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Today’s workforce is largely digital. Paper files cluttering up your desk and office are still a problem, but we are heading in the right direction, albeit slowly. Unfortunately, digital clutter can be just as harmful to your productivity as piles of files. Try these five steps to give yourself a clutter-free digital workspace.

1. Delete Old Programs

Unless your computer is brand new, there’s a high probability that you’ve installed programs you no longer need. So look through all your applications and delete any you haven’t used in more than six to twelve months.

2. Emails

The average person with a business email receives 121 messages a day. “Roughly 306.4 billion emails were estimated to have been sent and received each day in 2020; this figure is expected to increase to over 376.4 billion daily emails by 2025”, Statista. Those numbers are staggering.

Many of these are considered junk. Start by deleting anything that’s not essential, and use the “unsubscribe” option liberally.

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3. Old Files

Documents, videos, pictures, etc. How many files are you holding onto? Many people think it’s safe to hold on to everything. That may or may not be accurate, depending on your industry. But saving everything doesn’t mean all the files have to be on your computer. Invest in an external storage drive and move any files you’re not actively using there. Cloud storage is another option.

4. Desktop Icons

Do you know what the background image of your desktop looks like? Start by pinning the programs you use the most to your taskbar or start menu. Next, remove lesser-used programs and files. You can use the Windows key (PC) to search or Spotlight (Mac) when you need them. Then delete all icons except the trash bin from your desktop. These icons are only a shortcut to the program, and deleting them does not remove the program from your system.

5. Don’t Forget Your Phone

Smartphones have become an extension of the clutter on our computers. Start with photos. Any that you wouldn’t print or share in some other way delete. Use cloud storage to save the rest and organize them into folders. Continue the process by removing apps you don’t use, keeping your phone’s main screen clear using folders, etc. With the costs of new phones being so high, taking these simple steps is a huge money saver!