If it feels
like you’re waiting around to get things done, you might be right. Technology
that’s meant to make us more efficient can sometimes bog us down. A 2013
study found that participants spent an average of 16 minutes per day
waiting for their computer to start up, and a report found that
employees spend nearly two hours of every workday searching for information.
Add it up: That’s four entire days of life each year spent on looking for
spend nearly half their lives in front of a screen, so you may not realize it
at first, but every day there are pockets of time spent waiting that could
instead be spent getting results. Keeping your “digital clutter” to a minimum
can make the difference between a productive week and a disorganized mess. Get
things done, and as a bonus, your sanity stays intact.
Here are three ways
to digitally declutter your device for the better.
1. Free up your hard drive The laptop
life is more ubiquitous than ever: As more people are embracing working
remotely, many people use their personal device for both work and non-work activities,
especially consultants and entrepreneurs. As software and files collect on your drive, your device will slow down in
performance, and when hard drives are chronically taxed, their lifespans are
shortened. A good rule of thumb is that if the fan inside your laptop kicks on,
it’s because your drive is overheating. It might be time to move your files
elsewhere. Consider uploading most of your files to the cloud or using an
external hard drive. Thanks to improving chip technology, even a hard drive item
that holds thousands of gigabytes can sleekly fit into your laptop bag or even
your pocket in some cases.
2. Get a password manager Hackers have gotten very, very good at capturing your personal
information. A few common tactics include:
Keyloggers, in which code that
makes its way into your computer silently records all your keystrokes and
sends them to hackers, letting them harvest your passwords.
Fake Wireless Access
Points, in which a hacker creates a fake Wi-Fi
network in a public place and uses it to spy on your device.
Phishing, which has been
around for years, but continues to fool people in the form of scam emails,
scam texts or scam messages on social media, allowing malware to enter
your device and wreak havoc.
your productivity out the window like getting hacked, or worse, having your
identity stolen. Compromised security can affect both your business and
personal life. Assume someone could be watching what you’re doing on your
computer at this very moment. Consider moving over to a password manager, which
will encrypt all your passwords for you and help you manage having a different
password for every site. There are both free and paid options that get the job
You may be hesitant to forget your passwords, but once you’ve taken your first
trust fall, you never go back, and you’ll be able to reinvest the freed-up
mental space into your business.
3. Organize your files and establish a process Cloud services
are the future; they’ve grown to become a $266 billion market and
are projected to break $350 billion over the next three years.
If you’re not storing files in the cloud to keep your device itself free and
clear, it’s time to get started. Consider putting some thought into folder and
file names that will make them easy to locate later. Renaming files in the
moment can feel tedious but putting a few keywords into the name of your file
so you can track it down later will save you time in the long run. You can start every file name with the date in YYYYMMDD; this will let you
easily organize your files in chronological format. It also helps to
occasionally give your downloads folder a scrub, as duplicates and forgotten
files often live there, cluttering up your device. A quick win is to open your
downloads folder, arrange its contents from largest files to smallest and
then start chipping away. Either move those bigger files to the cloud or trash