Your inbox has thousands of messages. Your smartphone notification window is alerting you to 6 different social media apps that need your attention. You have 19 tabs open, each with some purpose that you’ve probably already forgotten. You have a conversation going with a family member in a variety of different places — text message, Facebook messenger, email — and you can’t keep track of what was last said…
You know the feeling of satisfaction, relaxation, and relief that comes when you’ve tidied up your room or house? It’s the exact same when you tidy up your digital life. You regain the ability to focus on important things — not necessarily productive things, but important things like your family, a good book, even a great meal. When’s the last time you went a day without checking your smartphone during a meal?”
-jeremy anderberg www.artofmanliness.com
That there hits the nail on the head. Not that I’m really all that important and don’t use 6 social media outlets, but the sentiment rings true. This is the digital age and our gadgets have become extensions of our limbs.
Enter the need for simplification. For minimizing the overwhelm and getting back to the basics. As a stay at home mom I don’t face the work emails and phone calls like I used to but my digital world is cluttered nonetheless. My husband actually came across some useful articles on this very topic and I wanted to share some of the tips we found helpful- and cool to boot!
So here are my random
10 tips for decluttering your digital life:
There is oh so much more but let’s be realistic with our goals.
- Unsubscribe– not only will it clean up your inbox and feel less overwhelming, as well as bring only important items to your atention- it will ALSO help you avoid temptation to buy. Everything is ALWAYS ON SALE. Everything is marked up all the time so that it can go on sale at some point. You don’t need to know about it every single day. Shop only when you need something specific. I once read “ If you don’t buy it it is 100% off”. I love that quote.
- Use a priority mailbox– Google has it. Or like the Spark app for your phone. This kind of box will help you automatically sort. That way when you check your email you won’t get sidetracked looking at deals but will be able to address the 2 actually important emails and move on with your day. Plus use filters to sort incoming mail.
- Cool plugin I learned about is called Boomerang- and no not the Instagram video thing- but a plugin designed to help you schedule when emails return to your inbox or are scheduled to go out. Check it out here.
- Read a cool article about gmail searching to slim down your inbox. Check out this article in Popular Science. For example did you know you can search something like “has:attachment larger_than:10mb” in the search query box and you’ll get all emails with attachments larger than 10 mb? Select All and trash if they are no longer needed. Searches like this and several more in the article. Very cool.
- Use your calendar to remind you of things- not your inbox. perhaps the boomerang thing might be for you if you do this a lot- like my husband. But try calendaring or setting reminders so that your inbox isn’t so full.
- Go through your apps. Delete EVERY SINGLE ONE that you don’t access regularly. Shopping apps, games, trackers, redundant apps etc.
- Go through your pictures– I know. That would take forever cuz there are thousands right? Well it’s is just going to get worse until you run out of room. And moving them to your computer doesn’t make your job done either. Take 5 minutes out of social media scrolling a night and skim through your photos and delete duplicates, unflattering selfies and blurry children. Then you’ll have only what you want when you do get around to backing it up.
- Make folders for apps you don’t need ready access to. It’ll tidy up your homescreens and you won’t be tempted to idle away time by just clicking on it because you’ll have to drill down if you really need it.
- Close browser tabs. If you want it you’ll search for it again.
- Pick 1 or 2 social media outlets. Rather than feeling like you need to post or check in on all 5 outlets- pick just 1 or 2. Most of your good friends and family are going to be on the ones you pick anyway. If you really need to access it you can do so from your computer when that time arises. For now, let it go. Trust Elsa on this one.
Ta-da! Feeling a tad lighter and more organized? Me too. It’s funny how even the virtual clutter can weigh you down and you don’t even realize it. I’m trying to take some sage advice and not let what was supposed to add to my purposefulness take away from it instead.
I love this technological world we live in. I can stay connected to friends and family that are far away. I can access vast amounts of information on any subject at any time. I can visually journal my kids lives for them to look at when they are grown. It is really amazing. But it can also snatch away hours of the day like magic. In an attempt to live more intentionally and with less stress I don’t know about you but I need my hours not to get snatched up. I would like them all thank you very much. Don’t you feel like there aren’t enough hours in the day as it is? “I’ll take 2 more daytime hours and about 6 more night hours please?” – if only we could place an order for the hours that technology snatched up from someone else out there huh?
So here’s to minimizing the digital clutter too! (For the rest of the house try the Declutter Your House in 15 Minutes a Day .)