Are you struggling to keep track of your endless notes, appointments, resources & everything else? Our minds are constantly being bombarded with information and it can easily lead us to feel overwhelmed and burnt out. So allow me to share my top tips on how to declutter your digital life.
Recently a friend of mine asked for advice on how to organise her life online, instead of using lots of notebooks. As someone who loves to have planners for all kinds of things I totally felt her need to be able to have everything in one place.
I recommended a tool to her and thought nothing else of it. Then a few days ago she tagged me in a post about how much this tool had changed her life. I realised I wasn’t using it anywhere near its full potential. Which led me to do a review of my own digital life.
A few days of organising and I feel so much more calm and clarity. I figured there’s probably so many people out there feeling just as overwhelmed as I was. So I wanted to share everything I’ve implemented so you can also learn how to declutter your digital life.
Why is it important to declutter your digital life?
We’re all aware of the importance of reducing clutter in our offline spaces. We know the health benefits of looking at organised spaces and the joy they spark in us. And I’m sure we’ve all gone a little Marie Kondo on our homes at some point.
But what about our digital lives?
I make sure I set aside time each week to clean my house. I’ve turned it into a ritual. I sing, I dance, I smudge with sage, I light candles, and get fresh flowers. And this brings me great joy, not just while I’m doing it. But also in the days following because everything is sparkling and pretty. And everything is in it’s place.
But then I open my laptop, and it’s a total mess.
My desktop screen is covered with so many files I can’t even see the background image. I have so many bookmarks. So many unorganised downloads. Multiple windows and tabs open.
It’s no wonder I find it hard to focus. Well that’s what it was like until I cleaned everything.
“The best way to find out what we really need, is to get rid of what we don’t.”~ Marie Kondo
In order to bring in what you desire, you need to make space for it.
You may not think you’re holding onto the past. But you’d be surprised what effect it has on your subconscious when you open up a laptop full of memories that no longer serve you.
For a long time I’ve been telling myself I was over the fact that my very first affiliate business shut down. I’d done the forgiveness exercises. I’ve done all the deep inner work to remove guilt and shame.
But every time I was opening my laptop I was being flooded with memories. Folders full of income results, training I created for my team members, all the marketing materials. I wasn’t looking at it every day. But it was all still there taking up space.
And deep down, part of me was holding onto it all in case one day the program suddenly reopened. Even though I know this won’t happen. And it was limiting me from moving forward.
So this week, I got rid of it all. I only kept what serves me in the direction of my goals.
Now I open my laptop with a clear intention. I’m more productive and focused. I get excited by the system I’ve created. And I’m welcoming in more opportunities because I’ve made space to allow them in.
So, if you’re finding it hard to get stuff done. Or you seem to be unable to get to the next point in your business. Maybe it’s time to do a little cleanse of your own.
How to declutter your digital life
I’m about to let you in on all my digital decluttering secrets. But be warned, you have to be willing to be ruthless. And it will take a bit of time. But commit to doing it, and the clarity that comes afterwards is totally worthwhile.
First things first, let’s start with your laptop/desktop.
1. Clear your home screen.
The last thing you want to see when you open up your laptop is a home screen covered in mess. Mine had all the things. Files of stuff I’ve downloaded and meant to look at later. Content ideas. Hundreds of screenshots, pins, IGTV covers, blog post covers. Once it’s posted, there’s no need to hang on to that stuff!
So the first thing I did was clean it all out. While you’re at, change the background picture to something that inspires you. I love the ocean, plus the light, bright colours make me feel nice and calm.
My home screen went from absolute clutter to pure bliss.
2. Clean out your folders
Next, work your way through the rest of your folders. Start with the downloads. Delete anything you don’t need, and organise everything else into necessary folders. Then move onto all your document folders and do the same. And also delete any applications you don’t use.
3. Empty your trash
I don’t know about you but seeing my trash bin full gives me the heebie jeebies lol. As soon as I delete anything I go straight to empty my trash. Doing this also ensures you don’t go and get nostalgic and start taking everything out of the trash again.
