Declutter your tech: computer

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Just like a smartphone, many of us tend to use our computers a lot of the time, whether it’s for work or just personal use. A decluttered computer with freed up space can help you be more efficient and experience less waiting times because of a slowed down system. Compared to a phone, we tend to stock even more unnecessary things on a computer, since it has more storage space. We tend to save old documents, family photos and videos, music and what not. Even though the files look small, it easily builds up until you get a notification that you have less than 1% storage space left. So how do you deal with the computer? Where do you start in the decluttering?

Programs & Apps

Well, I say start with the biggest (and probably easiest) first. Programs and apps. Depending on how your OS works you’ll have programs or apps installed on your computer. These you should go through, delete anything you do not need or that takes up too much space. If you have a Mac, go through the dock to see what programs you actually use on a regular basis, the others you can remove from there (I don’t mean delete completely, just from the dock). If you have the option to group programs together, this can be an idea too (I have grouped all Microsoft programs together in a folder, as well as Adobe).

Photos

After arranging the programs I would continue with photos. Start with deleting all bad photos, duplicates, etc. then do a back-up either to an external hard drive or to an online cloud service or similar. Or do both. I have previously used Flickr for storage, but unfortunately, they no longer allow free unlimited storage, so if you have a lot it might not suffice. I also use Google Photos (mostly for RAW format). I also keep an external hard drive around for extra safety. When the deleting and saving part is done you can either leave it or you can continue with organizing it all. I have all my photos organized into years and months so that I can easily find what I am looking for. Special trips are also in designated folders. Newer cameras and smartphones will also have the geotag option which is neat for grouping albums together. Whatever suits your needs best is the best option!

Music & Video

After photos, go through other files, such as films and music. If you are like me and you use streaming services for everything connected to media, then maybe you don’t need to keep your old library of iTunes songs that take up space? If you do not use them, but still do not feel ready to part with them, maybe a solution can be to transfer them to an external hard drive for safekeeping? Either way, the same procedure applies here as with photos. Delete everything not needed, back-up and then organize the remainders in a suitable way.

Documents

When all media is done and sorted through it’s time to deal with all your documents. Delete everything you don’t want or need to keep. Then back-up all (I keep mine in Dropbox). Something I try to avoid are “lose” documents. I put everything in folders named related to what it is so I can more easily find them. For example, I have folders that are called *School”, “Work”, “Important”, and under each, I have further classification like “Master’s”, “High School”, etc.. 

E-mail & Bookmarks

Finally done with all files, it’s time to take on the online stuff, like your e-mail and saved bookmarks. Go through e-mail, unsubscribe to all that “bad stuff” you do not need in your life (like online shops that spark your inner shopaholic, things you never signed up for…), create a system of how to categorize the e-mails you need to be saved (I use folder for this too, like “Work”, “Payments & Receipts”, “Important”). Then starts the big job. To get the inbox down to (more or less) zero. It’s not necessary to have a completely empty inbox (I, for one, like to leave important e-mails in the inbox as flagged as to not miss/forget them), but it’s really nice when you have had an inbox of 1000+ e-mails to get down to 20 or even 50. A good way to avoid getting a cluttered inbox is to delete the irrelevant ones directly. I try to do this immediately when I read them, so I don’t have to go over 1000+ emails every time I feel like decluttering. Also, don’t forget to go through your saved folders every now and then. Something that was important a year ago might not be today!

Lastly, go through bookmarks! I tend to save a lot of stuff to my bookmarks, which in the end can make it quite hard and annoying to find things. Go through them all and rearrange those you want to keep and delete the rest.

Now what?

Now you can enjoy a computer that is less cluttered and less stressful!

At least until the next decluttering session!

Declutter you tech: phone & tablet

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How decluttering your phone can make you feel better

Let’s face it, most of us rely on our phones a lot. We use it as a camera, we use it as a calendar, for reminders, for grocery list and all this is in addition to its original use communication.

When your phone is cluttered, it can feel crowded and stressful. There are too many apps taking up storage, you have trouble finding all your pictures because there are so many and you have no system for them. Also, you never seem to find the right number you are looking for in the contact list because you seem to have kept all contacts since you were in junior high. Then all of a sudden it starts acting up because you have no storage room left (this seems to happen no matter how many GB there are in there…).

Easily put, decluttering your phone will have the benefit of making it more easily manageable, which in turn will lead to you having to spend less time using it. This, of course, can lead to you clearing up precious time you could spend on more fun things. Decluttering your phone is similar to decluttering your home or your closet, you can expect less time looking for things and more ease of mind.

