The idea of digital minimalism has grown in popularity over the last few years, and for good reason. It can help professionals increase productivity, lower stress, and better streamline their work. So, what actually is digital minimalism? It’s an approach to technology that focuses on valuing the essentials and ditching the distractions. It encourages us to look at our digital lives — our apps, our inbox, our computers, etc. — and ask what is supporting our success and what is just white noise? It helps us to declutter these digital spaces to make for a more conducive digital work environment. Here are some great strategies if you’re interested in digital minimalism:
Regularly Clean Up Your Inbox
After a hectic week or two, it’s not surprising to find an inbox full of messages. Digital minimalism asks us to think about how many of these do we actually need. First, commit to unsubscribing to any emails you’ve opted into but no longer read. It’s also important to get into the habit of deleting messages you no longer need in your inbox once you’ve replied to them. Using a folder system within your inbox can also help you to store messages properly without having them clutter your main mailbox, but be sure to keep these to just the essentials as well.
Keep Your Desktop Tidy
When you open up your computer, what does your desktop look like? Is it covered with folders and documents or is it a blank slate? While we’ll all have different stylistic and organizational preferences here, clutter likely isn’t helping your productivity. Cleaning up your desktop and ensuring that it stays organized is an important strategy to reduce distraction and streamline your workflow.
Delete What You Don’t Use
Whether it’s old documents you don’t need record of, programs you’ve installed and no longer use, or apps you haven’t opened for months, these things take up significant space in our digital realms. It’s not just about file size though. They take up space in the sense that they create distraction and clutter around the things that actually are important. Regularly checking in and doing a quick clean up can help you stay on track.
Create and Utilize Folder Systems
With the immense amount of digital property and tools that most of us engage with on a daily basis, we need systems to support our digital minimalism efforts. Folder systems are great. The key is remembering that isn’t just about tucking away information and forgetting about it. If there are things you don’t need, don’t save them. And it’s great to get into the habit of regularly reviewing these folders for things you can delete. Creating systems can help you stay organized, even when things get busy.
Build Helpful Habits
Simple habits can also support digital minimalism. Simply closing out of tabs and programs when you don’t need them, for example, can reduce a significant amount of digital clutter. It’s important to identify the specific habits that work for you and strive to make them a regular part of your workflow.
What does your digital realm look like? Does it feel orderly and clean? Or has it gotten out of control? Do you have any strategies in place to stay organized? I’d love to hear your ideas!