Nowadays, our digital lives have become a huge part of our actual lives. Recently, I read on Facebook the hashtag #beforefacebook was trending. It was pretty much a bunch of people posting pictures and writing things about their time before Facebook and how much they loved it. It’s not that people hate it now, I think we just miss those good old days.
Regardless, devices such as computers, phones and tables have become a big part of life and like our actual lives, those too can become messy and make you go nuts when you can’t find the things you’re looking for or you’re just overwhelmed by the clutter.
For that reason, I’ve decided to write down 8 tips and ways on how I clean my digital life. It’s something I consider to be very important. Especially because I use my laptop a lot for work. I’d like it to be clean, minimalistic and organized, so that I can work fast and efficiently.
Let’s have a look at these 8 tips on how to organize your digital life when it comes to your desktop, laptop, phone and tablet:
1. Organize Your Homescreen On Your Desktop/Laptop
Our homescreen is the screen we see most often. It’s where we place folders and applications we use and access all the time.
It’s super easy to create a messy homescreen really fast. Maybe you take a lot of screenshots, or you save images or files you download on your homescreen rather then put them in an appropriate folder.
Below you can find a screenshot of my organized homescreen, where I’ve categorized everything in rows and columns. Let’s have a look.
So the way I work is, I only like to work with folders on my homescreen. I have a different category going on in each row.
The 1st row is for mobile application development.
The 2nd row is for web development and my blog’s stuff.
The 3rd row is where I keep my graphic design folders.
The 4th row is where I keep all my business folders.
The 5th row is my personal row.
The 6th row is my music row. (I do quite a lot of music/jingle production work)
The 7th and last row is dedicated to book stuff and online reading.
Then I have one more Excel sheet which I currently keep there as I am creating a Dutch-French worksheet for my daughter and me which will help us with speech and learning the basics of grammar and vocabulary.
I speak fluent basic French, but it’s very helpful to have everything written down. I don’t speak as fast as the French, I speak more slowly. That way everyone can understand in our household, including my daughter. It’s honestly just for her brain development.
2. Organize Your Notes
For privacy reason, I’m not going to show a screenshot of my notes as it contains mostly personal information. I can tell you what I do have on my notes.
I have 6 different tabs at all time.
The 1st one is my “How To Live In The U.S.” tab.
This is where I’ll write down all of my ideas, article ideas, keywords and things I have to do.
The 2nd tab is called “Analytics”.
I over analyze everything. My girlfriend sometimes says it’s a bad thing. Nonetheless, at this very moment I am using it to analyze mainly my Pinterest follower growth.
The 3rd tab is called “Passwords”.
It’s mainly where I keep all of my login data. I’ve once lost all of my passwords by a computer reset and boy that was a pain to figure out every login info again. Having one tab dedicated to this makes this so much easier to remember.
The 4th tab is called “Programming”.
I’m a program freak. Though I didn’t go to school for it, I love learning new languages. This is mainly where I keep tips and languages I would like to learn. Or sometimes even important links with tutorials.
The 5th tab is my actual “To-Do List”.
This is where I’ll divide long term things I need to do and short term things that need to get done in general life.
The 6th and last tab is a simple scrabble tab which I use to write random things. Maybe an email I’d like to prepare or a message I’m about to share on social media. I’ve been in too many situations where I suddenly sent an email by accident while I was writing the email in the actual email browser. Lesson learnt there.
3. Organize Your Calendar
I will only use my calendar on my iPad. Maybe because the size of an iPad reminds me of an actual agenda. And it’s super easy and convenient to use an agenda on an iPad. I don’t use their standard coloring scheme as momentarily I don’t have that many different things going on in life. It’s mostly work, appointments and things to do. I don’t have full schedules with half an hour blocks. So I just keep it simple.
4. Organize Your Email
I always make sure I have zero unread emails, zero spam in my spam folder and zero drafts. It keeps it clean and when I do see I have 1 email it’s easier to know it’s an unread email then let’s say you have 5734 unread emails and suddenly it says 5735. It’s very easy to disregard that email as you don’t give it that much importance.
Having a clean slate does miracles.
5. Organize Your Social Media
I only follow people I truly want to follow. You can check my Pinterest account, I only follow people I am truly interested in repining their stuff.
I also don’t like too many followers. Usually the max I’ll go is 50 followers.
Same goes for Twitter, though I have a technique I use to follow more followers in my niche in order to gain more followers. I do that sporadicly, but in the end bring it down to again only people I truly want to follow.
It makes using a social network so much fun and following hundreds of people will make you loose interest in a lot of things happening in the main dashboard.
6. Organize Your Download Folder
I usually try to keep my download folder completely empty. That means whenever I download something I’ll move it straight to the correct folder on my homescreen.
Lately I’ve been downloading a lot of stock pictures. So I’ll move those to my HD Stock Pictures folder right away. Clean and easy. It’s all about acting in the moment which will prevent your digital life from feeling messy.
7. Organize Your Web Browser
Your web browser is another one of those places that could easily get super messy, super fast.
I actually update my bookmark folder quite often. Most of the time when I’d like to save something, I’ll save it in a general folder. When that folder becomes too messy, I’ll reorganize everything and put everything in their appropriate folders.
Below you can find a screenshot of my bookmark folder.
I don’t keep any links or folders below my URL/Search Bar, and keep everything in the bookmark folder.
Usually, I’ll have a short period of time where I’m saving a lot of links in my bookmark folder. That’s when I’ll create another separate folder where I save in cool links I found quickly.
As you can see, most of my folders are related to blogging and entrepreneurship. Again, I update these quite often, so it wouldn’t surprise me if next week I’ll have combined a few folders here or there.
Regardless, It looks clean, simple and I know what to find where.
8. Organize Your Contacts
I used to have a very special technique which I learned from my first roommate in Boston. When I was working a lot in the music industry, I would write in the first name tab, the letter of the instrument that person would play. For Bass, that would be B:, for guitar that would be G:. You get the picture.
Then I would add their full name in the last name section. That way, when ever I needed a guitarist for a recording session, I would type in “G:” and I would see all of the guitarists available which I know. Pretty clean and easy.
After a while, I changed this up and now make sure I have a clean and simple list of contacts I truly talk to all the time. I’ll delete other people I won’t talk to anymore after a while. It just keeps it clean.
There you go. 8 ways how I organize my digital life. I’d love to hear how you guys organize your devices. I’m always looking for new effective ways to live in a minimalistic way, without deleting content and folders I truly need.