10 Tips to Organize Your Digital Space (and Keep It Clean)
The dinner is done, the guests are gone, and your bed is beckoning. But first:
Did you do the dishes?
If not — hey, no judgment. I’ve been known to crash on the couch amid some post-party wreckage myself. But I have to admit, there’s nothing quite like waking up to a clean kitchen. After all, an organized house is a happy house, and who am I to defy psychology?
Same goes for your digital space. By decluttering and organizing your technological life, you’ll become a happier, calmer, and more productive human. At least, I did.
Here are my top 10 tips for adding some serious feng shui to your digital home.
10 Tips for Organizing Your Digital Space
1. Back everything up. Before you go all minimalist and start mass-deleting files, make sure anything you might care about is backed up to the cloud, a hard drive, or both.
2. Delete what you don’t need. I’m talking:
- Photos (that you’ve already backed up to a service like Dropbox or Google Photos)
- Promotional emails
- Obsolete documents/files
- Old software/programs
- Apps you don’t use
- Facebook friends you don’t speak with
3. Pick your web browser wisely. Our chief technical officer (CTO), Allen, swears by Vivaldi, a versatile, customizable browser that respects your privacy. If you really care about privacy, he also recommends Brave, which emphasizes private, safe, and fast browsing. And then there’s Google Chrome, my personal browser of choice (if only because of its seamless integration with the entire G Suite). If you do use Chrome, it’s a good idea to clear your web browsing history, cookies/other site data, and cached images/files every so often, especially if you’re experiencing issues.
4. Set up different browser accounts. Chrome allows you to create different “people” with separate account settings — for example, I’ve got one for “Work” and one for “Personal.” Compartmentalizing my browsers helps me stay focused on the task (or late-night social media scrolling) at hand.
5. Use browser bookmarks strategically. Bookmarks are nothing new, but they’re the key to my efficiency at work. I’ve got folders for each of my clients (with important links underneath), plus individual icons for pages I visit often, like Basecamp, FreshBooks, and Facebook Ads Manager.
6. Create different calendars for different purposes. I don’t like to clutter my work calendar, so I have a separate calendar for my personal appointments and yet another calendar for my “this-would-be-nice-to-do-at-this-time” stuff, like writing or meal planning or walking my dog. I can toggle each calendar on and off, so I’m not overwhelmed by a mountain of events each day.
7. Move your mobile apps into folders. For example, here are the folders I’ve got on my iPhone:
8. Aim for inbox zero. Cleaning out your email inbox isn’t as hard as you think — especially with Gmail’s recent updates. If you can’t immediately respond to an email, just “snooze” it until you can, or set up an automatic redirect to an appropriate folder. You can even download an extension like Boomerang that allows you to pause new emails, so you aren’t distracted during deep-work times. No matter what, make sure you’re subscribed to the right emails (like these five digital marketing newsletters) in the first place.
9. Download helpful apps for organization. Here are a few apps I use:
- Wunderlist (for creating to-do lists, to-buy lists, and lists of any kind)
- Pocket (for saving pages and articles I want to read later)
- Pinterest (for pinning inspiring images and resources)
- Evernote (for taking notes and doing all these other cool things that our CTO loves about Evernote)
10. Pick one process, and stick with it. Consistency is the name of the game when it comes to digital cleanliness. Once you’ve defined your methods for organizational success (like folder structures and naming conventions), you’ll have a framework you can follow.
Go Forth + Organize!
“The first step in crafting the life you want is to get rid of everything you don’t.”
– Joshua Becker, founder of Becoming Minimalist
So you’re not a neat freak. That’s okay — neither am I.
But after years of trying to ignore my unused apps, thousands of stored photos, abundance of browser tabs, and — yes — dirty dishes in the sink, I’ve come to appreciate the value in keeping a clean space. It not only makes me feel calmer, it also allows me to work more efficiently.
No, cleaning up after yourself is not always fun . . . but hey, it’s gotta be done. Grab a glass of wine, put on some music, and just get to work. Tomorrow-morning-you will be grateful.
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