Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day

Have you had this problem? Your computer needs an operating system update or you’re trying to install a new program, and there just isn’t enough memory on the computer for the download or update.

When you go into your storage, you realize why – hundreds of photos and files that you haven’t looked at in probably more than a year.

Today is #CleanYourVirtualDesktopDay and a great time to weed through all this stuff.

Where do you start?

Organize the Pictures

  • Weed through your pictures and delete duplicates and ones that are blurry or not that flattering.
  • When I did this, I also discovered I had inadvertently saved scores of pictures of food. Don’t need those either – so “delete”.
  • Pictures of ex-boyfriends or ex-girlfriends? Delete. (Why are you saving them? You’ll also find when you do this, it’s a very freeing zen exercise!)
  • Name the photos and identify who’s in them. If you can’t remember who everyone is and you don’t know what you’re doing? Delete.

Organize Your Files

  • Go through the Downloads folder first. This is where a lot of unnecessary files are stored. If you do need something, move them into your documents folder or onto a longterm storage drive. Delete everything else.
  • In Documents, delete files you no longer need. Then group similar files together into folders and name them.
  • Files and documents you need regularly should stay on the computer. All others, put on longterm storage – like a removable drive. They’re better than thumb drives/flash drives because those are small and can get lost. I’ve had the first generation version of this one for nine years and it works great.
  • Delete any apps or programs that you no longer use.

Organize Your Email

Ah email. That bane of our existence. I could write an entire blog post on email, but you’re looking for quick tips, so here we go.

  • From a time management standpoint, you should try to only look at email twice a day. And one of those times should not be first thing in the morning, because it will get you off track – falling down the email rabbit hole.
  • When you’re going through incoming emails, make a decision. A lot of times, the emails we save are delayed decisions – meaning we half-read them then move on thinking “I’ll get back to that later.” You won’t.
  • Your email in box should not be a file cabinet. Either do something about the emails (put it on your calendar, respond with the answer, save the file in your folders) or delete it.
  • Search your email for “unsubscribe” and then unsubscribe from the mailing lists you no longer want to be part of.
  • Set up rules in your email. Google and Outlook allow you to create rules for certain types of emails. For example, if you get e-bills, you can label them with “bills”. If your cousin Lawrence keeps sending you spam emails, you can send that straight to the trash.
  • This is also a good time to update your signature, turn on automatic spell check and the automatic trash dump. (Many email systems allow you to dump the trash when you log out.)

Organize the Computer Systems

  • Make sure the operating system is current or download the new version.
  • Double check your virus protection.
  • Restart your computer to purge the short-term memory. (It’s also a great idea to do this with your phone once a week.)

Dawn Dugle is a Professional Organizer in the Tampa, Florida area and is an expert in time and productivity management.

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