How to Marie Kondo your Computer
People often ask me how I get so much work done and honestly it because I’m minimalist and have fewer things to distract me from getting things done.
None more so am I minimalist than on my computer.
It may sound like all I do is log in, open a document and my email and I’m away, but that’s not what I mean by minimalist.
As Marie Kondo suggests in the wildly popular The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up you should only keep things that spark joy in your life and remove everything else from your focus. That’s exactly what you need to do with your online life as well as your physical one.
My top tips for decluttering your online self:
Turn off your notifications
Do this on your phone, laptop and tablet. Keep messages on – as you’ll most likely need these notifications – but turn off Twitter, the news, Candy Crush and Tinder notifications.
On average we spend over four hours a day on our phones and this due, in part, to fear of FOMO. (Fear of Missing Out). Turning off your notifications may seem to be a step in the wrong direction with regards to FOMO but you have no idea how much you’re missing out on in your physical life due to your cluttered online life.
Unsubscribe from emails
Until recently I had two email accounts. One for work and one for junk. Whenever I signed up to a store newsletter to get a discount or when I signed up to market research I used my junk email address. The point is that my work email remained uncluttered and my junk email got all the bad emails.
But with GDPR I realised I don’t need to have two separate email accounts to keep my email uncluttered. I could just unsubscribe from these emails and then I could have a personal account and a work account. As, ultimately, as my work increases I don’t want to be distracted by personal emails in my inbox.
If you unsubscribe from marketing emails but still get them long after pressing unsubscribe then report these emails to ICO – the Information Commissioners Office, whose job it is to limit spam emails in accordance to the new data protection laws.
Clear cache and cookies
We’ve all heard of cache and cookies but very few of us know what these actually mean. We cache something every time we access a file through our web browser. Basically we ‘store’ it so that our computer doesn’t keep retrieving the same file each time we click back or forward. But this means we store everything until we clear our cache.
A cookie is a file created by our web browsers at the request of a website – it’s what we usually get asked in a dropbox every time we click on a new website. These cookies are also stored on our computer.
Periodically we need to clear our cache and cookies otherwise our computers are going to run extremely slowly and we’re going to blame our wi-fi connection when really it’s our search history.
I recommend doing this every month. It can be frustrating as clearing your cache means that you delete any saved passwords – but then this is a security issue. We should not be saving our passwords on our computer. We need to remember them, otherwise, they’re not very secure.
Delete downloads and contents of your recycle bin
Another easy declutter to do every month is deleting the contents of our download folder and recycle bin. If we recycled it then we don’t need it, so why are we still saving it? And downloads are usually saved within minutes of downloading, so why are we saving these?
Go through them, save the ones that haven’t been saved properly and delete the rest.
Delete bookmarks you don’t use
I once had over 100 bookmarks on my computer and I probably used ten of them daily. The rest I had saved for projects I was no longer doing, ideas for the future and websites I thought I might go back to but never did. We don’t need these bookmarks if we’re not using them.
You don’t just leave a bookmark in a book if you’re no longer reading it after all. Delete the redundant bookmarks and find another website you’ll actually use, or just declutter your bookmark tabs.
Organise your folders
Folders do not need to be a maze. You can have one folder for documents for work and personal use, one for family photos, friends photos and special photos and then an entire drop list folder of music.
Regularly go through these folders and delete documents you no longer need. Do you really need your original drafted CV when you’ve got three more recent ones? Uh, no. You don’t even need three recent ones, you just need the most recent.
Do you need all of the research you did for the dissertation from three years ago? No. How about the bad love poetry you wrote after a break-up or the book that you started writing six years ago and never finished.
Clear the photos that are blurred or are repeats of selfies – find the best selfie and delete the rest. Clear music that you no longer like or listen too, get rid of any doubles.
You’ll be amazed by how much memory and battery life your computer actually has once you’ve done all of these things.
A simple afternoon spent decluttering your computer whilst listening to music and drinking your favourite drink is not a bad way to spend a Sunday.