So how to go about it?

Phone

I always like to start with something easy, just to get into it a bit. For me, this tends to be apps.

Go through all your apps and delete the ones that are not being used or that take to much energy or time from your day (or that give you anxiety or maybe even an urge to shop!). Then arrange them in groups/folders according to what they are about, so you minimize the space needed. Then you drag them to the second and/or third page and only leave the most used/necessary ones on the home screen. It’s less stressful to be met by a clean, decluttered home screen than a crowded, messy one. I also would suggest a clean background that does not distract. If you want to use a family photo or something fun, maybe that can be used as a screen saver instead?

After apps, I suggest moving on to pictures, which if you are like me, might be a slightly more time-consuming feat. Go through all your photos! Delete old screenshots, duplicates and just plainly bad photos that you have no use or joy for. If you feel like more decluttering in the photo department you can transfer them to your computer or a cloud service and delete them locally, which will allow you to open up more storage space on your device. If you are more like me, who likes to keep things on all possible devices, or you have no problem with space, create albums that are based on happenings, what type of photo it is, or based on time (+ also make sure to have a back up anyways, since your phone might give up on you). This will allow you to find photos you are looking for quicker.

One thing I am guilty of is keeping all contacts. Honestly, will you ever again call your old soccer coach you haven’t seen in six years? And if so, don’t you think you could find his number on the white pages? Also, today you can pretty much reach anyone through Facebook, so if you get FOMO from deleting someone’s number, don’t!

Text messages. I honestly, don’t really use them anymore. Most of my communications go through Facebook messenger or Whatsapp. Still, I do get a fair share of messages for important things (or from grandma), so doing a clean here can be beneficial. You will have to decide yourself what is irrelevant here. I delete all promotional and reminder e-mails and only keep the conversations from friends and family. If you are not at all sentimental, you could always wipe it completely.

Lastly, we have video and music. If you are like me and you use streaming services you won’t really need to do much in this area, but if not. Look into what you actually need on your phone and what you can be without. Another thing I would like to add here is podcasts. I love them, but they tend to take up more space than any other app or file, so I try to make sure to “unsave” the episodes every now and then.

Tablet

This obviously only applies if you have a tablet, which I do. I use it mostly for reading, watching clips and movies, as well as playing games. This also means that I do not keep a lot of files on there.

For the tablet, the same process as for the phone applies: apps, photos, movies, and music.

Here I also keep a good amount of downloaded documents in iBooks, so going through them to delete all the old things I do not need (looking at you pdf from second year of uni…) is a must.

Extra

If you want to go even further in your decluttering, go ahead with your other tech.

If you have a camera:

  • Delete all duplicates and bad photos.
  • Transfer all photos to a computer (or wherever you tend to keep them).

Another neat thing to do is to look through all the chords and devices you have at home. Do you use all? Do you need all? Have you maybe thrown away the device that actually goes with that one chord? Then that should go too!

 

How to Minimize Your Time Online

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The World Wide Web has been revolutionizing for the way we live online. So has social media. Today, it is rare to meet people in the west who do not engage in any kind of social media platform. Finding someone who doesn’t use the Internet even less so.

It’s easy to see the positive aspects that the Internet and social media has brought into our lives. It has made knowledge more accessible and communication across the globe easier. But it’s not only positive. Except for the simple fact that social media can make us more distracted and less efficient in our offline lives, social media can make us depressed.

So what can we do to stay on the positive side of social media and Internet usage?

Ways to limit your time spent online

Disable notifications

When we have notifications for all the different social apps on our phones, it’s hard to keep the hands off. By disabling notifications, we don’t notice as easily when something “happens” and it might help us avoid opening up social media in the first place.

Set boundaries

By setting boundaries, you make it clearer to yourself what is okay use and what is not. Maybe you only want to use social media in the evening or a certain amount of time a day. By making it clear to yourself it is easier to hold yourself accountable.

Use tracking apps

Funnily, there are apps for helping with excessive screen time. Moment is one app that can help limit the use of the phone. It measures screen time and how many times you pick up your phone in a day. If Instagram is your worst vice, you can set a notification within the app that will remind you when you surpass a certain amount of time in a day.

Be mindful

Try not to grab your phone every time you are bored. Try to think before you open an app what the purpose really is and if it will do anything for you. Will it make you happier? Will it just waste your time?

Try a short detox

When there is a problematic behavior, my best tip is always to lay it off for a while, to do a small detox. This can be anything from avoiding social media altogether for a few weeks, to having a designated day or two a week where you avoid social media and/or tech.