Declutter your computer (1)

Today I want to talk about an area of the office that may just be one of my favourite things to organise – your computer!

Because we can’t SEE computer clutter as obviously as we can see physical clutter, we often don’t realise it’s there but believe me, it’s still affecting you.

How does it affect you?

When you open your Inbox and feel drained at the sight of all your emails, when your computer runs slow because there are so many photos on there and when you click into your Google Reader and can’t BELIEVE how much some people post because you went through your blogs for 3 hours yesterday and now there are 127 unread items yet again!

Sound familiar?

Let’s look at 4 places where you can declutter electronically:

Free downloads

We (especially women) like things, don’t we? Buy one, get one free sales come to mind… As a result, we download anything and everything we can find that’s for

If it’s, it’s got to be good, right?

No, actually, it’s not all good. Not only are you cluttering up your computer but you can’t possibly use all the things that are out there because we live in an information-overload society.

I wish I could say that I”m immune to the addiction to FREE stuff but I’m not!

At one point I had about 6 different grocery shopping lists on my computer (all downloads) and 10 different versions of a to-do list. None of them quite worked for me so I made my own.


Mmmm, email. My clients need help with email more than any other thing in their office, and paper’s a close second. That’s because email’s so fast and because we don’t use it correctly.

Did you know that for every email you send out, you get at least two emails back?

Get familiar with the delete key (my favourite key on the keyboard) and start deleting. Delete immediately once you’ve replied to an email and don’t file unless you absolutely have to.

Disable all the notifications from social networking sites like Facebook. I only get friend requests, messages and notes on my wall in my inbox. The rest I’ll see when I get a chance to log on.

Here again, decide on your comfort level for emails and make sure you work your system until you can breathe again.

Personally, I set a daily goal of deleting at least 50 items so once I’m done with my inbox, I go through my Sent Items and delete, delete, delete 😉

It’s this weird game I play – anybody have some other weird email games?

As a matter of interest, how many emails are in your inbox right now?

Look out next week for part 2 of decluttering your computer

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  1. Interesting games for all fans and dedicated gamers from all continents. It is the best way to kill time. Thanks.

  2. Well spoken. I have to research more on this as it seems quite interesting.

  3. I read somewhere recently that clicking “unsubscribe” just somehow confirms your e mail address to spammers. How am I supposed to do it?

    I am using a program called Easy Duplicate Finder as I have cluttered my computer with 6 or so copies of everything. am now in decluttering process!

  4. Marcia Francois says:

    WOOHOO, Jill, that’s wonderful news 🙂 I think I need to look into that because I definitely have duplicates, esp of photos………………

    I know that it’s true for these emails with nothing in them but spam but for genuine emails (like mine) when you click unsubscribe, you actually do get unsubscribed.

  5. Marcia;
    This is great timing! I think I am going to use this series like we did on the declutter challange.
    I love Jill’s idea of the duplicate finder program. Sounds like it would cut the time in half.

  6. This is something Ive known for awhile that needs dealt with. Maybe you’ve inspired me to take action!?!

  7. Bronwyn says:

    well i think its a great idea to delete…. My problem is that i seem to have hundreds of folders to store most of it in…. so i dont delete it but merely hide it…. cant seem to just hit delete incase i need it later….

  8. I may have about 15 subfolders in my inbox, but it helps keep my inbox itself uncluttered. I have a seperate folder for forwards, photos fromfriends and family, and randomly recieved media. I mark them all as read and file them away then look through and sort out a folder when I have free time. Not incredibly effecient but it works for me!

  9. Boy, did I need to read this post today! My e-mail is totally out of control. I don’t delete nearly enough, and I’m perpetually overwhelmed by the number I have to reply to. I need to work on that this week!

  10. Great post. I set my email to permanently empty my trash every day when I quit the program.

    I think, once I delete an item, it should be ready to go. Why let it hang around?

  11. I need to take some time this weekend to de clutter my computer, and don’t forget – gotta back up all my docs and photos.

  12. I have five emails in my inbox right now. To keep it that way I need to delete, answer and arrange the incoming emails twice a day.

    Thank you for your tips, I will start to declutter the rest of the computer today!

  13. I do have 4 emails in my inbox. I delete and arrange all incoming mails about once a day. And I only leave mails that I need to answer in my inbox.
    What bothers me the most are the FW: mails! I would love to send a mail to everyone in my list, NO FORWARDING PLEASE! But I still don’t have the courage to do it!
    Thank you for the tips!

    • Marcia Francois says:

      Nia, I feel so strongly about your comment.

      Maybe you don’t have to send an email to all BUT why don’t you do a little template along the lines of “dear so-and so, please understand that I receive tons of email daily and work really hard to keep it under control. I’d appreciate it if you didn’t forward any chain letters, etc, etc. to me. Thanks so much.” If they’re really good friends they will understand. Then everytime you get one of those, you simply use your template and reply. They will get the hint and you will be happier 🙂

      Read my post a few weeks back on boundaries for more insight…

      BTW, I did this exact thing a few years back and I don’t have these problems anymore 😉

  14. I stumbled onto your blog and read a few post. I like your style of writing.

  15. ah yes…I definately have to clean out my email again…it adds up so quickly and I don’t delete enough. I will have to start playing your game and set a number to delete each day! Thanks for the post. 🙂

  16. I went from 351 emails in my inbox to 71 today !!!!!! I am slowly going through the 71 that I kept. I also want to really watch what comes in this week and unsubscribe to some that I dont read that just fills up my inbox.

  17. I came across this as I was clearing my inbox – which had become seriously cluttered!!! It’s such a great feeling to unsubscribe to all the things which I know I don’t read, I normally file and delete as I go on, but I got out of the system a few months ago and things build up so quickly. I feel great now going into my account, with everything files away or deleted.

    Thanks for inspiring me to keep going and to do more – MP3’s etc.

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