We’re so digital now that our clutter online can get out of control. We have apps we don’t use, countless notes on our iPhones, and old uni files we can’t quite bring ourselves to get rid of.
I wanted to share some amazing tools that have helped me calm my digital clutter.
I’ve only been using Google Drive for six months or so, but, WOW. For those that don’t know, Google Drive is online storage that allows you to keep files in Google Doc (like MS Word), Google Sheets (like MS Excel) and Google Slides (like MS PowerPoint). It is essentially just like Finder on a Mac or Explorer on a PC.
I don’t use Slides, but use Docs and Sheets all the time. I use Docs for writing blogs, keeping lists and Sheets for financial admin etc. The beauty of Google Drive is that you can access your files from any computer or smartphone from anywhere in the world. Pretty incredible.
My trusty pink laptop was on the verge of dying, so I transferred all of the documents I wanted to keep onto Google Drive so that they were safe, backed up, and always accessible. When I switched to my new computer, it made the transfer so much easier.
Just be sure to keep your files in clear, labeled folders so that your information is easy to find. Here’s an example of how I keep my decluttering information organised.
Until 2016, I think I was the only person possibly in the world under the age of 60 to still use a Filofax. I transferred from my hard copy calendar to a digital calendar six months or so ago and it is amazing. No messy crossing out when dates change and no lumping it around in my handbag at all times.
I switched to Google Calendar last week, so I’m still getting used to it, but it seems pretty good and you can colour code, which I love!
I have birthdays and anniversaries in the same colour and add in the year that they were born/got married so I don’t miss any big birthdays or anniversaries. For example, I’ve put my friend Alyce’s upcoming wedding in as “Alyce and Ashley wedding anniversary 2018”. I keep day-to-day activities in the default blue colour and recurring reminders in yellow.
I only have two lists on my iPhone – one for groceries and the other is my “to-do” list.
In my to do list, I keep a note of all of the jobs I need to do – like get around to renewing a passport or remembering to take something to work the next day. It’s so helpful to have it in one place and not scattered in physical notes around the house.
Most people seem to have gazillions of notes in their iPhone from something they need to do to an idea of brilliance for their next blog. I use Google Drive to capture this information so you know where to find it when you need it.
At the beginning of the year, I decided to go paperless at work. I know, I know – I’m 10 years behind the trend. I always used a paper diary to write my to do list in (and then I’d highlight when I’d done it for nerdy satisfaction) and would keep printed project files on a bookshelf in the office that I was actively working on.
I realised one day that if I lost my diary, I’d be jaffed. And if the building burnt down, I’d really be jaffed.
Now instead of using my diary with my to do list, I use Tasks in Outlook. It’s so helpful to see clearly what I’m working on, change the order according to importance and be able to easily change the date on a task if i don’t get round to finishing it. Tasks also help me to avoid having little pieces of paper littered around my desk area. I keep all actions in my tasks and my desktop free of “to-do” files. For example, if I need to work on a spreadsheet, I’ll write a quick note in the task and include the document in the task file so it’s all ready to go when I get to it. Avoiding clutter around your desk really helps your day to flow better and not get overwhelmed within your work space.
I also use the Tasks to keep notes on my active projects, so I don’t keep random notes laying around. Once a task is complete, you can still go back and search on a keyword or date so your random notes can be found – super helpful!
I’ve always used the Outlook calendar for meetings, but now I colour code recurring actions so I can clearly see when meetings are vs things to do.
I treat my inbox as a to do list. When I’ve actioned an item, I just delete the email. We’re lucky enough to have our emails backed up so I can always find an old email if I happen to need it.
Of course, if you don’t use Outlook, other email programs offer similar functions.
This is a little segway, but this app is such a good way to cut down on all of the cards you carry in your wallet. The first step is to declutter your wallet on the reg as it is often a place that gets crammed full of junk. Stocard is an app that stores barcodes for loyalty cards. I simply scanned my supermarket, coffee and store loyalty cards on the app, which then stores them, meaning I could get rid of those extra cards.
I’m so curious to hear how you use technology to clear your digital clutter. I’d love to hear what tools you use and what works for you – just leave a comment below!