4. Clean your dock
This is for the Mac users. Another thing that that clutters the mind is seeing way too many tools scattered across your dock. Any apps you don’t use on a regular basis don’t need to be visible on the dock. Remove them!
Ok, now the desktop is clean, let’s move onto the browsers.
5. Sort out your emails
Having an overflowing inbox is one of the most distracting things. You might think closing it and keeping the emails out of sight will help, but they definitely won’t be out of mind.
Trust me, I’ve tried. And eventually, I just have to face the scary inbox. I finally sat down and unsubscribed from a lot of email lists, created rules for emails to be swept out of my inbox. And organised all my folders so now when I open my inbox, the only ones I see are ones that actually need my attention. Which is far less scary.
6. Leave Facebook groups
I went through a stage where I joined so many Facebook groups. And even though I have my notifications turned off, whenever I opened my app I would be slammed with a feed full of content from all the groups.
I couldn’t keep up with it all. It was distracting and overwhelming, and a big cause of the pointless scrolling.
I am now only in a very select few groups which are specific to coaching programs I’m working through. Or where I can network and collaborate with other bloggers.
7. Unfollow people
Whilst you’re at it, unfollow anyone who doesn’t light you up when you see their content.
8. Clean out your bookmarks bar
I had hundreds of pointless bookmarks saved and it was totally cluttering my mind. Any time I did want to find something I actually needed I couldn’t find it anyway because there was no order to my bookmarks.
Either, sort out your bookmarks in a logical order. Or use a productivity tool to organise everything you need.
My bookmarks bar is now empty and it’s so refreshing!
9. Close down your windows at the end of every session
I had this awful of habit of opening multiple windows and hundreds of tabs. I didn’t have a very well organised way to keep track of all my important tools and resources, so I’d just keep all the tabs open. And keep adding new ones every day.
I was setting myself up for overwhelm every time I opened my laptop. Now I’ve organised everything on boards in Trello so I can safely close my windows at the end of a session and not have to worry about forgetting where to access something.
Which leads me to the fun part…
How to use Trello to get organised
Trello is the tool I recommended to my friend when she asked for advice. You can basically organise your whole life on here.
You can segment your dashboard into Projects. I’ve just kept is simple and have Personal Boards and Business Projects. And within the projects you can have as many boards as you like.
Now, instead of having hundreds of downloads that I lose track of, countless unnecessary bookmarks, and all kinds of spreadsheets. I have everything stored in Trello boards.
I have boards for everything – my favourite resources, my daily routine, all my affiliate programs, content ideas, branding, all the courses I’ve bought, and so much more! It has seriously made my digital life so much more streamlined.
You could do the same kind of thing in Google Drive or Dropbox, but I just love how visual Trello is.
Alternative tools that are quite similar are Asana and Monday. They’re all free and have paid plans if you want more advanced features. So essentially it just comes down to user preference
I love the look and feel of Trello because you can change the backgrounds. As someone who puts a lot of value on aesthetics this is a big deal. I want my online experience to feel good. When I open up my boards and see how pretty they look, it helps to get my creative juices flowing.
You can also add team members so if you have projects you’re working on together, this is a great way to share updates without having to send lots of emails.
Within the boards you can create lists, and cards. You can use it to keep track of appointments as it synchs from your desktop with all your calendars and also your phone app.
And don’t think we’re forgetting that phone of yours.
This is another place where we create a lot of unnecessary clutter. Photos get banked up, notes get piled up, apps overflowing. So make sure you take some time to go through all of that as well.
Hint: If you’re someone who struggles to come up with content, you’ll probably find a TON of ideas when you go through these processes. I’ve gotten so much gold out of old notes I never got around to posting, or images I never got around to using.
And of course, once you’ve done it once, if you keep on top of it the task won’t seem so bad. Get into the habit of doing this regularly, just like you would clean your house.
So there you have it, my top tips on how to declutter your digital life. I know it seems like a huge task, but the clarity of mind you get afterwards is so worth it. There’s no way I’d be able to sit down to write every day if I hadn’t of taken the time to declutter.