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  • Burton Kelso, The Technology Expert

Use Marie Kondo's 6 Principles to Clean Up Your Digital Life

Updated: Feb 6, 2019



Everyone's watching the hit Netflix show "Tidying up with Marie Kondo" which has given people inspiration to go through and organize their homes and their lives. While this is great, one of the areas many of us neglect in our lives is our technology. As someone who works with technology daily, it's easy for me to stay on top of my tech organization, but I know for many of you, it's a pain in the butt. Luckily, 'Clean Up your Computer Day' which occurs on the 2nd Monday of February gives you the perfect day to organize your digital life. If you're struggling with too many computers and other tech devices lying around your home or office, a cluttered mess of documents, pictures, emails on your devices or you have dirty devices, it's a good time to apply Marie's six principals to help you reduce the chaos with those digital devices and bring some order to your tech life. 

If you're not familiar with Marie's six principles of organizing, they are as follows:

1.Commit yourself to tidying up. 2. Imagine your ideal lifestyle. 3. Finish discarding first. 4. Tidy by category not by location. 5. Follow the right order. 6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy.

It might take a little bit of time, but when you're done you will feel less stressed when you use your tech. Plus, all of this shouldn't take long. Consider spending just 30 minutes over lunch to get started. You'll be surprised by how far you get. Are you ready to get started?  Let's do this!

1.Commit yourself to tidying up. Every few months, I set aside time when I will check out my digital lifestyle to see when I need to tidy up.I usually unplug from technology on Sundays, so I might choose a Sunday to clean up the information on my devices or to see if there is any old tech that needs to be donated.  I find that special tech holidays such as 'Clean Up Your Computer Day' or even Earth Day can be a great motivators to get in the cleaning spirit.  Get into the 'now' mindset when it comes to your apps and programs.  When you know you are no longer using a program or app, delete it immediately. Get a email or a text you don't need to save, delete it immediately. Same goes for your old devices.  Once you get a new device, immediately get rid of your old one.  Donate it to charity or hand it down to a family member who can use it.  . 2. Imagine Your Ideal Lifestyle. Technology should work for you, not against you. How do you imagine your digital lifestyle. Do you want to spend your life stuck in front of your devices? I know I don't Life is too short and I want to make the most of it.  Yes, I know I share a lot of social media, but I enjoy my private moments too. How do you do that? First, turn off those alerts on your devices.  App developers want you to stay plugged in and have you develop FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) when it comes to your smartphone and other gadgets. Next, setup no technology zones for yourself and your kids to allow you to connect and develop stronger relationships. Next, setup 'Screen Time" on you and your family Apple devices or 'Digital Wellbeing" for your Android devices. These settings allow you to monitor your app use and even control how long you can use your apps.   It's hard to set limits on a desktop computer, but on your laptop, get in the habit of using it without plugging it in so when you get low on juice you shut it off. No one wants to worry about the well being of their devices, so make sure you have your anti-virus software enabled.  Windows users can use Windows Defender.  Macintosh users have Xprotect. Smartphones and tablets don't need anti-virus software as long as you don't download unknown apps from the app store.  Also enable automatic backups running on all of your devices. Windows and Macintosh users can use Carbonite (www.carbonite.com) for backup. Android users can use Google Backup and Apple Users can take advantage of iCloud backup  If photos and video are your concern with your smartphones and tablets, use Google Photos for unlimited, free backup.  Finally, if you're struggling with tech, ask for help.  My team and I at Integral can help you with any tech issues you're facing.

3. Finish By Discarding First. I see it happen all of the time when I'm helping customers.  Rather than delete items, people will move them to another location on their devices which creates more clutter.  When you are taking the time to clean up, hit the delete key. Have a bunch of duplicate files you want to locate and get rid of, Get Auslogics Duplicate File Finder (https://www.auslogics.com/en/software/duplicate-file-finder/) for Windows and Gemini (https://macpaw.com/gemini)  for Macintosh computers. Also, don't forget those pesky emails.   It's a good idea to keep up to 2 years worth of emails.  Anything more, is just taking up space and causing clutter.

4. Tidy by category, not by location.  Once you've permanently eliminated your files and apps,  it's time to organize them. Windows and Macintosh computers have folder categories specifically designed to put the appropriate files in them.  There are folders for Documents, Pictures, Videos and Downloads.  Sort your files and put them in the appropriate folders. It's temping to save all of your files to the desktop, but doing this on your Windows and Macintosh computer will only slow it down.  Instead create shortcuts (Windows Computers) or Alias (Macintosh Computers) that will take you directly to the files want to access.  Same thing for your apps on your smartphone.  Create custom groups and sort your apps in the appropriate group. For example you can create a group for your social media apps and another one for finances.  Don't get so carried away that you have too many groups. If you need to save emails, create special folders to store these in. 

5. Follow the Right Order. Marie says for your home,  It is: clothes, books, papers, komono (miscellany) and finally, sentimental items. For your technology, your files (including email),  your software (including your apps) smartphone, tablets and finally computer. Your most important asset on all of your devices are your files.  If you lose your files of those or if they are cluttered, it's going to undue stress. Once you have your files organized, you can move on to cleaning up your software and apps, and then move on your smart devices and computers.  All tech needs TLC, so take care of the exterior of your devices.  Never use disinfectant wipes to clean your devices.  Always use water and a microfiber cloth.  

6. Ask yourself if it sparks joy. Are your devices running the way you want them? If you're experiencing errors or slow down, it might be time to upgrade or get a new device. Nothing will suck the joy out of you like a device that is not working the way you want it. Talk with your tech expert to see which option you do. If you're able to upgrade your device, great.  If you need to get a new device, get rid of the old one.  Have your favorite tech expert move your information from your old device to your new one as soon as you get it.  With your information transferred to your new device, you are free to let those old items go. You've gotten your use out of your devices, it's time to let someone get a 2nd life with them.

What steps are you taking to eliminate the digital clutter from your life? Drop me a line and let me know.

If you have any questions about your technology and your devices, please feel free to contact us at Integral. Our friendly tech experts at Integral are always standing by to answer your questions and help make your technology useful and fun. Reach out to us a www.integralcomputerconsutants.com or phone at 888.256.0829. 

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I'm  the Chief Technology Expert at Integral. You can find me on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn , and Twitter and watch great tech tip videos on my YouTube channel. I love technology. I've read all of the manuals and I want to make technology fun and exciting for you. I can be reached by email at burton@integralcomputerconsultants.com

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