Clutterbust Your Digital Life

Spring is for reducing clutter

For me spring has always been about renewal, simplification, and organization.  After the long rainy days of winter, I feel a serious need to clear out the clutter in my house (and thereby my mind).  It’s much easier to be brutally honest about the stuff that I legitimately use and need and the stuff I don’t.  We have now been in our current house for almost three years.  I’ve got piles of STUFF that had been in storage at various parents’ houses or elsewhere because we were never in a house big enough for all of it.  Well, I can safely say that I’m not going to use most of this stuff I’ve held onto for “just in case”.

One area I also feel compelled to clear up and simplify is my digital life.  I keep reading more and more about how all our modern technologies lead to more and more distraction and fragmentation of attention–how those super productive people use technology to their advantage rather than being used by technology.  And it’s a philosophy I have to renew my commitment to each year.

I long ago decided to be someone who used my phone for my own convenience.  That means if you call and it’s not a good time for me to talk, I’m letting it go to voicemail.  I’ll call you back when it is convenient–which may or may not be that day (see also, Reasons You Should Leave A Message About What You Actually Want).  I regularly don’t answer texts quickly.  I’m quicker about email, just because I spend a lot of time online for my job, but even that has become more managed.  I removed all my email notifiers because they distracted me from whatever I was supposed to be doing (and were almost never Must Deal With This Right Now kind of important).  This lack of immediate response absolutely drives some people BONKERS because we’ve become a society where everybody is supposed to be instantly accessible.  But dude, that’s unrealistic and unhealthy.

The last week and a half, I’ve been out of my office, on the road for the Evil Day Job.  This has meant my inbox has reached Godzilla proportions and I am truly seeing exactly HOW MUCH stuff I just delete without even looking or the stuff that I don’t actually need or get anything out of other than a waste of time.  So I’ve been on an epic unsubscribe spree.  This has totally taken time.  You have to open the email, scroll to the bottom, FIND the unsubscribe link, open some other website, often click other settings and/or enter your email, then submit THAT.  And a lot of places say “oh it’ll be 2-3 weeks for this to be processed” [subtext: we hope you will forget to follow up and will keep taking our email].  But I’m being diligent.  Ultimately, it will take me less time to deal with my inbox once all these unsubscribes take effect.  And that not only saves me time but mental energy, which is absolutely a limited commodity.

So now I’m on the hunt for other means of retaking ownership of my digital life.

What kind of stuff have YOU done to clutterbust YOUR digital life?

3 thoughts on “Clutterbust Your Digital Life

  1. I did a lot of unsubscribing, but it’s so time consuming that I did it in spurts. Actually, I’m not completely done. Some of the stuff, well, I’m wondering WHY I ever subscribed. Now I need to get rid of the emails that I was “going to read later”.

  2. Marie

    I am right with you regarding the email. Over the last month I’ve been unsubscribing from lots of emails that I had been deleting without reading. And I’ve started going slowly through my archive folders – removing subscriptions that I never get to (where the emails are auto-moved to an archive folder). And I’ve even deleted entire folders of emails that are just links back to the website, so it’s not useful for keeping in an archive. It’s so out of my comfort zone, since I’m an information pack rat. ~smile~ But I have felt so much lighter after all the digital clearing out. Just taking it a few folders at a time now. And finally getting my Inbox back under control. ~lol~

  3. I had to admit I am a hoarder in electronic files. I heard so many horror stories about lost work, I save way too many iterations. I have finally set aside some time to compile all my flash drives and cloud storage, compare files, and keep two copies, one on flash, and one on cloud. It’s a baby step, but I can find the latest files much more quickly.

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