're using and what's working for your digital spring cleaning this spring.