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How To Get Rid Of Digital Clutter

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“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Anything electronic or digital taking up mindshare in your world is digital clutter. Stuff like: unread emails, 1000s of unread feeds, or piles crappy electronics lying around . If you’re anything like me you’re getting bombarded with the stuff. This post outlines a few ways to deal with this first world problem:

Computer Clutter:

  • Remove cables that are plugged into your computer and not attached to anything.
  • Stop using your computer’s desktop to store files.
  • Don’t make a new word document or new file just put your stuff in the cloud.
  • Disable all notifiers or anything that will distract you, make noises, or pop up while you’re working.

Inboxes:

  • Reduce the number of actual inboxes.
  • Meaning any place there is stuff coming at you, GTD style inboxes…
  • Then reduce the number of items entering these inboxes.

Email Clutter:

  • Work from inbox zero. If there is something in your inbox, you need to do something about it. Archive, delete, just get it out of your inbox.
  • Use the “Send and Archive” button in Gmail.
  • Stop checking multiple email inboxes and aggregate it all under one roof. Gmail does this handily.

Phone Clutter:

  • Stop using voicemail entirely. Important or useful voicemails are very rare. I’ve been without voicemail for a few years and I don’t miss it.
  • Alternatively use Google Voice.

Media Clutter:

  • Stop watching television. It’s a waste of time. Cancel your cable subscription.
  • Stop reading blogs entirely or just subscribe to handful of feeds if you must.

Online Clutter:

  • Use an ad blocker to clean up the web. This one replaces the ubiquitous ad banner with art.

add art demo

Twitter:

  • Follow 50 people or less on Twitter. It’s easy to do, just unfollow anyone that is tweeting too hard, or twhining (twitter whining) all the time.

Facebook:

  • ‘Friend’ 200 people or less on Facebook. If you need to have lots of ‘friends’ create a list of people you actually care about. Drag that list to the top of the sidebar. This will make that list the default feed.

facebook list

Stuff You Don’t Use:

  • If you haven’t touched it in six months just get rid of it! This really applies to more than just digital clutter.

Be Ruthless:

  • If it isn’t adding value dump it, delete it, unfollow, unsubscribe, or sell it. Otherwise it’s just adding to the noise. Try to regularly purge all this stuff as well. It’s therapeutic.

Avoid creating digital clutter:

  • Don’t use the “reply all” button unless you have to.
  • Don’t email word documents.
  • Don’t email funny videos as attachments.
  • Don’t forward emails.
  • Don’t tweet a zillion times a day.

I’m trying to get better at this myself… I hope this was useful for you.

[Photo by GoldSardine]

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