Banish Digital Clutter: NJ Web Design Firm Shares Tips
Ever logged in to your computer to find a mess? As an NJ web design firm, we are often asked by clients whether digital clutter pose any risks. Apart from its negative impact on productivity, too much of digital clutter can result in unnecessary online exposure and make one vulnerable to hackers.
Most people have perfected the art of avoiding clutter in real life. But what about the digital clutter? Just like living spaces require regular cleaning, it is essential to develop the habit of decluttering computers.
Here are some tips on digital clutter by NJ web design firm, Reclaim Digital.
What Is Digital Clutter? NJ Web Design Pros Answer the Question.
Unlike the pile of cloth on the couch, these types of clutter reside in your computer or mobile devices. They divert your attention from important tasks, eating up chunks of your time. These junks include old email accounts, years of crap in the download folder, forgotten drives, and more.
According to research by Kaspersky, cybersecurity experts, people install many applications they don’t need and rarely update the security and privacy settings of those they need. The study further states that 70% of apps on computers are redundant as the users never use a third of the apps on their device over a period of six months.
While it is necessary to save data that might come in handy someday, you don’t want to hold on to files and accounts that are useless to you. What’s more, you might be unknowingly putting yourself at risk in the event of a data breach.
Cleaning up your digital junk is an easy way to protect yourself online. Your device can be hacked or stolen, so the less information you put out there, the lesser the risk. You can also consult an NJ web design firm (like us!) for expert advice on staying safe online.
A clean, junk-free computer results in more productivity.
Types of Digital Clutter
1. Files and Photos Without a Home
If you’re in the habit of saving every file on your desktop, you’re not alone. Most people save everything on the desktop when they’re in a hurry or working on a project. Overtime, the pile grows, and you can’t seem to find those files when you need them? Besides, the junk can slow your computer down, or you start dumping the files in a random folder to clear the clutter.
2. Endless Internet Tabs
Online users have become adept at hoarding info, and this may lead to info-oblivion. Ever found yourself leaving tabs open because you want to read them later? With the plethora of information available online, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stay focused. The mind gets overwhelmed and distracted, and your productivity goes down. By keeping your urge to open tabs in check, you can be more productive.
How often do you opt in to get free PDFs and other downloads? The downside of exchanging one’s email address for online freebies is email clutter. Your email is your most sacred digital space, the hub of your online life, and this makes it a valuable prize for a hacker. Apart from information about you, it could hold vital information regarding your contacts. Cleaning your emails minimizes the information that would be compromised if a hacker gains access to it.
3. Inactive Accounts
With various subscriptions and backup services, you might discover that you have your data with different developers. Have you canceled and deleted that fitness app from four years ago? Do you still have a subscription with that app you used only once years ago? How many services are you backing your photos on?
4. Notifications and Alerts
Thanks to advancements in technology, it now easier to get real-time updates and messages. From smartphones to smartwatches to fitness trackers, the beeps don’t seem to end. However, this comes with its disadvantages, the most important being the inability to focus.
5. Old Devices
When last did you destroy your old devices? This includes old CDs, thumb drives, and external drives, and floppy disks that you don’t use anymore. Others include gaming consoles, smart home gadgets, and old PCs.
Effects of Digital Clutter
Here are some reasons why you can’t afford to let clutter take over:
- The mind reacts to the environment. Therefore, clutter makes it hard to focus as notifications, numerous desktop icons, and folders distract your attention.
- It makes time management attempts ineffective
- It prevents productivity, resulting in spending one’s tome attending to the tons of photos, apps, or files.
Tips for Getting Rid of Digital Clutter, from NJ Web Design Gurus
Declutter and store file more securely with the following tips by NJ web designexperts:
- Documents and folders: Create a ‘delete file’ where you can store quick files—screenshots, pictures you need to upload or move to other locations, old documents, and files you’ll probably delete after reading. At the end of each day, empty your delete folder. Develop a folder structure that works and remove all those with nothing saved.
- Downloads: Create a digital file system for your downloads so you can easily place files in specific places where you can find them when needed.
- Email: Answer relevant emails immediately and move those that will take longer into a “work in progress” folder, cloud, or hard drive. Use the email search feature to comb through old messages and bulk delete those from a specific contact or a particular date. Delete any message that contains personal information. Plus, delete old email accounts that you don’t use. It’s advisable to have no more than two email accounts – personal and work-related.
- Sensitive information: Eliminate old PDFs of credit card statements or medical forms that you no longer need to keep your financial information safe. For documents that you do want to keep, back them up to a cloud service or a password-protected external hard drive. The objective is to take sensitive information off the devices you use every day to protect yourself in case of theft or loss of the device.
- Photos: Get rid photographs that are of no use. We often hoard photos for sentimental reasons, but going over them every few years and cleaning up is important.
- Old Software/Program Apps: Uninstall programs to free up space on a hard drive.
- Unending tabs: Limit the number of tabs you open at a time when browsing. Two or three is okay. If the next article sounds interesting—a must-read or “life changing”—save it to the cloud or a place where you can easily come back to it.
- Cloud: Eliminate random files or any sensitive file like tax returns that might pose a risk, and save them in free cloud storage services like Google Drive, Box, or Dropbox.
- Old Online Accounts: Use a password manager to remember old accounts you no longer use and delete them.
- App Accounts: Delete apps that you don’t use anymore. Clean out the apps and close your account so that it doesn’t remain active and continue to collect data.
- Notifications: Turn off desktop notifications pop-ups on Chrome or Outlook. You should also turn off Facebook sounds and alerts for Facebook Messenger.
- Movies/Music: Having every music or film in your library is one of the best things about digital media. However, it’s also one of the downsides. Delete unused songs, so they don’t clutter your library. Alternatively, you can move them to a folder where you can access them if need be.
- Old Contact Information: Keep your folder clutter-free and efficient by deleting contacts that are no longer needed.
- Internet Bookmarks: Delete bookmarks that you no longer need and use a folder system for to organize the remaining bookmarks.
- Cookies and cache: Regularly clean out your internet history. Not only does this improve system speed, but it also reduces the data that gets collected from your computer. On your phone, regularly clean out cached data from apps. You can find this in Settings under ‘Apps’ or ‘Storage’.
- Email Marketing: It’s not enough to delete advertisements or newsletters. There’s an option at the bottom of the email to unsubscribe or set your preferences. If you don’t see a way to unsubscribe, set a filter for the email sender so you don’t get any more emails from them.
- Desktop Background: Use a minimalist background for your desktop. This will improve your productivity and attention span as the background won’t clutter your eyes. Having a lot of icons on the desktop can be distracting, and can even cause anxiety as you keep seeing all the things you have to do.
- Internet Home Page: Using a minimal, impersonalized homepage prevents you from being sidetracked by sports news, celebrity gossip, or news updates.
One of the effects of digital clutter is that it fills one’s time with social networks, emails, and endless scrolling through other people’s updates. And that results in having little time to get the real work done. To prevent clutter, back up what you need and get rid of what you don’t need. Think twice about starting free trails or subscribing to freebies. If possible, delete documents once you’re done with them. Most importantly, log in less. You will get more done that way. Collaborate with NJ web design firm, Reclaim Digital for expert solutions to staying safe online.