Quote of the Week

"One cool judgment is worth a thousand hasty councils."
- Woodrow Wilson

Monday, November 12, 2018

Digital De-Clutter

Lately I’ve been on a de-cluttering kick. I’ve cleared out dressers and closets of clothing I don’t wear. I’ve parted ways with office items and all sorts of miscellaneous household things. And I still have a ways to go.

If you search web, you’ll find nearly countless articles, blog posts, and videos on de-cluttering. Many methods and tricks to help you get rid of the stuff you really don’t need and can actually be getting in your way. While I don't see myself ever becoming a true "minimalist," you know, one of those guys with the trendy glasses and hairstyle, wearing nothing but one of five plain black or charcoal gray t-shirts and two pairs of skinny jeans, who's living room has two pieces of furniture and bare, stark white walls. That is not me, but I do appreciate the mindset and concept of a Minimalist. 

Rid your life of the possessions that do not bring meaning or serve a purpose in your life. It saves you money, eliminates distractions from what is truly important, make life more efficient, not to mention you'll look like you have your crap together. Mainly because you have less useless crap to try to keep together. 

It makes sense. With that premise, people purge their bedroom closest, the kitchen cabinets, storage rooms, garages, attics, etc. They have yard sales, donate boxes upon boxes of stuff, and fill a dumpster with the rest. Stuff that should have been tossed long ago. But why stop there? Clearing the clutter in your digital world can be just as, if not more, beneficial than clearing the clutter of your physical world. 

  • Ever find yourself flipping through screens on your smart phone to find one of the few apps you really use?
  • Ever try to remember where that email address is? On your work's Outlook contacts, on your phone, on LinkedIn or other social site?
  • Do you have dozens if not hundreds of acquaintances cluttering up your social feeds with back to school photos of kids you never met, or political rants that numb you to your very soul? 
  • De-clutter your digital life.

Spend the next few days or few weeks tracking what apps you regularly use on your devices. Move the ones you use most to the first screen and the rest hide away from yourself. After some time goes buy you will find there is a bunch of apps you simply don't use. Delete them.

Go through all your digital contacts and merge them into one place. There are lots of options for that. Personally, I have migrated all my contact into Google Contacts. There are other good options if your not a fan of Google Contacts. Pick one and only one that works for you. My computer, phone and other devices are all set to pull my contact data for messages and email from Google Contacts. Now I have a copy of my professional bushiness contacts on Outlook on my work laptop, since our IT manager has an unhealthy fear of clouds. So I have to make sure I sync my work specific Outlook contact list with the rest of my every few weeks. But other than that, all names, addresses, and number are at one location. Having all your contacts in one place makes it easier to keep that list current and complete.

With your freshly consolidated, organized contact and your social media accounts. Weed out what you don't need. Delete that vendor contact from 10 years and two jobs ago from a different industry.  She won't know the difference and it will be one list line of information to scroll through in order to find the one you want. Delete that friend of a friend on Facebook who is constantly triggered and rant about the latest outrage trend. Even if you agree with some of his points, who needs he's negativity cluttering up what should be a positive way to keep in contact with people who should be bringing meaning and purpose into your life. Again, he won't even notice your gone.

The thought that stops people from digitally de-cluttering is the same that stops them from physically de-cluttering; what if I need that someday? The answer for the physical item is usually "if you haven't used it or even thought about for years, your not likely going to need it in the future." That answer applies to the digital stuff too. If it turns out you do need that physical item years from now, you can always purchase another one. If it turns out you need that app in the future, you can always download it again.

Give parting ways with what does not bring value into your life, both physical and digital stuff, a try. You may find that with less clutter and distractions it is easier for you to Stay On The Path.

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